Christians can get excited knowing that one day they will get to spend eternal life in Heaven. They will be united with God and spend eternity in His beautiful kingdom. As Christians, we all question what Heaven will be like. For some, there is an important question that lingers on their mind; will we be married?
A spouse might not top everyone's list of questions about the eternal kingdom, but for many, it is a valid worry. They may have lost a beloved spouse and are fearful they will not be able to reunite with them again. Others have experienced divorce and may wonder which spouse they will be with in Heaven. How does that work? Here is what the Bible has to say about marriage in Heaven.
Will we be married in Heaven?
Jesus made it clear. He said that marriage, as we know it on earth, will not be the same in Heaven. In Matthew 22, Jesus was questioned about this. His response was: "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like angels in Heaven" (Matthew 22:30).
If your spouse was saved by Jesus while they walked on the earth, you will reunite with them in Heaven. However you will not be married in Heaven. In Heaven, we participate in a much higher union: the wedding of the marriage supper of the lamb (Revelation 19:6-9). Additionally, Jesus Christ has married the Church. We are His bride. We will participate in a wedding and marriage far more enjoyable than any earthly relationship can create (Ephesians 5:25).
Will we still love our spouses in Heaven?
The very nature of God is love, so it would be correct to assume you will still love your spouse in Heaven. In Ezekiel 1, it says God fills Heaven with His glory. When we are given new bodies in Heaven, they will be bodies more like Christ because they will be without sin (2 Corinthians 5:17). We will have more love in Heaven to give than we ever loved on earth. This love will be different. We may not experience sexual love, but we will experience a brotherly love for one another. The English language only has one word for love, so we often forget that other languages, such as Ancient Greek, had many different types of love.
God has given us sex and romantic love as a gift on earth, but much greater the gifts and rewards will be in Heaven (Matthew 5:12, Luke 12:33-34, 1 Corinthians 2:9). We love our spouses so we have a hard time imagining anything greater God can have in store for us. As stated in 1 Corinthians 2:9, He has prepared something for us in Heaven beyond where our imaginations can stretch.
Why is marriage not needed in Heaven?
We can gain a better understanding of why marriage won't exist in Heaven by looking at what St. Paul says about the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. First Corinthians 13:13 says, "And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love". Why is love the greatest? Of the three great theological virtues, only love is eternal. Faith and hope are temporary.
If faith is the assurance of things not seen, then in Heaven we will not need faith to believe in God because we will behold Him face to face. Faith is a virtue for this world, not the next. Hope is defined as "the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ's promises…" Hope is a desire directed toward future fulfillment. Once we possess that which we desire, it is no longer hoped for. There will be no need for hope in Heaven, because we will maintain the object of our hope. Like faith, hope is a virtue for this world, not the next.
Only love will remain, because love "is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God" Love is not something that only directs us towards God — love is God. It is a virtue for this world, for we are called to love God and neighbor in this world. But it is also a virtue for the world to come, where that love will be perfected and expanded to a degree we cannot imagine. "Love never fails" (1 Corinthians 13:8).
It is the same for marriage. Like faith and hope, it won't be needed in Heaven, because its purpose will have been fulfilled. There will no longer be a need to assist God in the creation of new human beings via procreation because the human population will be complete. There will no longer be a need for spouses to help one another attain holiness because they will both have attained it fully. Like the virtues of faith and hope, marriage is designed to help us get to Heaven. Once we are there, it will no longer be needed.
What about other earthly relationships?
Jesus did not say that all earthly relationships will be nullified in Heaven. Those of us who accept God's merciful offer of deliverance and salvation will be together with our loved ones in the next life. We just do not know precisely what form that togetherness will take. Instead, they will be something more, something better, something far more fulfilling and satisfying than we can imagine. That is part of the glory of the resurrected life. The apostle John hints at this glory when he says, "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).
As Christians, we can often get bogged down in the details on earth that we forget Heaven operates far differently than this world (Colossians 3:2). We must live with eternity in mind. Although God has given us a purpose on earth, our time on earth is short (Psalm 103:15-16) in comparison with eternity in Heaven.