If You’ve been Married More than Once, Which One will you be With in the Afterlife?

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Anna:

If a widow remarries after Death of her husband, which one will she be with in her afterlife?

Thanks for the good question, Anna.

The Meeting of a Family in Heaven, by William Blake

The Meeting of a Family in Heaven, by William Blake

I’m sorry if you had to go through the death of a husband. This is not only a difficult and painful experience, but it’s also one that can cause us to rethink our whole life and character. That’s especially so if we had a good and loving relationship with the husband—or wife—we lost. Moving on to a new marriage means becoming a different person than we were before in at least some ways. We must form a new relationship with a different person, and adapt ourselves to that new relationship.

Which love is real?

Probably both of them.

But we can be married to only one person in heaven.

So which will it be?

The basic answer is: the one we are then closest to in spirit.

Let’s take a closer look.

An ancient question

You are far from alone in asking this question.

Two thousand years ago a group of skeptics asked Jesus the same type of question—though they brought it to a ridiculous extreme. You can read three versions of the question and Jesus’ response to it in Matthew 22:23–33, Mark 12:18–27, and Luke 20:27–40.

The people who asked this question were not interested in marriage in heaven. They were trying to argue that the whole idea of an afterlife is ridiculous. Jesus’ response focused mostly on the reality of the afterlife. But he also said that the legalistic relationship that they called “marriage” does not exist in heaven.

Unfortunately, Christians ever since have thought he was saying there is no marriage at all in the afterlife. For more on this question, see the article, How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven? And for a much deeper and more detailed look at Jesus’ words about marriage in the afterlife, see a series of three articles starting with: Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?

Here’s the short version: God created man and woman to be married, and to be complete in one another. We don’t change and become a completely different type of being just because we die. The same fundamental human love and desire to join with another person here on earth continues with us into the spiritual world.

With that in mind, let’s move on to the question of who we will be married to in the afterlife.

Marriage is first a union of souls

From a purely biological perspective, marriage doesn’t exist. There is only mating.

Though some other animals besides humans do mate for life (and many humans do not mate for life), no other animal gets married. Even without bringing God and spirit into the picture, marriage is a social and legal arrangement that doesn’t exist outside of human society.

But from a spiritual perspective, marriage is much more than that. In the Gospels, Jesus said:

But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (Mark 10:6–9)

Marriage, as God designed it, makes two human beings into one. And though that does mean we become one physically in the act of lovemaking, everything God does starts with God and spirit, not with flesh. When God joins us together, it is first of all a spiritual union. In other words, it is a union of two souls, hearts, and minds into one. In a real marriage, the social, legal, and physical union flows seamlessly from the spiritual union that makes two souls into one soul.

That is why especially in the higher heavens, a married couple is commonly called “one angel.” From a distance, they may even appear as a single person.

In short, genuine marriage starts with our deepest soul level, and unites us from there all the way down to our bodies.

This is the marriage that exists in heaven—something those ancient materialistic skeptics, who asked Jesus their crazy hypothetical question, could not even conceive of.

We are eternally the person we are inwardly at death

What, then, determines who we will be married to eternally in heaven?

Our spiritual character, and the spiritual character of the one who will be our eternal partner.

And what is our spiritual character?

It is what we love most, what we truly believe in our heart, what we do with our life based on those loves and beliefs.

Each of us has—and is—a unique set of loves, beliefs, and skills. That is why we take on various careers, professions, and purposes in life.

What do you love most?

  • Is it money, power, or pleasure? If so, you might want to reconsider the direction of your life.
  • Is it God’s presence in your life, and service to your fellow human beings in your own unique way? If so, then the particular way you love God and serve your fellow human beings will set the course for your eternal life in heaven.

Of course, this can and does change during the course of our lifetime here on earth.

The whole purpose of our life on earth is to give us an opportunity to consider the various directions we might go, try out the ones that look good to us, and make a choice over our lifetime about what we love most, who we want to be, and what we want to do with our life. (For more on this, see “Heaven, Regeneration, and the Meaning of Life on Earth.”)

During the course of our lifetime here on earth, we develop into the angel we will become. All of our experiences, choices, and actions in life become a part of the complex, multifaceted person that we are.

What matters most is not the particular things we have experienced or done at various times in our life. What matters most is the choices we make in response to them, and the person we become as a result.

At the time of our death, we have made all of the choices we are going to make here on earth. We have become the person we will be in eternity.

It is this character that we have formed through our lifetime on earth, and up to the time of our death, that will determine who we will be married to in heaven.

Our various partners reflect our developing self

Many, if not most of us go through more than one relationship. Many people have been married more than once, either through the death of a spouse or through separation and divorce.

If we look back over our various relationships, and reflect on why we were with each partner, we may be able to discern how each relationship expressed something of our character at that time. As we went through changes in our beliefs, attitudes, and goals—and in our general level of maturity—we moved from one partner to another.

Many of us found one we felt we could spend the rest of our life with. Some of us were blessed to have that ideal become a reality in a loving, lifelong marriage.

For many others of us, though, that was not to be. Some of us entered marriages that turned out not to have the soul connection that makes a true and lasting marriage. Others simply grew away from our partner. Still others did have a good and loving marriage, but lost our husband or wife to premature death.

Those who lose a beloved spouse to death while there is still much life to live face a difficult choice.

Will we seek new love, and remarry?

That is a very personal choice. No one else can make it for us. If you’ve been through it, you know all of the conflicting thoughts and feelings that go into it.

Those who make the choice to remarry, and who believe in eternal marriage, will naturally think about which of their loves they will be with in eternity.

What happens to us when we die?

So let’s get to it!

Here is what Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) tells us in his books Heaven and Hell and Marriage Love about what happens to us after we die, and what happens with married couples.

When we first die, after the initial experience of leaving our physical body and being welcomed into the spiritual world, we settle into a life very much like the one we had lived previously on earth. This can last anywhere from a few days to a few decades.

Most of us are probably in this first stage for a period of some years. This gives us time to get together with our husband or wife and settle back into a life together similar to the one we had in the world.

Here on earth, we learn to put on a face for the world. We often pretend to be someone we are not for social and practical reasons. This habit of ours continues right into that first stage in the spiritual world. We may be so used to acting like we are a certain type of person that even we ourselves don’t know who we truly are inside.

However, in the spiritual world, as days stretch into weeks, years, and sometimes decades, our true inner character is gradually opened up. We can no longer pretend to be someone we are not. Our real inner thoughts and feelings begin to show through.

This is our second stage after death. By the time it is over, we cannot say anything we do not believe, or do anything that isn’t what we really want to do. (For more on the stages we go through after death, see “What Happens To Us When We Die?”)

Once our true inner character has been revealed, we are prepared to discover who will be our true, eternal partner.

Who will we be married to in heaven?

Here on earth, our marriages are not always based on who we truly are inside. We may marry for social or financial reasons. Or we may not have a clear sense of who we are, and marry someone who looks attractive to us for reasons we don’t think out very deeply.

If we are not truly one in spirit with our husband or wife at the time that we die, we will probably still get together with them again during that first stage after death. However, as our own and our spouse’s real inner character comes out, it will become clear that we don’t belong with this person. At that point, the marriage will break up. As on earth, this can happen either by the husband leaving the wife, or the wife leaving the husband, or by a mutual decision.

If we have been married more than once, we will have the opportunity to meet and get together with each of the people we were married to. We may even live with each of them for a time in order to find out whether we have a real spiritual connection with one or another of them. This can take place during that first stage after death, when we are still figuring out who we truly are inside.

Eventually, though, it will become crystal clear to us exactly who we are, and exactly who our various partners are. This happens in that second stage after death, when our true inner self comes out.

At that point, it will become as plain as day who we truly belong with. Knowing our own real character, and seeing the real character of our various partners, we will see which one of them has grown in the same direction we have grown, and shares our deepest loves and beliefs. Or we may find that our true love is not any of our previous partners, but someone new.

Whoever it is, that is the one we will marry and spend eternity with.

Were our previous marriages real?

Does this mean that all of our other marriages and relationships were not real?

Not necessarily. Remember, our life here on earth is a process of growth, development, discovery, and decision about who we are and who we want to become. At one stage of our life we may very much love the partner we are with. But then the two of us may move in different directions, and part ways.

If our husband or wife died and we moved on to another marriage, that doesn’t necessarily mean the earlier marriage wasn’t real. It may be that in heaven we will return to our earlier love. Maybe that person actually was our true spiritual partner. Or maybe we have moved on from that stage of our life, and we are no longer a match for one another.

For each person it is different. If you’ve been married more than once, I can’t say which one of your marital partners you will be with in heaven. Only you can discover that for yourself.

Eternal marriage

What I can say is that whoever it is, it will be the right person for you.

God loves us, and wants to give us every happiness. If we long for a true, deep, loving, exciting, eternal marriage with someone who shares our deepest thoughts and feelings, God will provide that for us.

Which one will you be with in the afterlife?

The one with whom you have become one in spirit through your lifetime here on earth.

With that person, now an angel, you will become one angel. With that person you will continue to grow in love and understanding forever.

With that person you will share your life, your passions, your ideas, your work, your play—and yes, your marriage bed—to all eternity.

This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.

For further reading:

About

Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in Sex Marriage Relationships, The Afterlife
59 comments on “If You’ve been Married More than Once, Which One will you be With in the Afterlife?
  1. Craig says:

    Under the heading “who will we be married to in heaven” you said

    “Or we may find that our true love is not any of our previous partners, but someone new.”

    Does this mean that you can marry someone that you meet in heaven

    Also, in regards to who you are married to in heaven, what if you were in a relationship with someone but before you got married that person passed away, and you married someone else. If the relationship you had with the person who passed away before you married was a much closer relationship than that of the person you eventually married. Would you marry the first person in heaven? What if you broke up before marriage but you were much closer and more compatible than you were with the person you eventually married

    Thanks

    • Lee says:

      Hi Craig,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your good questions.

      Yes, you could marry someone you meet in heaven if you didn’t meet anyone on earth who was compatible with you in spirit.

      Technically speaking, you most likely wouldn’t meet in heaven itself, but in the “world of spirits,” which is the area of the spiritual world where everyone first goes after death and lives for a few days, months, years, or decades before going to either heaven or hell. In the normal course of events, if you die as an adult, by the time you move on from the world of spirits to your eternal home in heaven, you will already have found your marital partner and gotten married–if you weren’t already married to that person on earth.

      Of course, human relationships are complex. It’s difficult to make any hard-and-fast rules about who you’ll be married to in the other life. But most likely if you did not marry someone you were very compatible with, and then did marry someone you were not so compatible with, then it is likely that after death you will end out married to the one you were more compatible with.

      I say “likely” because we do change over the course of our lifetime.

      It could happen that as a young man or woman, you were compatible with someone whom you may have wished you could marry at that time. But then as you went through life you might have changed as a person, and become quite different from who you were as a teenager or young adult. It’s possible to grow out of a relationship that might have been right for you earlier in life, but no longer is. Later in life you might be compatible with someone else, whom you wouldn’t have been compatible with as a young person.

      Also, it’s possible that after many years of marriage, you might become more compatible with the person you did marry. People who live together and love one another do often grow closer together over the years, and adopt one another’s thoughts and feelings, beliefs and aspirations, habits and goals. So, to quote the famous Stephen Stills song, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

      We humans are a complex bunch, and our relationships with one another are even more complex than we are as individuals.

      That’s why it’s difficult to make hard-and-fast rules about who you’ll be married to in heaven. Only God sees the whole course of our lives. Only God can see and provide for someone who will be an eternal match for your soul in heaven.

    • Ruan says:

      The only answer I didn’t see clearly, is if his new wife, whom has loved only him for many years and finally had the opportunity to marry him, after certain circumstances that kept them apart for years, knows she is his soulmates and has never loved anyone else the same way, but the man and maybe his ex wife still feel as if they are soul mates that made a serious mistake or had circumstances that separated them. What happens to the new wife in afterlife if ex wife is the one? Does she find a match that she never new of on earth?

      • Lee says:

        Hi Ruan,

        Yes, if it turns out that the one we thought was our soulmate turns out not to be our soulmate, God then brings us together with someone who actually is our soulmate. If that doesn’t happen here on earth, it will happen in the afterlife, where our true inner self comes out so that we can see clearly who we’re compatible with and who we’re not.

  2. Susan Thurston says:

    Thank you for your wonderful articles.

  3. Tony says:

    lee
    so you stay the person you were as you die so I am a very lazy person and if I die like right now that would be part of my character and if so then I can’t change that once I leave this material plane right?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Tony,

      Good question. It would depend a lot on why you are a lazy person. If it really is a settled part of your character that you just don’t have a lot of interest in doing anything productive and useful, then that would follow you into the spiritual world, and you would most likely be lazy in the spiritual world, too. And that would mean that your happiness there would be much diminished. People in heaven get their greatest joy from serving others in useful and practical ways.

      However, there are other reasons some people are “lazy.”

      Sometimes it is due to physical health conditions that have sapped tho body’s energy and vitality, so the person really can’t do all that much. Any such purely physical causes would be removed, and the person would have a fully healthy and functioning spiritual body without the former limitations of the old physical body.

      Sometimes people are “lazy” because they cannot do the kind of work they would really love to do. People who are stuck in the wrong career or the wrong job will sometimes be “lazy” because their heart just isn’t in what they’re doing, and they can’t generate much enthusiasm about it. And yet, due to physical and financial circumstances, they may not be able to move into the sort of work they would really like to do. In this case, once again, such external limitations would be removed in the spiritual world, and that person would be able to engage in the kind of work that he or she loves, enjoys, and can get enthusiastic about.

      None of this, however, should be used as an excuse not do do our best here. Even people with physical limitations, and in the wrong line of work, can often find reasons to keep going that transcend their particular circumstances. So if laziness is an issue for you, I’d suggest looking carefully at your life, and doing your best to figure out what’s got you into this rut–and then doing something about it. The more you can accomplish here on earth to get your life going on a good track, the better your prospects will be for a happy and productive life in the spiritual world after you die.

  4. kevin says:

    LEE

    I want to be with my wife but she commited adultry . She is with him now.We were together for twenty years…..

    we are just seperated. ???? I Still love her she hates me. what should I Do . SHOULD I DIVORCE HER??

    hopelessly in love
    Kevin

    • Lee says:

      Hi Kevin,

      I am very sorry to hear about your marital situation. Unfortunately, it’s all too common a story. I can’t tell you what to do. You are the only one in your shoes, and you’re the one who will have to make that decision—if she doesn’t divorce you first. I would only say:

      1. If a marriage isn’t mutual, it’s not a marriage. If she doesn’t love you, it simply doesn’t matter how much you love her. You will not have a real marriage with her, even if you did remain civilly married to her.
      2. Adultery is a legitimate cause for divorce from just about any perspective. No one could fault you, civilly or spiritually, if you did decide to divorce her.

      That is probably a small consolation to you as you see a twenty year marriage go up in flames. Unfortunately, sometimes life just doesn’t turn out the way we planned, and we just have to face reality as it is rather than as we wish it would be. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this very difficult and painful situation.

  5. kevin says:

    I like your way of making it clear. how old will I look if I make the cut to get into heaven. You said we cant change who we are… why not

    • Lee says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Thank you.

      What I meant by that is that our character doesn’t change after death. Whatever character we build here on earth, that is the character we will take with us into the afterlife.

      However, assuming we have chosen love, truth, and compassion over selfishness, greed, and corruption, our outward, bodily appearance will change until we are physically at the prime of young adulthood. That is the spiritual body we will live in to eternity.

      For more on what we experience when we enter the afterlife, see: “What Happens To Us When We Die?” See also the section titled “How are my parents doing?” in the article, “What Does it Mean When My Parents Die? Will I See Them Again?

      • Tony says:

        Hi lee

        What about after you die and you have your settled character what about when we start living in the afterlife will we simply build on our character we made on earth or what ever we do in the spiritual world can be something new separate from what we did back on earth?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Tony,

          If you’re talking about what work (job) we’ll be doing in heaven, that may very well be different than what we did on earth. Many people here on earth are working particular jobs, not because they love them or because it’s the best use of their skill and character, but because it’s what they have to do to make the rent payments.

          That situation doesn’t exist in heaven. In heaven, we don’t have to worry about rent or food or clothing. The work we do there will be the work we love most and for which our character best suits us. So if you’re working a boring, dead-end job here on earth, that will no longer be your situation in heaven.

          Here are a couple of related articles that might help:

  6. kevin says:

    thank you I have four young children cought up in this..

    • Lee says:

      Hi Kevin,

      Yes, that does complicate matters. That’s why only you can make the decision.

      • Kevin says:

        I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs and I wish that I could sit down and talk? I could talk to you for hours.

        Someone once told me that God won’t put more on you than you can handle is this true?

        Because I lost my mother and my wife in the same week and it was overwhelming to say the least.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Kevin,

          It would be my great pleasure to do just that. And yet, we are limited by time and space. So I put out all these articles for you and others to read and gain some insight, help, and comfort.

          About that saying, it comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13:

          No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

          However, Paul also says:

          We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)

          So in fact, Paul says both that we won’t be tested beyond our strength and that we will be tested beyond our strength. In one case he was reassuring us that our struggles are not going to destroy us. In the other he was telling us that yes, we will not be able to bear some of the temptations and struggles we face. In both places he tells us that it is God who will provide the way out of our struggles.

          The general message is that if we think that on our own we can bear anything life throws at us, sooner or later we will get a rude awakening. At times life does indeed test us beyond our ability to bear by our own strength precisely in order to break our reliance upon our own strength, and move us to put our faith and trust in God’s strength instead.

          Put more plainly, we humans can be stubborn beasts. We will fight to the bitter end to try to deal with our lives without reaching out for help from others or from God. And until we recognize that we really can’t do it alone, we are likely to face harder and harder trials, until we finally surrender our pride and self-reliance, and recognize our need of God’s love, God’s guidance, and God’s power in our life.

          And please understand that when bad things happen to us, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve done something to deserve them. It may just mean that our life has been going in the wrong direction, or had simply become unsustainable as it was, and that it’s time for us to change direction and move on to the next phase of our life—ideally a higher phase than the previous one. And I would simply add that on this, I speak from hard personal experience of my own.

        • Kevin Burg says:

          Thank You!! My Pastor said that was not in the Bible????

        • Lee says:

          Hi Kevin,

          You’re welcome.

          The Bible focuses mostly on how to live our life here on earth, not what things will be like in heaven. There is no clear, detailed description of the afterlife in the Bible. And in my view, much of what is in the Bible about the afterlife has been misunderstood and misinterpreted in traditional Christianity.

          So although I do believe that what I’ve said in this article is compatible with what the Bible says, your pastor is right that these things are not actually said in the Bible. The Bible is concerned primarily with how we are to believe and live here on earth so that we may gain salvation and eternal life.

  7. kevin says:

    Pastor Lee,

    I think I’M DONE here on EARTH…….I have nothing left to offer anyone. I quit…..

    • Lee says:

      Hi Kevin,

      I’m sorry to hear that you feel that way. Hang in there. This, too, shall pass. I know from your previous comments (above) that you’ve recently been through the wringer. And that can make it feel like your life is at an end. But it’s not. What’s happening is that the life you’ve been living up to this time is over, and you will now have to start a new life. It won’t be easy. Just the uncertainty about what’s coming next can be enough to eat you up inside. But trust me, I’ve been through it, and there is life after your whole life falls apart. One thing you can gain from all of this is clarity about the direction you were headed in the past, and where it was leading you. And based on that, you can choose a new direction in life. When all the dust has settled, and your mind clears so that you can see a new path forward, I believe you will find that what looked like the end of your life was instead a new beginning.

  8. Mary Minton says:

    If an ex-spouse has remarried and is the true spiritual partner of his second spouse and connects with her in heaven, is the first spouse doomed to loneliness in heaven?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Mary,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your question.

      In answer, no, the first spouse would not be doomed to loneliness. For anyone who truly desires a partner in marriage God provides the right person—if not here, then in the next life. God loves every one of us, and does not leave anyone forlorn.

  9. Jack says:

    Which one will you be with in the afterlife?

    The one with whom you have become one in spirit through your lifetime here on earth.

    Lee, most of us have never and never will “become one in spirit” with a person here on earth. The only hope for most of us us is to meet our spiritual soulmate in heaven. How will that work? Will it be a kind of “speed-dating” or are there social groups where spirits meet spirits or when we first arrive in the spirit world is our true mate waiting to greet us and if not, why not, since that’s the way it seems to me it should be. I mean why waste time like we have to in the earthly realm?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Jack,

      Good question.

      When I said that we’ll be with the one we have become one in spirit with through our lifetime here on earth, I didn’t necessarily mean that would be with someone we’ve spent our adult life with here on earth. I meant that we’ll be with whoever our life, character, choices, and actions have made us most compatible with. And of course, that also means that her or his life, character, choices, and actions have made her or him most compatible with us.

      It’s probably more common than you think that people become one in spirit with another person right here on earth. It’s not some woo-woo “spiritual” thing as much as it is a sense of strong connection to a partner with whom we feel one in spirit, values, joys, and so on. There are many married couples who feel this way about each other. Further, for these couples, living with one another day in and day out for many years brings about a growing closeness and sense of oneness. Yes some married couples may be fooling themselves. But I believe that most of the couples who feel truly married to one another in spirit here on earth go on to spend eternity with each other in heaven.

      How does it work for those who don’t find their soulmate here on earth?

      It’s possible that some will find him or her just waiting for them on the other side. But it’s more likely that they will find each other in the course of their ongoing lives in the spiritual world.

      For one thing, presumably about half the time our partner is still living on earth because we died first.

      But it’s more than that. Most of us, when we arrive in the spiritual world, are wearing “masks” of personas that don’t really match our true inner self. We put on a false front for social reasons, or to fit in at work, or because we’re afraid to show who we truly are, or for any of the many other reasons that we hide our true self from the world—and often even from ourselves.

      As long as we’re still wearing those masks, it’s not clear to others or to ourselves exactly who we are (though angels can tell). And during our first stage in the “world of spirits,” where we all first go after death, we continue to wear these masks. It’s only in our second stage there that the masks come off, and our true self comes out. For more on this, see: What Happens To Us When We Die?

      It will most likely be during that second stage after death—and if not during it, then certainly when it’s complete—that we’ll meet and recognize our true spiritual partner and get together with him or her. At that point, we’ll be able to see clearly who we ourselves are in spirit, and who our future bride or groom is in spirit, so that it will be clear to us that we and that person fit together as a couple.

      We will then get to know each other just as we do here on earth, except more quickly because in the spiritual world we can see into one another’s minds and hearts much more clearly than we can here on earth.

      But even then, there will always be more to learn about one another, and deeper to go. We humans are deep and complex creatures. And we’re always learning and growing. This means that our relationships with one another are always growing and deepening also.

      Even in heaven, we’ll always continue to grow closer to, and more in love with, our partner in marriage, to all eternity.

  10. Ashley says:

    How does this work for people that are to shy to talk to others in this life. are sky, un-confident people in this life destined for eternal celibacy in the age to come? How can you so sure this guy was telling the truth and not lying, or Hallucinating?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and questions.

      I assume by “this guy” you mean Swedenborg. He himself was aware that many people would be skeptical of his spiritual experiences. He wrote:

      I realize that many people will say it is not possible for anyone to talk with spirits and angels while still living in the physical body. Some will say I am hallucinating, and some will say I am writing these things just to get a following. Others will make other objections. But none of this discourages me, because I have seen, I have heard, and I have felt. (Secrets of Heaven #68)

      You’ll have to make up your own mind based on the believability of what he wrote. Here are two posts that might help:

      About your first question, not to worry. Even shy people who wish for love and marriage can and do find an eternal partner in the spiritual world. It’s easier there than here. First, people’s true inner self soon comes out, so it’s easy to see who’s compatible and who’s not. And second, the very nature of the spiritual world brings people of like minds and hearts together, while separating people who aren’t compatible with one another. Here are a few more articles that might be helpful:

      1. What Happens To Us When We Die?
      2. How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?
      3. Can you Fall in Love in Heaven if you Haven’t Found Someone on Earth?

      So take heart. Even if you don’t find someone here on earth, if you long for love, in the afterlife you will find someone to share your heart, mind, and life with.

  11. Ashley says:

    Hi , I’m sorry to keep bothering you. But could you explane how similar people are brought together in the spearitual world?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      You’re not bothering me. That’s what this website is here for.

      In answer to your question, in the spiritual world, love is the equivalent of gravity in the physical world: it is a force that brings things together, even over vast distances.

      However, love is much more personal and individualized than gravity. It doesn’t bring together just any old people. It brings together people who share similar values, ideas, loves, and dreams. In the spiritual world, people who share common loves, ideas, and ideals are drawn together just as the earth and the moon are drawn together and remain in relationship with one another due to their gravitational attraction to one another.

      In the spiritual world, just thinking about someone with affection brings you together with that person. And sharing common thoughts and feelings draws you together even with people that you have never known before.

      Since that is so, it is only a matter of time until you are drawn to that one person who is most compatible with you in thoughts, loves, dreams, and ideals. That’s just how the “gravity” of the spiritual world works.

      And that’s why in the spiritual world it is impossible that you would not meet the person who is destined to be your eternal partner, even if the two of you have never met in this world.

  12. Ashley says:

    Does god choose people for each other, and those two people know it as soon as they see each other?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      God doesn’t exactly choose people for each other. It’s more like God provides and prepares people for each other. Exactly how God does this, I don’t know. I’m not God. But I do believe that God has at least one person in mind for everyone. And perhaps there are a few possibilities, depending upon the circumstances. Love is a complex thing!

      People also get together in different ways. For some it is love at first sight. They know as soon as they see each other. For others, it grows on them over time until they realize that this person they’ve known for quite some time is the right partner for them. We humans are a diverse lot, and our relationships happen in different ways.

  13. Ashley says:

    Is it possible that my mate may have been killed or died before me? Say via abortion? or accident. and I won’t see then until I my self am killed? What if god doesn’t care about me or want me married.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      God does care about you. The issue of getting married in this life is more complicated.

      Yes, it’s quite possible that the person you will be married to in heaven may have died before you. As I said, life is complex, and things don’t always work out as they ideally should—especially here on earth.

      However, I think it’s better to move forward thinking that there may very well be someone for you still living here on earth. That way you won’t cut yourself off from a possible relationship if and when the opportunity presents itself to you. People sometimes get stuck on a theoretical relationship that is never going to happen, and pass by relationships that could happen. On that, see: “What If I’m In Love with Someone I Can’t Have?

      It is also possible that you will get married to someone here on earth that turns out not to be your eternal partner once you move on to the spiritual world. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a bad marriage. Two people who are “near misses” can have a very good married life together here on earth if they feel love and affection for each other, and treat each other with kindness and thoughtfulness.

      I’m not saying you should get married to someone that you don’t think is quite right for you. Rather, I’m saying that there are possibilities for love here on earth even if the person you marry here doesn’t turn out to be your true spiritual partner.

      Mainly, I believe it’s a good idea to keep your mind (and heart) open for whatever possibilities God may have in mind for you.

  14. Ashley says:

    Thank you

  15. Ashley says:

    What happens if your soulmate chooses to go to hell and you don’t?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      That is an excellent question—and one of the reasons I lean toward the idea that there is not one and only one person who could ever be our soulmate, but perhaps several, and that having found a close match, we grow into being one another’s eternal partner.

      In Swedenborg’s writings, there are both statements that say that couples are born for each other and statements that say that couples grow into being one another’s partner the longer they are married. So I have come to believe that God’s providence in providing eternal partners for us is not a simple, mechanical one of designating two people uniquely for one another from birth, but rather a more complex one of ensuring that for each person, there will be a partner who is not only born to be, but develops into that person’s eternal partner.

      If this sounds a little squishy, that’s because I don’t claim to know exactly how God provides an eternal partner for each one of us from among the billions of people on this earth. This is something only the infinite, eternal love and wisdom of God could accomplish. It is beyond our comprehension and our ability.

      But I fall back on the idea that even if someone who might have been our eternal partner chooses hell instead of heaven, God’s plan is not frustrated. God ensures that there is someone else who can be, and become, our eternal partner.

      Marriage, as we know from experience, does not happen on the wedding day. Rather, it is a process in which the two become more and more one as they live together, grow together, and grow closer and closer to one another by living within the sphere of one another’s thoughts, feelings, actions, habits, quirks, and uniqueness. So I believe that God provides eternal partners for us not just by saying “Plunk, plunk, these two babies are born to be each other’s partner,” but rather by continually exercising eternal wisdom in guiding the lives of people throughout their growing up and adult years so that they can become a true, spiritual match for another person, and become eternally married to one another.

      Part of that providence of God is in bringing together people who are both devoted to a spiritual path, and who wish to share that spiritual path with one another.

      So I believe that if one of us is in a relationship here on earth with someone who along the way chooses hell instead of heaven, God will in due time provide another partner who will share our spiritual path and continue to travel that path with us to eternity.

      Does this help?

  16. Ashley says:

    What will our relationship be between Other people that are not our spouse? Something like sibling relationships? Well we be able to spend time with others besides our spouse?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Yes, poetically speaking they will be like sibling relationships, since everyone in heaven looks to God as a common parent. And practically speaking, in heaven our relationships with our friends will be a lot like our relationships with our friends here on earth, only better. For a related article, see: “Can we Keep our Friends in the Afterlife?” In heaven we live in communities in which there are many people we see each day, just like here on earth.

  17. bravegirl72 says:

    I met a man online with whom I have a very strong connection, but he is married. Why we are only friends, I wonder if God ever sends you someone who is married now but might, down the line, not be, and might be yours at some juncture. I feel guilty for thinking this way, but I’ve never had such a strong connection with anyone before. I’ve had good ones, but this is intense. Why I am not an immoral individual, I wonder why I feel this way about him (meaning I would never infringe on his wife’s territory in any way}. Any insights? Thank you.

    • Lee says:

      Hi bravegirl72,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and conundrum. It’s a difficult situation—and one that is, unfortunately, just a little too common.

      The short answer, from my perspective, is that as long as he is married, he’s simply not available.

      If in the future he ever becomes divorced (or, God forbid, his wife dies), then of course he would become available if he is interested in another relationship.

      Meanwhile, the stats are not good on marriages in which one or both partners divorces a previous spouse in order to marry someone else with whom they were having a side romance or an affair. Yes, sometimes such marriages do work. But more often than not they, too, end in divorce. The very fact that someone would be unfaithful to a current spouse suggests that that person is not entirely dedicated to faithfulness in marriage.

      Plus, it’s just not right to break up people’s marriages.

      So my general suggestion and advice for you, to put it in plain language, is: If he’s married, keep your hands off!

      This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut off all contact. But you do have to put out of your mind any romantic or sexual relationship with him. And if you can’t do that, then it would be better for both of you if you did cut off all contact. I know that given your current feelings you may not believe it, but there are other fish in the sea. I speak from experience.

      I could say more, but instead I’ll refer you to an article here that takes up some of these issues, even if the situation of the person it was written in response to is different than yours: “What If I’m In Love with Someone I Can’t Have?” I hope it will be helpful to you. If, after reading it, you have further thoughts or questions, please don’t hesitate to leave another comment there.

  18. John says:

    There is no marriage in heaven period, no relationship like earth, it is far beyond what our earthly minds can comprehend, but for sure there is no need for a spouse.

    So much fallacy in christendom it saddens me. Your spouse helps get you to heaven that is all afterwards it is over.

    • Lee says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. I’m not sure where you get the idea that “there is no marriage in heaven period.” Jesus doesn’t say that. Perhaps you have some other source?

      Meanwhile, Jesus does say that from the beginning God made male and female to become one. Saying there is no marriage in heaven is saying that God does things that are temporary, not eternal—which is contrary to the teaching of the Bible.

      I do agree that there is no marriage relationship in heaven as people have commonly thought of and experienced legal and social marriage here on earth. But in these days when life on earth is moving closer to what life in heaven is like, I do believe that many couples here on earth are now experiencing something of the spiritual marriage relationship that exists in heaven.

  19. shriya says:

    Do we look the same we did as we died, in heaven.

    • Lee says:

      Hi shriya,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and question.

      When we first wake up in the spiritual world, we look the same as we did here. However, over time we may go through changes in appearance.

      First, if we are old when we die, we grow young again. And if we are not yet adults when we die, we grow to young adulthood in body, while continuing to grow in wisdom and love to eternity.

      Second, before long our outward appearance will come to perfectly reflect our inner character. If we have been selfish, greedy, and evil, we will grow ugly and disfigured in a way that reflects our disfigured spirit. But if we have been loving, thoughtful, and kind, then even if we may have had physical disfigurements or a lack of beauty here on earth, we will grow beautiful in appearance to reflect that inner beauty.

      Here are two articles that speak of these things further:

  20. Jude Geffrard says:

    The Bible says that ” What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9). My questions are: How can you know whether God has joined together two people in the institution of marriage? The fact that two people marry, does it mean that God is in that marriage (joins them together)? Paul mentions in 1 Corinthian 6:9 that adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God. To what group of people Paul was referring, was it believers or unbelievers? How can someone who accepted Christ as his or her savior before marriage lose their salvation because of remarriage? I know a couple who are genuine Christians, but both were previously married, divorced and now are remarried. They are serving God and committing to servicing their church. I have no doubt they are not saved because I see fruits of the Spirit of God in their lives. Jesus says the world will know that you are my disciples by the way you love one another. They are christian couples who are struggling living together in marriage. They are not compatible in that relationship, and no matter how hard they try, it doesn’t work. It’s a lot of pains and sufferings. Do you believe that people can wrongly chose their spouse or be seduced by the devil in that way especially if they got hurt in a previous relationship? The devil knows who are vulnerable out there and sends the wrong person in their path to tempt and make them fall. Will God forgive and forget their sins forever (Jeremiah 31) if they remarry?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Jude,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and questions.

      I believe that marriages that God has joined together are ones in which the partners are joined in heart and mind, so that they are inwardly and spiritually one. This may or may not be the case in marriages that a priest or minister joins together. It may or may not be the case in marriages that the state joins together, also known as legal marriages.

      Much of the error in interpreting Jesus’ words about marriage comes, I think, from believing that anything the church does, or even the state does, is something that God does. But priests, ministers, and Justices of the Peace are human beings, and not God. They commonly join together couples whom God has not joined together. And yes, the couples themselves commonly get married, and think they are married, when they have not been married by God.

      I realize this doesn’t answer all of your questions. But that’s enough for now. For more on these things, please read the series of three articles starting with: “Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?

  21. Joe M says:

    This is all interesting. But you cannot answer such a question with literature. All children are children of GOD whether they know it or choose to be. He chooses US and leads US the way He chooses too. Even when we do not comprehend. Marriage between a man and woman is a contract. It is why we remarry. It is why we think about adultery even when we don’t do it. It is ALWAYS in us to betray ourselves and others. We are never married in the permanent sense, except to GOD. I cannot imagine ever being without my wife. And I pray every day that we will always be together. But it isn’t my choice. And I will not pretend to know what will happen. NOBODY KNOWS.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Joe,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.

      However, I think we can know more than what is commonly believed based only on external, sensory experience in this world. Thousands, if not millions of people over the centuries, and especially in recent years, have had direct experience of the spiritual world and come back to report it. The spiritual world is not as unknowable as materialists think. For more on this please see my article, “Where is the Proof of the Afterlife?

      Meanwhile, I wish you and your wife all the best—and I believe that you will always be together.

  22. Foster says:

    Do you know what Swedenborgs views on monasticism were? Will all people that took vows of celibacy have to renounce them. Or are they stuck living with those vows for all eternity if they no longer wish to live that life style?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      Swedenborg saw marriage and active involvement in the business and activities of society as being better spiritually than celibacy and monastic retreat from society. For his general views on celibacy vs. marriage, see Marriage Love #155156.

      About what happens in the afterlife to those who take vows of celibacy, here it is right from the horse’s mouth:

      Those who were confined to monastic institutions in the world, young women as well as men, are, after living the monastic life for some time after death, freed from their vows and allowed out. They then have the freedom to satisfy their longings, whether they want to live in a marriage or not. If they do, they can; if not, they are directed to the unmarried on the edge of heaven. But those inflamed with impermissible lust are cast down.

      The unmarried live on the edge of heaven because the sphere of perpetual celibacy contaminates the sphere of marriage love. The sphere of marriage is the sphere of heaven itself because it comes down from the heavenly marriage of the Lord and the church. (Marriage Love #54)

  23. Foster says:

    I was talking to my priest about this topic (Orthodox Priest). He told me the Orthodox church teaches that marriage continues in heaven. but only if you were married before you die. That view doesn’t make sense to me, what about people that were married more than once? Who would they be married to? He didn’t really have an answer to that question. then I asked him why god wouldn’t continue to join people together in a marriage like relationship in the next age? The only
    answer he gave is that married partners wouldn’t have sex in heaven. I guess implying that all I’m only interested in is just sex?
    (Truth be told though theres no real doctrine about this topic in the Orthodox church.) I told him about Swedenborg and he made a remark about how he couldn’t take his views seriously because of Swedenborg’s mention about aliens and life on other planets, and his heretical views on the Trinity.

    I’m in a crisis of faith, I believe Swedenborgs experences sound believable(and would like to believe them), but the priest in the church I grew up in is saying Swedenborg is a heretic and was unhinged for beleving in alien life, and i shouldn’t believe in his experiences because he was insane.

    Do you think god will send me to hell for cherry picking my beliefs?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      Very interesting what your priest said about people being married in heaven if they were already married here. That goes along with their practice (as I’ve heard) of allowing priests to be married if they were already married before they get ordained, but not to get married once they’re ordained. This puts tremendous pressure on their seminarians to get married before they get ordained.

      Of course, in my view both of these beliefs represent an overly literal and erroneous understanding of Jesus’ words about marriage in the resurrection. As you know, I have written and posted a three-article series on that starting with: “Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?” And incidentally, Mormons have a similar belief about a requirement to get married here on earth if you want to be married in heaven.

      Really, I think it is a cruel belief. It leaves out in the cold everyone who longs for marriage but who, often for reasons beyond their control, were unable to get married here on earth. I don’t think God is that mean!

      I suspect your priest’s answer about why God wouldn’t continue to join people together in marriage in the next age is not because he thinks you’re only interested in sex, but has more to do with a traditional Christian idea that the main purpose of marriage is having children. This commonly leads to the idea that there’s no reason for people to get married in heaven because they don’t have children there anyway, so what’s the point? Apparently the Orthodox believe that those who have already gotten married here, and presumably had children, are grandfathered in.

      Once again, I don’t find this view particularly convincing. While having and raising children certainly is a very good and wonderful thing, and a very important purpose of sex and marriage here on earth, it is far from the only reason for sex and marriage. Marriage is also a spiritual relationship. And sex is a physical expression of the spiritual union of hearts and minds that is the central reality of true marriage.

      Even for those couples who don’t have children, lovemaking is a good and healthy thing with many physical and emotional benefits. And that reflects the reality that marriage love, from the inner union of souls right out to the physical lovemaking, produces spiritual “children” in the form of new love, new understanding, new inspiration, new compassion, and a new dedication to living life for the benefit of other people as God commanded us to do. For this reason, I believe that married couples in heaven continue to make love just as they do here, only it is even better because it is more closely connected with and flowing from their inner union of mind and heart.

      This is getting long, so I’ll respond in a separate comment on the other issues you brought up.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      Of course your Orthodox priest is not going to accept Swedenborg, because Swedenborg rejected some of the most basic doctrines on which traditional Christianity, including the Orthodox Church, is based.

      The key traditional Christian doctrine that Swedenborg rejected is the doctrine of the Trinity of Persons. You’ll have to make up your own mind about that one. Here are some articles that take it up from various angles, from a Swedenborgian perspective:

      About Swedenborg seeing aliens, please see my article: “Aliens vs. Advent: Swedenborg’s 1758 Book on Extraterrestrial Life.” It is true that Swedenborg says that in the spiritual world he saw spirits and angels that came from other planets, including the other then-known planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), and even from Earth’s moon. He thought that the moons of Jupiter and Saturn were inhabited also. All of that, of course, we now know to be impossible. Swedenborg was wrong about there being people on the other planets in our solar system. And I take that up in the linked article.

      But as far as other planets being inhabited, many regular and secular scientists now believe that it’s very likely that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Just in the past decade we’ve discovered thousands of planets orbiting other stars. And while most of them would not be hospitable to life, some of them might be—and there is an intensive search to find ones that could have life on them. So although you could call Swedenborg crazy for saying he met spirits from other planets, science is now honing in on possible other planets where there might be life.

      My own view is that Swedenborg made a mistake in saying that the other planets (and moons) in our solar system are inhabited by intelligent life, but that he was most likely right that there are other planets in the universe that have intelligent beings living on them.

      As for the general charge that Swedenborg was insane, there’s simply no evidence for that. He was a regular in the social circles of Sweden, where he was quite charming, normal, and intelligent. He was, in fact, a rather popular dinner guest. And even after he began exploring the spiritual world he continued to take his seat in the Swedish House of Nobles when he was in Sweden, submitted occasional papers on the political subjects of the day (he was a better writer than he was a public speaker), and showed every sign of being a man very much in control of his faculties.

      Now, if a priest or minister is going to say that Swedenborg was insane just because he saw angels and spirits, then that priest or minister would have to conclude also that most of the major figures in the Bible were insane. Many important people in the Bible—such as Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Joseph, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Peter, and John—saw angels, and had their lives changed by those encounters. Are we going to call them all insane because God sent angels to give them a message? And if not, what basis do we have for saying that Swedenborg was insane simply because he said that God opened his eyes to see angels and spirits so that Swedenborg could deliver a message from God to humanity?

      Of course, once again, you’ll have to make up your own mind about all of this. I can’t tell you what to believe. I can only offer you a different perspective on Christianity as presented in the many articles on this blog. I would encourage you to consider your priest’s words, consider what I have to say here on Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life (I am also an ordained Christian minister), take it to God in prayer, and contemplate what makes the most sense to you, and what you believe to be true about God, spirit, and the Christian life.

      And as always, I’m very happy to answer any further questions you may have.

  24. R. Smity says:

    What if he hadn’t even hit 30… if after a few decades, they start looking… will he not wait for me to get there? I don’t even know if he was saved by God because he wasn’t someone who practised, it’s me who believes… n if he was, i know i can’t join him yet because even if he did get saved, he was such a good person he surely would have gone to heaven, and if i do it myself, as desperately as i want to be with him, i’d go straight to hell and i’d never even get to see him just once more. People always said we had a love stronger than the ones in any fairy tale… n we had only been together for 9 years, married for only 18 months before he was killed in an accident and we had both envisioned staying together until long after we both died… will he still wait for me? Or will he find another that is a good fit before i get there?

    • Lee says:

      Hi R,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s death. It’s one of the most difficult and painful things anyone can go through. But you already know that.

      Now about your questions:

      If the two of you have the sort of deep connection you say, then yes, he will wait for you. When two people are united in spirit, nothing can break that connection. Not even death. Even if you were to go on to marry someone else, if you and your husband had “a love stronger than the ones in any fairy tale” you would return to him after your own death. But of course, I’m not God, and I only know what you’ve told me here, so I can’t say what your future holds.

      As far as whether he was saved, it’s not like what you’ve been told. It’s not just a matter of believing in Jesus. Despite what so many Christians say, that’s simply not what the Bible teaches. Here are a few articles that might help:

      Perhaps the reason he’s gone and you’re still here is that you’ve still got some work to do. But if he is as good a person as you say, then he’ll be waiting for you in heaven.

      And I believe that’s where you’ll go, too, even though you aren’t so sure. For more on that, see: “If You Think You’re Going to Hell, Please Read This First.” You don’t seem to me to be an evil and wicked person. Just one that’s badly hurt and struggling. And you don’t go to hell for that.

      I hope this helps.

  25. Foster Caldaroni says:

    The priest actually told me there will be no sex in heaven. Because it will no longer be needed. I don’t know how he could make a statement like that because there’s no doctrine in the Orthodox Church about this topic. Was Swedenborg just speculating as well or did god communicate this to him?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      Swedenborg stated that due to his calling by the Lord he was able to be fully conscious in the spiritual world and talk to angels and spirits. And he reports having conversations with angels about marriage and sex in heaven. So for him it was not speculation, but based on information given to him by the angels themselves. He also said that the Lord taught him directly on many subjects, though these seem to focus more on Bible interpretation and church doctrine.

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