Marriage in Heaven?
Jesus tells us what will happen to our relationships when we reach Heaven:
Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection (when they arise) whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven.” -Mark 12:18-25, NAB
Reading this verse at face value can bring challenges for all of us. I love my wife with all of my heart, and I want that relationship to last forever; however, this verse makes it seem like that relationship will change in Heaven. It will – but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The difficult part about today’s verse is that we often struggle to think in heavenly terms. Our focus is primarily on this world, but we are speaking about what happens when we reach Heaven. Understanding it, then, requires us to refocus our thoughts and understand the purpose of marriage.
One of the primary goals for any marriage is to help each other live saintly lives with the goal of reaching Heaven. Our marital bond helps us to support and love one another in ways that exists in no other relationship. While that bond may change in Heaven, it does not mean that we will soon forget our experiences here on Earth, and we will surely not forget the one soul who helped us get there in the first place.
Christ tells us that we will be like the angels in Heaven, focused on loving and adoring God. On Earth, our focus is on our worldly lives: our jobs, relationships, and material possessions. In Heaven, we leave all of that behind and turn our energies towards worshiping God in ways we never imagined.
In Heaven, we will reunite with loved ones and meet others for the first time. Imagine spending time with Saints Peter, Paul, Ignatius, and Thomas Aquinas, or worshiping alongside Blesseds Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. One moment, we will spend time with these great heroes of the faith; the next moment will be spent with those we loved here on Earth. It’s hard to comprehend the true beauty of Heaven.
As we are reunited with our loved ones in Heaven, we no longer need to focus on paying the bills, cleaning the house, or other worldly affairs; instead, freed from the limitations of our human mind and bodies, we can love each other, and God, more completely. With our sinful ways behind us, the barriers to perfect love are removed.
After I first read this verse, it saddened me to think that my wife and I may not have the same relationship in Heaven, but as I thought about it, I am excited about what awaits. In Heaven, I can love her in ways far beyond the love I can show her here. Throughout our lives, despite my best intentions, I will fall short of showing the fullness of my love to her, but in Heaven, that will no longer be a problem.
One day, my wife will never again have to ask me to take out the garbage, and I will never have to patiently wait as she finishes her nails. The worries of this world will fade away. Our relationship will go to a new level, beyond anything we could imagine, as we join together, along with all of the other saints, to worship our Most High God – sharing in a perfect love that only Heaven can bring.