What Do You Mean There’s No Marriage In Heaven?!

13680149_10153595717066529_6397533288205517627_oThere are many things in the Bible that cause a lot of emotions in me.  Sadness, gratitude, awe, devotion, immense love, confusion, and, sometimes, anger are all things I have felt when reading different passages.  There is one thing in the Bible, however, that almost always gives me heart palpitations when I read it.  I get a lump in my throat.  It can even bring tears to my eyes.

In Matthew 22:24-30, the Sadducees pose a question to Jesus about a women being married to seven different men, all at different times.  They want to know who she will be married to in heaven when she dies.  Jesus answers:

“At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven.”

Most of my heart screams out, “Noooooooooo!!!!  Jesus, what are you saying?  Are you trying to crush my heart?”

Here’s the thing:  I’m madly, deeply in love with my husband and I just can’t imagine not being married to him in heaven.  I just cannot imagine it.  What do Jesus’ words mean?  When I get to heaven and I see Dustin am I going to just pass by him and say, “Hey, what’s up?”  Like we were never one?  Here come those heart palpitations again.

I have thought about this a lot…a….lot.  Here’s how my mind thoughts go.

“Jesus was just kidding, right?  Right?  RIGHT?!”

“Jesus didn’t mean that like it came out.”  Lord have mercy on me, because I’m telling God He didn’t really mean what He said.

“Marriage has a different name in heaven.  It’s called…it’s called…well, it’s called marreaven.  Get it?  Marriage and heaven combined.”  I was reaching here–really reaching.

The reality is, is that I have to take Christ at His words.  He says there is no marriage in heaven and I have to believe Him.  When I calm down enough to think about it, I know it must be true because of what marriage means here on earth.  Marriage is a sacrament where a man and woman join together to become one flesh.  The purpose of marriage is to love each other as Christ loves us.  We are to help our spouse get to heaven and when marriage is done right, it can sanctify us.  Marriage should mirror the love that Christ has for his Church.  Many times the Church is referred to as the bride, Christ is the bridegroom.  Marriage mirrors that–or at least it should.  Marriage also is to bring about new life.  It is where new souls are created through the love of a man and woman.

When I think about it, well, neither one of these things are needed in heaven.  In heaven you don’t need a sacrament to mirror anything, because sacraments are things that point towards and guide us to Christ.  Sacraments would be pointless in heaven because all the angels and saints there get it.  They get it, because, well…they’re there.  Also, in heaven babies aren’t being born; there is no labor and delivery room.  Basically, in heaven there is no need for marriage anymore.  So, what does this mean?

You know, I don’t know.  Nobody does.  What I do know is that heaven is better than anything I can imagine.  In my limited human mind, the best I can come up with for me and my husband is marriage in heaven.  I wonder, though, if that oneness Dustin and I experience here on earth is magnified and more glorious in heaven.  I wonder…

What’s important for me to remember is that while I want and like the idea of Dustin and I still being married in heaven, Jesus says that it’s not like that there.  I can’t just ignore Christ’s words and go along with my own made-up version of what I think it will be like.  When I do that I set my marriage up as an idol, which I must never do.  I must trust that Christ will give Dustin and I something even better than what we’ve experienced in this life.  I must trust that Dustin and I will know each other in heaven and that the love we shared on earth will be even greater in heaven.  Earth has its limits: It has sadness, frustration, annoyance, arguing, selfishness, failings and faults.  Those things won’t be in heaven, which will hopefully allow Dustin and I to experience our love in an even more fulfilling, joyful way.

God bound Dustin and I on our wedding day in a way that only God can bind us–supernaturally.  We are not allowed to break that bond in this earthly life, I can’t imagine God would sever it in heaven.  I trust that what awaits us there is greater than my human mind can imagine.

14095766_10153644673846529_47150418775599643_n

Two souls intertwined, that’s what we are

17 comments

    • Amy Thomas says:

      It is hard, but who can understand the mind of God? I know this, God will not disappoint us. It’s not like we are going to get to heaven and regret the decision or think it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. But, still, the unknown is scary sometimes.

  1. Justine Rauch says:

    I know exactly how you feel! I hate the thought of not having DH with me in heaven, but I just cling to the thought that marriage is my taste of heaven, and when we get there each of us will experience so much joy with our Lord that we won’t need it to be a thing. Limited human minds is right. I totally get what you’re saying. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  2. Amy @ The Salt Stories says:

    I have thought on this one for so long, even have a messy post about it in my draft folder. What beautiful thoughts you share.

    I will never forget asking my then boyfriend, now husband, “eternity is a long time, will heaven ever be boring?” (Obviously I still had a lot to learn). This wise and logical man quickly spoke truth in that lie saying that union with our creator will better than every best thing on earth. It is what we are made for.

    Better than marriage, better than baby cuddles, better than the ultimate dance party with friends, better than warm chewy cookies with ice cream?

    My mind truly can’t fathom it. But I am looking forward to my love for my husband (and all of humanity) to be perfected on that glorious day. In reading the saints, I am always reminded that, Heaven is my home and I am Jesus’, today and every day.

    • Amy Thomas says:

      I think I’ve asked those exact same things. What a wise man you have there. It is something that is hard to fathom, because we just don’t have anything to go off of. I’m looking forward to it, too, because God never disappoints. Thank you for your thoughts.

  3. Edward Downing says:

    Jesus’ answer to the Sadducees that, “at the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage” seems not to apply to marriage in general, but specifically to the subject of Levirate marriage. If we unpack this statement in a Levitcal context, Our Lord is saying no bridal price will be issued as no one will be given in marriage. In a perfect world, when God did the pairing, no law was needed. Adam and Eve were made to be man and wife while they were in an immortal state intended to be forever without death.
    Might not a part of the reason for Jesus’ response be the way that the woman was being treated like a possession, passed around from man to man as an inheritance (albeit potentially a rather burdensome one)? We need to be careful, I think, about projecting too much of our understanding of how marriage works back onto a very different time and culture. Jesus’ response could have simply been about marriage as a contract, a contract which terminates on death. Relationships are a different matter, whether sexual or otherwise.

    Yes, heaven will be a perfect world, and no laws of marriage will be needed there either. Jesus made it very clear that in the age to come there will be no laws of marriage, no earthly ceremonies, no contracts being made where the father gets paid to sell his daughter (given in marriage). Perhaps, there will be the marital relationship in the life to come, though it will not come about through men marrying or giving in marriage, but through the will of God. It is the business transaction of marriage, not the relationship of marriage, that Christ is here saying will not exist at that time. If this is true, why sexual expression of love would not be a reality in the life to come?

    So although it’s a different interpretation of scripture than many Christians are used to, it’s by no means unheard of, and it is not anti-scriptural. In fact, to me it seems more in line with the core teachings of scripture about what happens in a true marriage: the two become one.

    • Amy Thomas says:

      Thank you for your comments, Edward. I’d like to continue the conversation, but I think first, I would need to understand your faith background. Could you tell me what church you belong to?

      • Edward Downing says:

        Look I grew up in a catholic family, but i’m very interested in eschatology, and I have a particular interest on this subject. If gender will continue to be a significant aspect of our lives in the eschaton, what will be relationships and roles in the new creation? Since married people are one flesh, do they have any special relationship in Heaven? Well I think eschatological questions like these are relevant because they are not just about the end times but are also very much about the here and now.

        • Amy Thomas says:

          I agree these are important questions. I don’t think that it’s wrong to explore them and ask questions. However, we don’t know exactly what heaven will be like, but what we do know is that everything will be even more glorious than here on earth. The point of marriage, here on earth, is to bring about new life and to be a witness of Christ’s love. Neither one of these things is required in Heaven. Marriage as we understand it, will not be. I do think I will be connected to my husband, but I don’t know exactly what that will mean or how that will look. It’s not like we are going to have a picket fence that we dwell in and come home to. In fact, because we will be perfect in heaven, we will be able to love each other perfectly. But, the “marriage” part is unsure. I think it’s also important to remember that in Heaven it’s not about us–it’s about being united with God. I think Father Vincent Serpa says it best when asked about marriage in heaven.
          “‘The two forms of the Catholic vows of marriage end with: ‘until death to us part’ and ‘I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.'”
          There is nothing said about eternity. All of the sacraments are fulfilled when we are united to God for all eternity. The fulfillment of the sacrament of matrimony is the union with God for which it has prepared the husband and wife. This fulfillment does not cause a separation between the husband and wife; they become more united than they ever could have been on earth. It’s just that they are united with everyone who has become united to God in this way with a joy that is completely beyond anything we can imagine.

          When considering heaven, we need to think outside of the box of our human experience here on earth. Heaven is all about God. Actually, our life here on earth is all about God also. But we don’t think in this way nearly enough.”

          • Edward Downing says:

            Well, I’m not talking of marriage in heaven as institution of course but the essence of marital relationships in the resurrection, there are various types of marriage which were not a part of the Edenic Covenant established by God. I agree everything will be more glorious in heaven than here on earth. But when God created the heavens and the earth and declared “it was very good” (Gen 1:31), everything was in a state of perfection. Death had not yet entered into human history. He created may have then had eternal life, but only one thing was not good was that man was alone. The text reveals that God and the man enjoyed a genuine, interactive relationship in the pristine environment of the garden, but God had created man as a relational being a being with capacity for a relationship with God, as well as a capacity, indeed, need for relationship with others like himself. This divinely created need for companionship and relationship was part of the original creation to which the new creation returns. Granted, after man’s lapse into sin in the garden, the need for relationship in humanity was seriously marred and deformed.

            But I think there are a misconception about that the present Heaven, where Christians go when we die, is the same place we will live forever. In fact, when we die we go to be with Christ, which is wonderful, but we are incomplete, in a pre-resurrected state, anticipating Christ’s return to earth, and our resurrections. The place we’ll live forever will be where God comes down to dwell with us, on the New Earth (Revelation 21:1-3). Just as God and man will be forever united in Jesus, so Heaven and Earth will forever be united in the new physical universe, where we’ll live as resurrected people.

            I think some falsely assume that when we give attention to people it automatically distracts us from God. But even now, in a fallen world, people can turn my attention to God. Was Jesus distracted from God by spending time with people on Earth? Certainly not. In Heaven, no person will distract us from God. We will never experience any conflict between worshiping God himself and enjoying God’s people. Our source of comfort isn’t only that we’ll be with the Lord in Heaven but also that we’ll be with each other. We’ll sit at feasts not only with God, but with his people. That is his design, and we should look forward to it.
            God has designed us for relationship not only with himself but also with others of our kind. God planned for Adam, and all mankind, to need human companionship. In other words, God made people to need and desire others besides himself. Think of it, God was with Adam in the Garden, yet God said that wasn’t good enough. God designed us to need each other. What we gain from each other is more of God because we’re created in his image and are a conduit for his self-revelation.

          • Amy Thomas says:

            I agree with much of what you have said. I didn’t say in my blog that I think in anyway that my husband and I will be separated and not know each other. I just know that “marriage” as it is designed here on earth will not be in heaven. It’s not like we will have our “home” where we come back to each day be together. It will be different and I don’t know exactly what that means. The unknown is sometimes scary. But, I trust that God, in his infinite goodness, will not disappoint me.

  4. Collette says:

    Look at it this way…God blessed you with a marvelous earthly marriage. Some women wanted marriage every bit as much you did, and probably eons more but have to endure a lifetime of unwanted singleness. Is it fair to those women that the happily-marrieds get to continue for eternity their exclusive relationships? Is it fair to lifelong single women that they get to be strays and leftovers for all eternity? Sorry, it’s not fair. And I’m hoping that heaven is all about making things fair. (And maybe even compensating the lifelong single women for their loss as in “the last shall –finally!– be first!”) That means that the earthly married couples will have to learn to stretch themselves waaaaaaay out of their comfort zone in heaven and learn to love everybody with the same feeling now hoarded and squirrelled away for their mate alone. (“Ooooh,” you say, “I don’t think I *like* that. Our married love is special because we’ve set ourselves apart…exclusive!”) Sorry. Women who are lifelong-single on earth won’t get to be married in heaven. Why is it fair that you should be?

    • Amy Thomas says:

      Thanks for writing, Collete. I definitely sense a lot of pain in your response. I’m sure a large part of that is because singleness in our culture is undervalued and almost seen as if something is “wrong” with you. As Catholics, we view “singlehood” as definitely a possible, beautiful vocation. Maybe you are called to the single life because God has great plans for you in a capacity that marriage would not allow for. Some of the greatest saints were/are single. Because they did not have the responsibility of a family they were/are able to do some pretty amazing things in this life. I think Catholicism is where marriage and being single are both seen as a great calling. I do think it is important to remember that Heaven isn’t about us. It’s not about someone getting their “fair-share” finally. It is about complete and perfect union with God–complete joy, complete happiness. Married people are not “first” in this life; we simply have a different calling than someone who may not ever get married. Heaven isn’t about things being fair, it’s about complete and utter goodness. I won’t be married in heaven–that was the whole point of the blog. It’s a hard thing to face because I’m uncertain of what that means for my husband and me. It’s simply not something I can fathom or imagine and that prospect is a little scary. Marriage isn’t needed in heaven and the thought of not “living” with my husband is hard to contemplate. However, I know that all things are perfect in Heaven and nothing is lacking, but the unknown sometimes can be scary. It is my hope that my love for my husband (which is unique in that our love creates a family) is not hoarded, though it is expressed differently than the type of love I have, say, for my parents, my kids, or even a stranger I’ve never met. It is my sincere prayer that all feel immensely loved and get to share in the joys of heaven. The most important thing to remember, though, is that all are equally loved and wanted by God–that’s a great comfort no matter what your status in life is.

      • Collette says:

        I appreciate your thoughtful response. But you cannot deny that you are twice blessed, now and later. There is real pain in being lifelong single, and I didn’t even mention being childless which is even worse. Try contemplating an eternity of barrenness…is there anything more inconsolable? You say that marriage and singleness are just different. Six of one, half dozen of the other? Not really…more like the difference between healthy and sick, rich and poor…they’re not “just different” states of health or finances or family blessings. They’re the difference between *real suffering* and blessings from God. I know that every marriage and family has extreme trials…but the acid test is this: would you trade your particular blessings for my state in life? Would you like to walk into church every Sunday and see nothing but marriage and family celebrated? Would you like to read documents like Amoris Laetitia and feel like a subhuman alien ghost? And would you like to look forward to a heaven where the blind will see and the lame will walk and the mute will talk but the single and barren will stay that way forever…the only suffering that doesn’t “get fixed?” Yes, you struck a nerve with me…you write about a worry that your marriage will somehow be diminished in heaven. You hope against hope that God will give you something “even better” instead. But the involuntarily single and childless (who followed all of the church’s purity rules!) can end up forever aliens in that glorious “family of families” –the one that so many blessed Catholics are adamant should continue forever. The “family of families” should not continue forever. And yes I hope for compensation and reward for enduring trials and suffering on earth. Heaven should be a place of righting wrongs. And if you were in my place, you would wholeheartedly agree. Your blog celebrates all the special intimacies of marriage and family–but you might ponder this as you invest all your time, energy, and love in your “domestic church “—Jesus said that if you love only those who love you back (in that oh-so-celebrated Catholic way) “what reward is there for that?” So yes–just as you hope for something “even better”–so do I.

        • Amy Thomas says:

          It’s not wrong to hope for something better, Collette. However, you can’t look at Heaven as a place where you’ll get your dues and I’ll stand by and watch myself get pushed to the back. I do feel for you in the fact that this clearly is a burden that you shoulder and it clearly has left you feeling lonely and discarded. But, you cannot compare your sufferings with others. Your sufferings are no more “real” than mine. Each of us has a cross to bear and I’ve got my crosses, just like you. My cross isn’t being single, but I have suffered greatly, just as you have and everyone else. But, it is what we do with that suffering that makes the difference. It appears that you have taken your cross and allowed it to settle into bitterness and near resentment of families and married couples.
          No, Collette, I wouldn’t trade my life, because this is my life to live. I’ve suffered greatly, but I’ve learned that all those sufferings can and should be used for a greater purpose. I used to be very resentful and full of bitterness and it darn near destroyed me. I’m not going to apologize for celebrating marriage and all it’s blessings–we should lift up marriage and celebrate it–it’s a good thing. The thing is, you can be joyful while poor and you can be joyful while rich. You can be joyful while healthy and you can be joyful while sick (there were many saints that were). You can be joyful while married and you can be joyful while single. Or you cannot, the choice is yours. You are part of the family of God. You will be apart of the family of God in Heaven. You are not an alien. I’m truly sorry you feel this way. It might help you, though, to start praying for those families you see at church. Pray that they are good, virtuous families. Pray that they endure their trials and sufferings well. I understand that this struck a nerve with you because you are hurting. I don’t know how you feel, but I can see how it would be a difficult thing to carry. But, we can’t go around striking out at people who do have good marriages and families, because we ourselves are hurting. We can’t go around hoping against hope that we will get what’s coming to us in heaven and that those that were “blessed” here on earth will just have to “learn to get out of their comfort zone.” This isn’t a good attitude to have and it doesn’t allow you to be the best you can be. Jesus did say that “what reward is there in loving those that love you back”? But, He didn’t mean this to say that we shouldn’t have families or love our spouses. What would be the point of a marriage if I didn’t invest my time and energy into it? And why attack me on this, if this is exactly what you so desire? You desire children and a spouse to love and invest time in. My vocation is to care for my spouse and my family, and, AND to love those that I come into contact with everyday. Our hope for heaven should not be compensation for what we lacked here on earth; it should be because we desire that union with God. I write so that I can encourage others who are living a life similar to mine. There are many, many broken marriages and hurting marriages and I hate that they suffer. I’m a daughter of divorced parents and believe me, my growing up years were not rosy and joyful. Just because people are married doesn’t mean they are more blessed than you. You have the ability, Collette, to bless others others with a joyful attitude, a positive spirit of shouldering your burdens with patience and perseverance. I’ll keep you in my prayers, please keep me in yours.

          • Collette says:

            You clearly wrote an incredibly long response, and I’m not going to try to read it all now. I could see from scanning it that it deems me bitter and reluctant to carry my cross. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you. But when you say you’re not going to apologize for celebrating marriage, Please know I never asked you to do that. I won’t ask you to pretend that you could easily do without your greatest earthly blessings had you been “called to singleness.” I was not called to singleness. No one is dragged kicking and screaming into a true vocation. I’m single by circumstance, and I do the best I can with it (likely better than most do). From my perusal of your blog site, you don’t lack for photos of couples staring adoringly into each other’s eyes…if your blog’s true purpose is a Catholic influence, you might consider having a couple shot from the back and staring at a monstrance….now that would be true Adoration and in keeping with a Catholic focus. You want marriage and family to continue in Heaven. I don’t. Reasonable people can disagree but it’s up to God isn’t it? After you’ve been showered with family blessings on earth, why would you begrudge those who’d find a single/barren eternity scary? You write that eternity without your marriage is scary. Why would I be any different? If you have any anger or annoyance at me in your heart, I ask you
            not to pray for me. At some point, the have-nots need to become haves. This will not make you a have-not. Peace.

Leave a Reply