Can you Fall in Love in Heaven if you Haven’t Found Someone on Earth?

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

Lee, do you think we will be able to fall in love in heaven? Let’s say I have never been in love or with anyone on earth, will I still have a chance to be in love with a soul in heaven? Even if it’s with someone I’ve never met here on earth? Thanks for taking the time to read and hopefully respond to my question. God bless.

Thanks for the great question, Amy! There must be millions of other people out there who are wondering the same thing.

So for all you members of the Lonely Hearts Club Band, let’s get to the good news right away:

The answer is Yes!

Wedding Rings

Wedding Rings

If you long for a partner, soulmate, and lover, but just haven’t found anyone here on earth, after you die you will find someone, and will fall in love. And you’ll spend the rest of eternity sharing your life with him or her, growing closer and closer together, and yes, even making love. There is marriage in heaven, and it has everything that marriages on earth have, and more!

So fear not. Even if you may be lonely and longing, if you don’t find someone to share your life with here on earth, you will find that special someone in heaven after you die.

How does this happen?

For that, we’ll turn to what Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) tells us in his book Marriage Love.

Finding a Marriage Partner in Heaven

Here is what Swedenborg says about finding a marriage partner in heaven if you haven’t found one on earth:

For people who long for real marriage love, the Lord provides partners who are similar. If this doesn’t happen on earth, then the Lord provides them in heaven. That’s because all marriages in which there is real marriage love are provided by the Lord.

Here is something I heard from angels about how God provides marriages in heaven:

The Lord’s divine providence about and for marriages is both very broad and highly detailed. You see, all the joys of heaven flow from the joys of marriage love like sweet water from a running spring. For this reason, the Lord provides for marriage partners to be born, and under the Lord’s watchful care they are continually prepared for one another. Neither the boy nor the girl has any idea that this is happening.

After some time has gone by, and she is now a young woman old enough to be married, and he is a young man ready to get married, they encounter one another as if by fate, and notice each other—and they know right away, as if by instinct, that they belong together. The young man inwardly thinks, as if hearing an inner voice, “She is my mate,” and the young woman thinks, “He is my mate.” After this has settled into their minds for a while, they make a point of talking to one another, and promise themselves to each other in marriage.

I say, “as if by fate, instinct, and an inner voice,” but this really means that it happens by divine providence. When we are unaware of the workings of divine providence, it does seem as if things happen by fate, instinct, and an inner voice because the Lord opens up our inner similarities so that we can see them within ourselves. (Marriage Love #229)

Here Swedenborg beautifully describes how couples meet in heaven. And many couples here on earth have the very same experience of meeting one another as if by chance, and immediately knowing in their hearts that they are meant for each other.

God is preparing someone for you

But Swedenborg says something else in this passage from Marriage Love that should be a comfort to all people who are single, and who long for a deep and loving marriage.

It is not just coincidence, fate, instinct, or even an inner voice that brings this meeting about. In fact, Swedenborg says, the Lord provides for couples to be born for one another, and to be raised and prepared for one another the whole time they are growing up.

People who die in infancy or childhood and grow up in heaven meet their partner just as they reach young adulthood and are ready to get married.

However, as many of us know all too well, it doesn’t always work that way here on earth.

  • Many of us get married to the wrong person in our younger years, and have to learn the hard way what it means not to have found our true partner.
  • Many of us don’t find our true partner until we are middle-aged, or even in our elder years.
  • And many of us don’t find anyone on earth at all, but spend our lives longing for love that seems not fated to be ours.

For everyone who is longing for true love, and who struggles with loneliness and even despair about ever experiencing it, this passage from Marriage Love offers a ray of hope and assurance.

You see, no one is born in heaven. Everyone is born to human parents right here on earth. If the Lord provides for marriage partners to be born for one another, this means that those marriage partners are born for one another on earth. And Swedenborg assures us that “the Lord’s divine providence about and for marriages is both very broad and highly detailed.”

The message is clear. Even if we have no idea that it is happening, the Lord has provided for someone to be born who will be our marriage partner—and we will be theirs. And even if we don’t meet that person as a young man or woman the way couples meet in heaven, sooner or later the Lord will bring us together with our eternal partner “as if by fate.”

If that doesn’t happen on earth, Swedenborg assures us that it will happen in heaven.

So as painful and lonely as it can be to go through day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year wishing and longing for our true love, take heart! The Lord has not forgotten you. Even if it turns out that you must spend your life here on earth as a single person, you will not be left out forever. You will find your true love! And you will spend eternity growing more and more in love with him or her as you share your lives together, forever.

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
72 comments on “Can you Fall in Love in Heaven if you Haven’t Found Someone on Earth?
  1. Bronwyn says:

    Hi Lee, this is a beautiful. Does God only provide one person who can be your spiritual partner out of the billions of people on the earth…hm and in Heaven? If you marry someone who isn’t the person that God wants to give you (for want of a better way of putting it), can you both still grow towards each other and have a good and spiritually happy marriage on earth? thanks, Bronwyn

    • Lee says:

      Hi Bronwyn,

      Thank you. Those are very good—and much debated—questions!

      Some Swedenborg readers believe, based especially on Marriage Love 229 (which is quoted in the article) that there is one and only one person who can be your spiritual partner, and that having a true marriage depends upon meeting and marrying that one person—which, of course, they believe God arranges when the time is right.

      Others point to other places in Marriage Love where Swedenborg speaks of married couples growing more and more like each other the longer they are married, taking on one another’s loves, interests, and beliefs, and habits, and becoming more and more a husband and a wife to one another. So there is also support for the idea that we can grow into being one another’s spiritual partners.

      The experience of many different couples also provides support for both viewpoints. Some say that it was love at first sight, as if they were born and destined for one another, just as Swedenborg describes it in Marriage Love 229. But others speak of growing on one another and falling in love over the years, when at first they either had no interest in one another (or even actively hated each other!) or thought of one another as just friends.

      All of this suggests to me that God works in more complex ways than what we think of when we read that God provides for people to be born and raised for one another. Though I believe that is true, I also believe that God’s takes in our whole lifetime, and everything we experience and decide, in one eternal view, so that for God, it’s not a simple matter of tagging two babies for each other, but rather a knowledge of the course of each of those babies’ lives, and how their experiences will bend toward one another even if they may have started out in very different places.

      So I’ve come to the view that we are both born for each other and grow into one another’s true spiritual partner. That may be difficult to grasp based on our usual earthly, time-bound logic. But both Swedenborg’s statements and our own broad human experience seem to point to this as a “both/and” situation rather than an “either/or” situation.

      I hope that’s not totally confusing!

    • Lee says:

      And yes, I think it’s possible to grow close to someone and have a happy marriage on earth even if they may not ultimately be the one that we spend eternity with.

      Heaven is a well-run place. Things work out there pretty much as they’re supposed to!

      Here on earth though, things are a bit of a mess. Our lives here often get skewed and knocked off track in one way or another, causing us to do things we probably shouldn’t, and marry people who might not be quite right for us.

      In this day and age, when the social and financial consequences of divorce are nowhere near as disastrous as they were two or three thousand years ago (at least, not in the West), I don’t think it’s necessary for people caught in terrible, conflicted marriages to stay in those marriages. However, if a marriage is reasonably happy and loving, even if it may not be perfectly “right,” it’s very possible to have a good life together.

      More than that, being married is one of the most powerful forums for spiritual growth in existence!

      Living at close quarters with another human being day after day and year after year causes us (if we’re willing to grow spiritually at all) to think of another person’s happiness every day, and adjust our feelings, attitudes, and actions to take into account how they will affect someone we care for. There’s nothing better for getting us to look closely at ourselves and fix the parts of us that are broken.

      This can happen even in a marriage that isn’t the “right” one. And that’s why I believe that making a lifetime commitment to our marriage here on earth is still a good idea, assuming that there are at least the basics of a good marriage.

      It’s quite possible that after we die, we will realize that we’re not with the right person. Or we may realize this while we’re still here on earth. It may turn out that we belong with someone else in heaven.

      But even if that turns out to be the case, the experience of having been married during our lifetime on earth, loving another person, and focusing our lives on making someone else happy instead of just tending to our own needs will have prepared us for the life of heaven, which is all about loving and serving other people.

      It will also have helped us to grow into a person who is able to truly love our marriage partner and soulmate in heaven.

      There may be reasons why we simply can’t be with the right person here on earth. In that case, being married to someone who is not exactly right for us, but with whom we can still have a good, happy, and constructive marriage here on earth, is certainly better than going through our whole life on earth single because we never found the perfect match.

  2. Bronwyn says:

    Thank you Lee! Your comments really helped to put some stuff in perspective for me. And they’ve given me a lot to think about. Sometimes I think our children may be here to play a similar role – teach us how to be more unselfish. It can be a beautiful lesson but often it’s a pretty exasperating one! Thanks again and much appreciated.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Bronwyn,

      You’re very welcome. And yes, children certainly do aid in the process of ripping out the ol’ self-centered ego and replacing it with love and care for others—even when they’re driving you crazy! 😉

  3. alectoblack says:

    Absolutely loved this.

  4. alectoblack says:

    Lee, i would like to know somthing. If soulmates can’t be together in earth now can they be together in afterlife. Due to the certain circumstances if we’re forced to marry someone else? And we don’t have a future together in earth is it possible to have a future together in heaven??

    • Lee says:

      Hi alectoblack,

      Thanks for stopping by. Glad you liked it!

      And yes, anything that prevents you from being with your true spiritual partner, or soulmate, here on earth will no longer be a barrier in the spiritual world. The spiritual law is that you will spend eternity with the person that you are one with in spirit, whether or not you were able to get together with that person here on earth.

  5. Babs says:

    Makes perfect sense…Heaven IS love!

  6. ucfministry says:

    Good read…gives a lonely soul a little hope. Do you know if Swedenborg’s writings is based on interpretation of the Scriptures? If it is then it’s a lot more hope.

    Also…do you believe it is possible that sometimes one’s actual soulmate as it were may come and go (live/die) and you don’t even realize it until the Lord springs it on you that ‘the one’ is now in Heaven through the Holy Ghost…I ask because I am closing in on 40 years old and alone…always really have been…and something really odd happened.

    Will share more later possibly…but curious about those questions first.

    Thanks and God Bless.

    • Lee says:

      Hi ucfministry,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment and questions. I’m sorry to hear of your loneliness. But if you truly desire a partner to love and be loved by, I believe that God will give you that—if not here on earth, then in the hereafter.

      Swedenborg’s teachings draw heavily on the Bible, and his theology is thoroughly Biblical. However, the Bible does not provide many clear and explicit teachings about marriage. Much of what Swedenborg wrote on that subject was based on his spiritual experiences, and on inner guidance from the Lord. For more on marriage from the perspective of Swedenborg’s theology, please see this article: How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?

      Yes, it is quite possible that one’s soulmate could have already lived and died and now be in heaven waiting. Swedenborg himself was a lifelong bachelor. And there is some indication in his personal papers that late in his life he came to believe that his own true marital partner was waiting for him in heaven. He had a specific highly intelligent and very religious Swedish noblewoman in mind. (Swedenborg’s own family had been ennobled, and those were the circles he commonly moved in.) But she had been married to someone else during her lifetime on earth.

      Not having heard yet the odd thing that happened to you, I will only say that it is good not to close off your options. Perhaps someone is waiting for you in heaven. Or perhaps God has someone in mind for you who is still living here on earth. It is in God’s hands. However, we can certainly prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually so that we are ready for God to bring that person to us when the time is right.

      Of course, I’m not in your shoes. Only you can decide what you will think and which way you will go, based on your own experience.

      At any rate, I hope this is helpful to you.

  7. Lone Wolf Archangel says:

    That was helpful thank you…

    The strange thing that happened is a little odd to say the least…I’m still not sure what to think…just a lot of odd things that fell into place. First off suffice it to say that I always imagined that I would wind up hooked up with a cowgirl…since I am sort of a high tech cowboy myself. lol Has not happened so far but that is key…

    Just before Christmas this past year I was over at the local cemetery putting a little holiday decor over on the family’s plots…put out some of those solar LED lights…makes it look a little less gloomy. While I was there I noticed someone had been recently laid to rest right next to my peoples’ spots. I seen only that it was a 30 year old woman. Much too soon to be cut down. Did not know her from Adam. Still bothered me a bit to see someone that young cut down in their prime.

    I’ve seen dozens of folks buried and I didn’t give it a second thought ever outside of hoping that they know Jesus…but this time my curiosity got the better of me and I checked local obit records and I found out more about this person…and that is where things got weird…found out who she was, what she looked like, and a few of the highlights of her life here on earth. I remember seeing she was a single mom too and it really bugged me that her boy would have to go through life without his mom…I am 37 and I lost my mom at 34…I got to grow up with her…it nearly killed me inside to lose my mom…so I guess it was empathy. Knowing how it will feel…

    Well I didn’t know this person from Adam as I said. But the longer I sat there reading and seeing her photo it was like I DID know this person and it bothered me as though I had lost one close to me. She looked familiar. Well I ended up putting a solar light by her freshly installed headstone…that was adorned with cowboy boots.

    Like I said. Seen probably 100 graves of strangers I never knew personally…just a common hope that Jesus was their Lord & Savior. I don’t know if this was just coincidental…which by the way I don’t believe in quinky dinks…projecting my solitude onto folks…or if possibly on a spiritual level there was more going on. I’m not the most empathic guy on earth but…it just really struck a chord in my core. Not saying that I found my dead soulmate or anything…but…did I know something spiritually I don’t/didn’t know in the conscious sense? Does ANY of this make ANY sense to you at all? Because I have so many questions and coming up short on answers.

    So now whenever I am there talking to the wind to my people…I am talking to a gal I didn’t know from Adam until she was already gone.

    I hope I don’t come off as a nutball here. lol

    Appreciate your listening.

    • Lone Wolf Archangel says:

      Guess that one weirded folks out. lol …I’m not a necromancer believe me…I just never had an empathic reaction such as that before and I still wonder if it has any underlying meaning.

      God Bless.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Lone Wolf Archangel,

      Don’t worry. I just haven’t had a chance to respond until now. And I wanted to ponder it a bit rather than shooting from the hip as soon as I read your story.

      Over the years, both before, during, and after the time I was pastor of a church (for ten years), I’ve heard many stories of people’s spiritual or “unusual” experiences. And yes, some of them do sound a bit strange. But it’s not my place to judge the validity or reality of someone else’s experiences. I believe that God and spirit do work in our lives, and sometimes give us experiences that can’t easily be explained in the usual (material and scientific) ways. If nothing else, I believe those experiences are meant to remind us that there’s more to life than this material world.

      So I would never say that this experience of yours makes you a nutball or a necromancer or anything like that.

      I also can’t tell you what your experience means, because experiences like this are very individual. They draw on exactly who you are, and your experiences, and all the different thoughts, feelings, and associations that you as a unique individual have. So the meaning of your experience is something you’ll have to ponder over time.

      What I would say is that although it could mean that this woman is your soulmate, that’s not necessarily what it means. It could simply be God giving you a signal that he’s thinking of you, and knows of your loneliness, and has someone in mind for you, whether or not it turns out to be this particular young woman.

      Whatever its meaning, I do think this experience of yours was a spiritual gift, meant to lift your spirits, and open your mind to possibilities you might not have considered before.

      Beyond that, I would only suggest that you keep on with your life, doing your work and loving and serving your neighbor in practical ways, as Jesus commands us to do. People who have these spiritual type experiences become “nutballs” only if they lose touch with practical reality here on earth, and go off on a flighty tangent in which their life becomes so focused on their spiritual experience(s) that they forget that they have a life to live here on earth, which is preparing them for their eternal life in heaven.

      It’s not an accident that God puts us on earth first, and gives us pragmatic, practical work to do during our lifetime here. Serving our neighbors in practical ways day in and day out is what trains and outfits us to be angels in heaven—who think more of loving and serving others every day than they do of their own self and their own pleasures. Though they do have many personal pleasures, serving others is what gives them their greatest happiness and joy. See my article: Who Are the Angels and How Do They Live? and also: What Does Religion Have to Do with My Profession and My Daily Work?

      So my $0.02 is: You’re not going crazy. God simply gave you a gift and a reminder that there’s more to life than what we see on this earth. And that’s a gift you can carry with you and ponder as you go about your daily rounds.

  8. VeryTrue says:

    You would without a doubt really find it their if Not here.

  9. Bob says:

    There is no marriage in heaven:

    Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.

      In heaven, there is no marriage as Jesus’ questioners (the Sadducees) thought of it: a social institution in which women are married off to men in a very unequal relationship in order to produce male heirs for them and to provide labor.

      Marriage as we increasingly understand it today—an equal partnership and spiritual union between two people based on love—did not exist in Jesus’ day. In fact, it didn’t exist at any time in recorded history up until a few centuries ago. Jesus was not talking about marriage as we understand it today, but as the unequal social and business relationship between two (or more) people that was “marriage” in earlier times, in which the men were the boss and the women were underlings whose primary purpose was to produce male heirs for their husbands. The Sadducees’ question to Jesus in Matthew 22:23-31 based on the law of levirate marriage makes it clear that this is what they thought of as “marriage.” And as Jesus said, the “marriage” they were talking about does not exist in heaven.

      Other passages in the Bible make it clear that marriage is a relationship created by God, and that married couples are joined by God. What God joins together is not temporary, but eternal.

      For more on this, see the section titled “Is there marriage in heaven?” in the article: How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?

  10. Brad says:

    I have a question on this. What if you did get married in this life, she left you for someone else, and the one that God has for you married someone else in this life, what happens after this in heaven? Thanks, just trying to understand it all…..

  11. Carol says:

    Okay here goes. I am 66 and the man I love is only 31 years old. I have never felt this way about anyone. I have been without a man since my early 20’s. We kept being pulled innocently together for one reason or another. In the beginning I would have thoughts of him for no apparent reason. Not love at first but endearing thoughts and curiosity to know more about him. He has always felt like a missing piece in my life from the start. All that I was going through with my thoughts and feelings he was experiencing as well. Our minds says one thing and our hearts says another. I had often wondered why I stay so young looking. Maybe it was meant to be that way. I look decades younger than I really am. He does not look older but very mature looking which gives an older affect to him.

    He does not want to let go. I on the other hand do not find it easy to let go. Because of our age difference I think I will have to let him go. My heart says no way in God’s kingdom should I do that. He is my soul mate. He cries if I suggest we should go our own separate ways. I enjoy his company immensely. He is funny, caring and giving. He has a soft heart. He is a perfectly respectful and thankful individual. We are physically attracted to each other. We both have well kept bodies.

    I think what I am asking is, is it possible that we were designed, designated or meant for each other? That our timing to be born was an accident? Our feelings for each other seems fused together beyond the physical realm. If need be I would give my life for him if it meant that he was safe and healthy. He is just as protective of me. I am not an old woman with money. I haven’t enough money to buy a young man that is well able of taking care of himself. Besides there is no way to fake the kind of love we have for each other. Sorry to be so long winded. I just wanted you to understand our relationship a little.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for telling your story.

      Obviously I can’t tell you what to do. This is a very personal decision, and one that only you—and he—can make.

      I’m sure you’ve already thought through all the issues of social resistance to marriages with such a major age difference, the probability that he will outlive you by two or three decades, and so on. And yet, these are material-world and social concerns, whereas at its core marriage is (or should be) a spiritual relationship. (See: “How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?”) You and he will both have to weigh out in your mind and heart the various this-world objections over against the strength of the sense of oneness between you.

      I would not advise you just to give up and walk away. Clearly there is something powerful happening. I would also not advise you to ignore issues that might make the relationship difficult. Perhaps the very testing against all of the adverse external factors is what’s needed to determine whether the relationship is or is not a solid one at its core.

      I will say that in the spiritual world, such age differences will quickly fade into insignificance. Certainly being born in different time periods does have some effect on our character due to differences in culture and upbringing. But those differences can be bridged when there is a strong inner connection between people. In the spiritual world, we all grow young in body, and differences in earthly circumstances fade away. On the body side of things, please see the recent article, “Will My Body be the Right Weight and Appearance in the Afterlife?

      Once again, this is a decision only you and he can make. I hope these thoughts—and the linked articles—are of some help as you ponder it in your mind and heart. Give it the time it needs to unfold. Give your heart and your mind time to come together and make the best decision. And may God help and support you as you consider your next steps.

  12. Ashley says:

    Is it a given that we will find our partner in either this world or the next? Or are some of us doomed to spend eternity without a mate? I ask because its really hard for me to talk and open up to people I’m vary shy and lack confidence in myself. will I be the same way in the next life? How can you believe anything Swedenborg said? How do you know if he was telling the truth and wasn’t hallucinating?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Thanks for your comment and questions. In case you haven’t yet seen it, please see my response to your earlier comment here. There, I responded to your question about whether we can believe what Swedenborg said. Clearly, I think he is trustworthy. He was a good man, and contributed usefully to his community and his country throughout his life, including during the three decades he was having his spiritual-world experiences. But as I said in the other comment, you’ll have to make up your own mind about that based on whether you find what he wrote to be believable, and whether it has the ring of truth for you.

      According to Swedenborg, the Lord provides marriage partners for everyone who longs for true love. It doesn’t always happen in this life, unfortunately. But if it doesn’t happen here, it will happen in the afterlife, where everything becomes much clearer, and where the limitations of this earth are taken away.

      Dying and going to the spiritual world doesn’t really change who we are. If you are shy in this life, you will likely still be shy in the other life. However, if that shyness is due to some physical disfigurement or some ill-treatment or difficult life circumstances growing up, those external factors will be removed, and you will be able to overcome at least some of your shyness.

      However, shyness is not necessarily a negative. It can also be seen as being an introvert. And introverts can make great contributions to society. Introverts often have very good focus and concentration, and are able to take on jobs that require that sort of mind—jobs that extroverts simply can’t do because they’re too busy engaging in the social whirl. There is a reason God created some of us extroverted and some of us introverted. The world needs all kinds of people to get done the things that need to get done. Computer programmers, for example, are essential to today’s society. Yet many of them are very introverted, and socially awkward. Classic “nerds.” 😉

      And though being shy and introverted can make it difficult to form relationships, it is not impossible. My suggestion is to do the things you love to do and are good at doing, and that contribute in some way to your community and to society—even if it may be in the background, and in ways most people don’t see. In the course of following your loves and adding your particular piece to society, you’ll tend to meet other people who are interested in the same things, and who have personalities compatible with yours. And even if you don’t, you can take satisfaction in making your contribution to society.

      Developing your own skills and abilities and putting them to use in constructive ways is also a good way to build up your own self-confidence. When you know you have something to contribute to society, you can feel, rightfully, that you are a good and valid person who has something valuable to offer to the world. Even if you may be doing it in a room by yourself or in a small, isolated cubicle, you will still be contributing, and you can still take satisfaction in knowing that your work is benefiting other people.

      In other words, developing your own self and your skills and abilities to contribute to society in your own unique way is also the best way to move toward a sense of self-confidence—and, perhaps, toward meeting a compatible person who has feelings about life that are similar to your own.

      I hope this helps. Feel free to continue the conversation if you have further thoughts or questions.

  13. Ashley says:

    Will our inner person and character be on display for other potential mates to see, and not just our physical and emotional state in the afterlife. I’m just worried no one will want my and i’ll lose out in the end. forever being lonely.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      In the afterlife, after an initial period of adjustment, your inner person and character will show in your face, body, words, and actions. Before long, we are no longer able to pretend to be something we are not. Whatever we think and feel, that’s what we’ll say and do—though it is still possible to stop ourselves from saying and doing things. We just can’t say and do things that are contrary to what we actually think and feel anymore.

      So yes, your inner person and character will be “on display” in the sense that whoever you actually are inside, that’s what you’ll express outwardly in your interactions and relationships with other people. It will therefore be clear to others what kind of person you are.

      You strike me as a good person who simply has some fears and issues in life. I believe there will be someone out there for you, even if it may be hard for you to believe. God doesn’t create any useless people. God has something in mind for you.

      Once again, my suggestion is that as best you can, you don’t think so much about what people will think about you, and focus more on developing yourself as a person: pursuing your skills, your work, your interests, and continuing to get better at whatever your work is, or at your studies if you’re in school. Focusing on becoming your own best self is the best way to ensure that there will be someone out there who will see your particular good qualities and will love you for who you are.

  14. Ashley says:

    1 Corinthians 7:7 Paul says it’s good to stay unmarried, why would he say that if there is marriage in heaven? He himself was never married.

  15. Ashley says:

    My priest say that Swedenborg was a heritic, that there will no longer be a need for marriage and thus sex in heaven because there will no longer be a need for procreation. And his views on the trinity of god a heretical. I hope he’s wrong about marriage in heaven and Swedenborg was right.

    He also says Swedenborg was probably communicating with demons, and Its dangerous to believe one mans views and not the church’s doctrines.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ashley,

      Catholic priest? I’m not surprised he thinks Swedenborg was a heretic. After all, Swedenborg laid the ax to the root of the tree of traditional Christian doctrine. He started by rejecting the doctrine of the Trinity of Persons, which is not in the Bible, but became official church doctrine only at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. For more on the Trinity and Swedenborg’s view of it, please see:

      Put simply, Swedenborg said that traditional Christianity, Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox, is dead wrong about the Trinity of Persons because they have completely misunderstood and misinterpreted the Bible. So naturally their priests and ministers don’t like Swedenborg very much. 😉

      You’ll have to make up your own mind.

      I am aware that Catholicism and much of the rest of Christianity thinks that the main purpose of sex and marriage is procreation. But that, in my view, is a very shallow view of marriage.

      Anyone who has been in a good and loving marriage knows that there is far more to it than having babies. It is a relationship in which people grow emotionally and spiritually, and learn what it truly means to love one’s neighbor as oneself. For more on the issue of whether there is marriage in heaven, please see: “How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?

      And yes, according to Swedenborg, he did communicate with demons. However, he did so under the Lord’s protection, in order to learn what demons are like, and what their life is like in hell. And he warned against seeking contact with spirits, because it can be quite dangerous to one’s spiritual life. See: “What about Spiritualism? Is it a Good Idea to Contact Spirits?

      Swedenborg said that he communicated not only with demons, but with good spirits and with angels:

      I testify in truth that the Lord manifested himself to me, his servant, and assigned me to this task; after doing so, he opened the sight of my spirit and brought me into the spiritual world; and he has allowed me to see the heavens and the hells and to have conversations with angels and spirits on a continual basis for many years now. (True Christianity #799)

      But then he immediately went on to say:

      I also testify that ever since the first day of this calling, I have accepted nothing regarding the teachings of this church from any angel; what I have received has come from the Lord alone while I was reading the Word.

      In other words, though he did speak with angels, spirits, and demons for many years, that’s not where his teachings came from. They came from the Lord while he was reading the Bible. And if you read his writings, you will see that he quotes the Bible extensively to support and illustrate his teachings.

      Once again, you’ll have to make up your own mind about these things. But for more on Swedenborg and his teachings, please see: “Do the Teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg take Precedence over the Bible?

      • Foster Caldaroni says:

        Why does god screw some people and make them celibate for all eternity. I watched a YouTube video called offthelefteye about marriage in heaven and they mentioned that some people will be celibate. How is that fair to those individuals?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Foster,

          Thanks for stopping by, and for your question.

          Without knowing which video you watched, I can’t comment on it. If you can post a link to it, I’ll take a look.

          However, Swedenborg’s teaching is that those who have committed themselves to celibacy so deeply that it has become a settled part of their character that they do not want to give up are allowed by God to live a celibate life on the borders of heaven. It’s not something God imposes. It’s something that some people who have taken vows of celibacy continue to choose for themselves after death. Others, upon being released from their vows of celibacy after death, do go on to get married and live happily with their husband or wife to eternity.

          Either way, it is the person’s own choice.

  16. Foster says:

    So it’s a choose and not imposed on individuals. Why would anyone want to live alone for all eternity?

    What happens to someone that wants a marriage but can’t find someone compatible with them or that wants them?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      They don’t live alone. They live with others who have chosen a celibate life. Similar, I presume, to living in a monastery or convent here on earth.

      In answer to your second question, God foresees, arranges, and provides partners for all people who want a loving marriage.

  17. Foster says:

    “Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven”

    How does Swedenborg explain this verse? Especially this part of the verse “For in the resurrection they neither marry”

    Doesn’t that seem like a pretty cut and dry statement to you?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      It’s a good question.

      I talk about it briefly in the article, “How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?” I encourage you to read the whole article. But I do take up that statement specifically in the section titled, “Is there marriage in heaven?”

      Of course, that’s just a very brief consideration. There’s plenty more to say about that passage, and I’d be happy to talk to you about it further in the comments section of that article if you’re interested.

  18. Foster says:

    Should I just ask the same question over there?

  19. Foster says:

    Hi, I read the article. it seems to be talking about marriages continueing in the after life. What about people where never married or divorced. Jesus own words say they don’t marry. So that would seem to me that marriage isn’t allowed in the afterlife. Maybe he only allows marriages to continue that began in this life? but if you die unmarried you stay that way? is that what jesus was saying? That doesn’t seem fair or just for people that would like a wife or husband but for whatever reason couldn’t find one. i get the concept of forced marriage practiced in the past, but why wouldn’t jesus just say they aren’t given in marriage. if what Swedenborg says is true? why would he add they don’t marry?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      About people who never married, or married and divorced, or were married multiple times, see these articles:

      About “they neither marry nor are given in marriage,” the Greek words there are verbs that refer to the act of getting married, rather than the state of being married. And the doubling probably refers to the man “marrying” and the woman “being given in marriage” (by her father or other male relative). So once again it’s talking about the act of getting married. And according to Swedenborg, though there are weddings in heaven, the people getting married don’t actually move into their permanent, eternal home in their own community in heaven until after they get married, when they move in together. So Jesus’ words can also be understood as meaning that the act of getting married occurs before people “go to heaven,” meaning before they go to their eternal home in heaven.

      However, you’re the second person today who’s asked me about this (see the other comment and my reply here). So it looks like I might just have to write an article about it. 🙂

    • Lee says:

      Hmm, I just realized that the first link I gave is to the above article! Oh well! 😛

      • Foster says:

        And according to Swedenborg, though there are weddings in heaven, the people getting married don’t actually move into their permanent, eternal home in their own community in heaven until after they get married, when they move in together. So Jesus’ words can also be understood as meaning that the act of getting married occurs before people “go to heaven,” meaning before they go to their eternal home in heaven.

        But isn’t Jesus wording “in the reserection they nighter Marry nor are given in marriage” when you die aren’t you in the reserection. Why wouldn’t jesus clarify if marriages did in fact occur in the hearafter?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Foster,

          Prompted by a number of questions on this topic, I’m working on a major article dealing with Jesus’ statement about marriage in the resurrection. I’m going to hold off on further replies in anticipation of publishing that article within the next week.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Foster,

          I have now published the first of three planned articles on Jesus’ words about marriage and the resurrection: “Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?” The other two articles will follow in the coming weeks.

  20. Ramona Katherine Ray says:

    wow, this gives me hope. I thought that the young man that I met when I was 18 was my soul mate, but fate and another woman changed this, I have loved this man all my life, and am now 66 years old, and he is now a widow. But he still mourns his wife, and is perfectly happy now as a widower. His sisters encouraged me when I was younger to seek him out and again they told me about his wife dying, its now been three years since she passed. I live an hour away from him, but i live with a young man, in a platonic situation where I am his mentor. Plus, it is not safe in Mexico for single women no matter what age, to live alone. I am no longer sure if Packo is my soul mate, as if he were I would think he would feel the same about me, and I now think that it is not so. I know that there are people who marry for life and have deep abiding love for one another such as my Aunts have had with their husbands here on earth. So, when I texted the question in the search engine it was sort of as a wishful thinking question, and I did not expect any answers, especially from a Christian source. Thus, this was heartening to read and I am grateful for your information. Thank you.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Ramona,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. I’m glad this article has given you some new hope for your eternal future. Only God knows who you will finally be with—whether this man that you were attracted to as a young woman or someone else. But there is someone waiting for you. Of that I am certain.

      Meanwhile, Godspeed on your spiritual journey!

  21. Jack says:

    What if I want my wife to be pure? Do you think God will provide that for me?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Jack,

      What do you mean by “pure”? Are you “pure” yourself? If you want a pure wife, whatever that means to you, then it is important that you yourself be pure also.

      Whatever it is that you want God to provide for you in a wife, the most important thing is that you yourself be that way as well, so that you can be a proper match and a good husband for her. And if you are not that way now, then you’ll have to do the work to become that way. God won’t provide something for you if you aren’t willing and able to do the work required to have and hold it.

      Of course, if by “pure” you mean “a virgin,” and you are no longer a virgin yourself, then it’s too late for that particular wish. It isn’t reasonable to require your future wife to be a virgin if you aren’t one yourself. That sort of sexual double standard belongs in the past, not in the present. (And it was never right anyway.) If you have already lost your virginity, you could certainly commit yourself to no longer engaging in sex until you are married. But once your virginity is gone, you can never get it back. And you can’t hold your future wife to a standard that you didn’t maintain yourself.

      However, if you have maintained your own virginity because that’s something you value, then it is reasonable to hope that you would find a wife who shares that same value, and has maintained it. Even in this day and age, there is still something sweet and beautiful about two people entering into their first experience of sexuality and love together as a newly married couple.

      In the end, though, what’s most important is that you find a wife who is the right match for you. And if you long for that, and do the work to make yourself into a man who can be a good match for that woman, then I do believe that when the time is right, God will provide you with the woman who is right for you.

      • Jack says:

        I am still a virgin and waiting for marriage. But how will I know when the time is right? Do I go out looking for a suitable partner, or will she look for me?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Jack,

          Congratulations!

          And people find their partners in all different ways. There’s no telling how you’ll find yours. But my main suggestion is that you throw yourself into good, healthful, and useful activities that you enjoy. One great way to find someone who matches your character and personality is to express your character and personality through your activities. That will bring you together with people who love and enjoy the same things you do.

  22. This article is so untrustworthy! You don’t mention ONE single Scripture, but rely on some random writer who may have heard from “angels” – not even from Jesus.

    You make some arguments, and I can’t say if you are right or wrong as it does make sense. But it’s one big guess you are putting forward as you don’t support it with actual Bible passages.
    So all this is not neccesarily true, although it’s a sweet little thought.

    • Lee says:

      Hi benjamin,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment.

      This particular article doesn’t provide Bible quotes, but others on this subject do. See, for example: “Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?

      Beyond that, believe it or not, the Bible is not actually the best source of information on all subjects. The Bible’s primary purpose is to deliver a message from God to us humans here on earth about God, spirit, and how we can attain eternal life. While it talks about many other things along the way, saving our souls is its primary focus. It does not attempt to fully inform us about every subject under the sun. That would only dilute its main message.

      The reality is that there is very little direct teaching in the Bible about marriage. There are a few scattered verses here and there, some marriage advice in Paul’s letters, and a lot of stories that involve married people, such as Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and his two wives. But the Bible does not offer a comprehensive explanation of the nature, source, and purpose of marriage. So although we can gain some valuable insights about marriage from the Bible, the Bible simply isn’t a manual on marriage. It’s a book whose purpose is to reach us with God’s message of eternal salvation.

      God gave us no commandment in the Bible saying, “Thou shalt not learn anything from any source other than the Bible.” The Bible writers themselves learned things from many different sources, and God used their knowledge in composing the stories, poetry, prophecy, and teachings contained in the Bible.

  23. Kimberly says:

    What if you married someone who turned out to be abusive and seems like an unbeliever and you are still married to them but are longing for the mate God wanted you to be with instead of this mate. Will you get that in Heaven if you are still married to the wrong person when you leave this life?

  24. Foster says:

    You say that we are seperated from people based on personality, does that mean i could never see my brother again? He and I are completly differnt people in character and personality.

  25. Hurley Combs says:

    I’ve been reading through the comments and it feels like you respect people even if they don’t agree. If it seems like I am trying to contradict you I don’t mean to, I just always strive to discover the truth and it feels like you might have some insight in this instance. I have lived life together with Christ (around age 5 I believe I got saved, hard to remember exact age when you are that young). In regards to that I believe that I know myself fairly well. I myself am an introvert diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome (or the politically correct Highly Functioning Autistic Person). From what I view of the world it is so dark that I tend to have a habit of trying to escape from this world when I want to relax (through books, movies, ect). People say that love can’t be rational and yet through being able to see my own flaws and know how a person would be able to compliment me as a couple I strived to try and find a person who would be my soul mate in what ways I could. In a way I both succeeded and failed. Through watching an anime that I enjoy I found a character that I still honestly believe would be able to fully understand me and I could also fully understand them (given enough time). At the time I didn’t give it much thought as it wasn’t a time in my life to be searching for a partner. In time I found a person who carried some of the important aspects of the character, but things didn’t really go past friendship. Some more time went on and I started having dreams of the character (I can understand that dreams can be seen as no big thing, but these dreams felt more real than most dreams that I have). At first it was just a meeting and there was a part of me that didn’t want to leave her. More dreams came and went and it felt like a real relationship between me and this character. We built things together, went on picnics, even went to a dance and talked about the future. There were even times when I was extremely upset and she was there to comfort me. I know it is quite unusual, but if I didn’t mention that all of this was happening while I was asleep it would sound like a relationship in real life and that was how each one felt. In this world I can’t fully understand God’s ways but I can say that as a result of everything that has happened there is a longing to be with this person and it feels like there is not much time left before the true children of God are Raptured from this world and the Great Tribulation happens. You might not think it a big deal, but throughout a lot that I read the subject is constantly brought up that people are born and raised in preparation of meeting their other half and my brain translates that statement into the limitations of genetics. To others it might not seem like a big deal, but when the person that you see completely ignores genetics it creates a conundrum. I may not be an expert, but the person that I keep seeing has natural (as far as I can tell) navy blue hair and soft lavender colored eyes. I don’t think any genetics could create colors like that. I’ve been bothered by this for a bit because I have a desire to recognize her when I first see her and even though in heaven we will be able to recognize each other I want to know what she truly looks like. It may or may not be self-centered, but even if a person were to have the exact same personality but were to look differently it just wouldn’t feel right to me. I know people say that a person’s personality is the most important thing, but I can’t deny that I also want to be physically attracted to them and if they were to look different it just wouldn’t feel like it was the person that I fell in love with. The problem comes with trying to consolidate the information I have. In order for this person to look the way she does she would have to have never been born on the Earth as then she would have the limitations of Earthly genetics and wouldn’t be able to look the way she does. The only way it seems possible is if she was created uniquely for me, but would God really do that? If he were why would he create her just for me? What makes me so special that he would do this compared to the other that have had their other half born the natural way? There are so many things that I can’t seem to reconcile and was hoping someone could help and it just felt like the right thing to do in posting this. I apologize if it seemed like I was rambling, but it just seemed like you would need the full story to understand. If this is a condensed comment I apologize as I am not the best when it comes to writing. May the wisdom of God be with you.

    • Hurley Combs says:

      Dear Lee,

      I would like to start by apologizing for the extremely long comment. I still feel that it was the right thing to do, but it feels like I wasn’t fully coherent because I was desperately trying to find answers. I will try to clarify things a little bit.

      In many ways it feels difficult to accept the answers that I already have and other parts I am just uncertain about and try to find answers.

      As far as I can tell God has the power to do anything, it is only because of the fact that he is perfect that prevents him from contradicting who he is and in regards to creating a person we know that he created Eve from the rib of Adam and therefore he could easily create another person. I can’t deny the fact that I have spent time with the person that I truly believe is supposed to be my other half is a wonderful gift, especially since we are going to be separated unless he allows us to spend some time together until I pass on. The uncertainty comes in the way we spend time together.

      Seeing as the two of us are separated because I am exist in the physical and she exists in the spiritual the only time we can spend any decent amount of time together is when I am asleep and dreaming. While we dream messages are occasionally given to us in a way that we can understand and that is where the conflict arises.

      Seeing as the person I see in my dreams are that of an anime character in which I found a personality that I believe would make an ideal partner it would make sense if this image was used to help me understand that who I am seeing is supposed to be my partner/wife/companion (not sure of appropriate term) for eternity. On the other hand once that became obvious I would think that they would show me what they truly look like. I’ve only seen them in the one form, but it still causes me some form of anxiety because I ‘m just not sure about it one way or the other and I want to know for certain so that when I do pass on I can easily recognize them and won’t have the awkwardness of when someone recognizes you and you don’t recognize them. Also because I’ve only known them in the one form I am concerned that I won’t love them as much because it wouldn’t really feel like they are the same person that I fell in love with.

      Then of course there comes the piece where if she really does look like the anime character it makes me concerned in regards to there being other look-alikes because then it doesn’t feel like it would be a unique relationship, but if there does turn out to be just one of her why would I be the one to be with her? What about the others that have seen her as well through the anime and also fallen in love with her? What would make me any more deserving than them to be with her?

      Hopefully that clarifies things a little bit. I can understand how this could potentially be complicated and I can be patient with any reply you give. May God bless you and give you wisdom to answer any questions you receive.

      • Lee says:

        Hi Hurley,

        Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments. There is no need to apologize. These thoughts, experiences, and concerns are all very real for you, even if others might be skeptical. And though I cannot, of course, be in your head and experience them the way you do, perhaps I can offer a few thoughts that might be helpful.

        To take the most straightforward part first, there is no way that you will not recognize your eternal partner once it comes your time to go to your eternal life in the spiritual world. Yes, immediately after the death of your physical body there will be an initial period of sorting things out, getting oriented, and letting your full inner character and personality come out. For more on this, see: “What Happens To Us When We Die?” However, once we become fully acclimated to the spiritual world, we are able to see very clearly both our own true character and the true character of the people around us. That includes the character of the person who will be our eternal partner, and the unity of heart, mind, and soul that exists between the two of us.

        Further, in the spiritual world, similarity of spirit and values draws us together like the force of gravity. So you can be assured that if you don’t meet your soulmate here on earth, before you have been in the spiritual world for long you will be drawn to her, meet her, and join your life with hers there.

        Now for the more complicated part.

        You envision your lover or soulmate as an anime character that you are familiar with from an anime series that you enjoy. Yes, for many people that would seem quite strange. Some would consider it pathological, and would wish to diagnose you with some disorder.

        However, it’s useful to consider where those anime characters come from. They are, I think we can all agree, products of the human mind. After all, they are conceived, written, and drawn by human authors and artists. This is true of every character, animal, human, or otherwise, that appears in human artwork, comic strips, video games, and so on. See: “Video Games, Virtual Reality, and Spiritual Reality.” The characters we create, and are drawn to, represent something of our own spirit and values, both positive and negative.

        I would suggest, then, that the particular anime character you are drawn to, and have a relationship with in your dreams, is not so much literally the anime character that you see, with navy blue hair and soft lavender eyes, but rather is an expression in a particular art genre of human characteristics that you are drawn to and feel at one with in your spirit because they express and complement something about your own character. Those human characteristics have become expressed and personified in that particular character, from the mind of its human creator.

        I do not believe, then, that in the spiritual world you will meet a woman who physically looks like that particular anime character. Rather, I believe you will meet a woman there, or perhaps here on earth, who has the character traits that are expressed in that anime character. And though I know that now you want to meet in the spiritual world someone who looks like the character you see in your dreams, please believe me when I tell you that in the spiritual world, physical appearances will be far less important to you than spiritual qualities of character.

        Having said that, it is possible for people in the spiritual world to take on the appearance of various forms that aren’t what we would normally think of as human. For example, Swedenborg describes some spirits who prefer to think of themselves as luminous orbs rather than as having the usual human-shaped bodies, and who therefore commonly appear that way to others and to themselves even though they do actually have spiritual bodies in the usual human form complete with a head, torso, arms and legs, and so on. So it is not beyond the realm of possibility that your eternal partner may at times appear to you as an anime character. But her underlying form will still be that of a human woman who was born and grew up on this physical earth just as you did, and who then went on to live in the spiritual world.

        There is, of course, much more that could be said. But I’ll leave it at that for now. Feel free to respond or ask further questions, and I’ll do my best to respond helpfully—just as I hope what I have said so far is helpful to you.

        • Hurley Combs says:

          Thanks Lee for the reply.

          To be completely honest a lot of this I knew in my head, unfortunately the heart is what mostly causes the turmoil. I have to admit that I am a person who deals efficiently in areas that are black and white, but the unknown grey areas are what causes me anxiety. Unfortunately even when you can know something emotions can overwhelm you to the point of not being able to think clearly.

          Honestly I have tried to be a godly man ever since I accepted Christ into my life and I’m certain that the Devil doesn’t like it and tried to attack whenever he can.

          I find that whenever I am under a lot of stress my emotions are less in check then when I am free of stress, but it’s only when I am really alone that it effects me. (By alone I mean no physical people around. After all we are never truly alone). I can’t fully explain it, but to some degree I am able to minimize my emotions to some degree in order to try to be polite and respectful to others so that hopefully they will have a better day.

          I work in retail and sometimes with some of the people I deal with it makes me wonder if the Devil may have sent them to try and shake me emotionally. It is definitely interesting to think about. After all when things go wrong, it is the Devil to do these things (with God allowing it that is), yet there is always a reason for it.

          The Devil tries any tricks to try to make people either turn away from God or try to keep them from being saved in the first place.

          I’ve seen his tricks first-hand and being human there have been times where I have been hurt emotionally, but throughout it all (as far as I can remember) I’ve never lost faith in God, and that probably burns him up and possibly might lead him to try to make me miserable at the very least. After all, if you can’t have their soul than might as well make certain that you make them as miserable as you can.

          I think I may have gone off on a tangent their. I guess what I was trying to say is that it feels like when I get effected emotionally (which to some degree we all do, we were made to be emotional creatures and not some silly robots without emotions) it effects me strongly and can not fully think rationally. I did appreciate the insight even if was just to help confirm why I already knew. It honestly feels like confirmation is needed sometimes to make certain that you are on the right track.

          May you have a good (if not easy) life.

          Sincerely,
          Hurley

          P.S.: that article about video games was interesting and if you think about it can apply to any form of entertainment. Thanks for the article suggestion and I’ll keep a look out for any other interesting articles.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Hurley,

          Yes, our emotions can and commonly do run away with us, dragging our thinking mind along with them. Anyway, glad to be able to confirm for you things you already knew in your heart.

  26. Rami says:

    Hi Lee,

    I notice that a lot of discussion on this topic- both in the comments and in the article- concern our life partners from the perspective of either having married ‘the wrong person’ or ‘finding our soulmate’- but is anyone who is not your soulmate the wrong person? It seems to me that most marriages fall somewhere in between these two poles. While one may not be married to their soulmate, they may nevertheless be in a truly loving, committed relationship with someone else who would hardly be described as ‘wrong’ for them. Indeed, sometimes relationships begin so lovingly or evolve into such great love over time that their relationship resonates with nearly the same intensity as that between two soulmates. But does that still mean there is ultimately still someone just a *tad* bit better suited to them, and that they will eventually be with that person? Or does the fact that two people have entered into a loving relationship mean that they found the person that was born for them?

    Most marriages begin locally, from both a social and geographical perspective. People are introduced to one another through their existing circle of friends, they may meet each other at work, or at school; they may meet each other out in public, in either their small towns or big cities. I’ve always wondered: what are the odds ‘the one’ just happened to live in your state, in your city, in your part of town? And if they’re not, does that mean the right one is still out there, in a different state, in a different part of the country? In a different country?

    My initial, formative take on the issue was that there is no ‘one’ person out there, for anyone. Rather people become each other’s ‘one’ over time- sometimes it’s a short time, sometimes it’s a long time, but eventually they grow so deeply *into* each other that they can no longer bear to be apart. Even if they were to eventually cross paths with someone who was better suited to them, there could be no true love between them since their heart has fused with another. But your remarks on people being born for each other has got me thinking.

    You mentioned earlier that you no longer believe that God manages the world in such a way that everything is coordinated and set into motion down to the most minute details, but rather that God allows for a certain level of randomness in the world. Was that the viewpoint you had as of writing this article? And if there is *purpose* to God’s design in that we each have a soulmate, but *randomness* in that design in that we may never meet them on earth, does that mean that most of us have not and will never meet that person on earth, since they can be scattered all over the globe? Or maybe being accessible to each other is still part of that design?

    Oh, and one last question, and I apologize if this amounts to a technical nitpicking: does the fact that everyone is ultimately destined to marry mean that there is- or will at some point be- an equal number of men and women in heaven? I’m not sure if human beings are destined to exist and thus procreate forever into the material future, but whether there is or is not an end to the physical reality of human beings, it seems like there would have to be one soul for each other soul, right?

    • Rami says:

      Also, I’m wondering: is it possible that someone’s soulmate could ultimately choose hell? When you say God ‘prepares’ two people for one another, does He prepare them according to what He *wants* for them, and according to the opportunities for love and charity that are given to them? Or are they prepared according to the choices they make? After all, demons in hell have ‘marriages’ of their own, so does that mean that even two evil spirits are prepared for one another?

      • Rami says:

        I also see that your very first comment addresses some of my questions. Which (of course) leads me to another, follow up to my very last one: I think it’s fair to say that God provides someone for everyone out of unfathomable love. If evil spirits are arranged a marriage partner, is that also an act of love? And as bizarre as this sounds, does that make hell, itself, an act of love, since they are given a place by which they can live out the evil things that they love so much?

        • Lee says:

          Hi Rami,

          Yes, my first comment here provides my working answer to your main question about couples being born for each other vs. couples growing into one another’s marital partner. Short version: I think that both are in play. Creation is complex, human beings are complex, and marriage relationships are complex. There is not a simple answer to this question. The reality of actual marriage relationships exists in an interplay between the two.

          To answer your questions about evil spirits and hell:

          Evil spirits do not have a marriage partner. Most of them are promiscuous rather than monogamous. And even those that are monogamous can’t really be said to have a “marriage” or a “marriage partner” because they reject the fundamental basis of marriage, which is love for another person. Even if evil spirits do live with a single partner, they ultimately feel hate and disdain rather than love for that partner, even if they may appreciate some of their partner’s evil qualities. Their life together with their partner is characterized by continual bickering and fighting. Each one is primarily trying to gain benefits and pleasure for him- or herself. That’s not a marriage, nor are they marriage partners.

          They also do not view themselves as being in a marriage. The men consider what we would incorrectly call their “wives” to be mere prostitutes.

          All of this is why Swedenborg states in a number of places that there is no marriage or marriage love in hell. Only couplings, most of which are temporary.

          However, yes, allowing for hell to exist is in a “permissive” sense an act of love on God’s part precisely because it is God allowing (not giving) evil spirits a place where they can enjoy the evil things they love as much as that is possible. God wants everyone to be happy. And for those who have chosen to gain their happiness—or really, just pleasure—from engaging in evil, God allows them to experience that pleasure because God also loves the evil spirits in hell.

          The problem, of course, is that gaining pleasure from evil inevitably brings pain with it, and is also self-limiting. Still, God allows as much of it as possible, while keeping it within boundaries such that it does not harm good people in any lasting way.

          And I will emphasize once again that hell is not something God gives or creates, but something God allows or tolerates. God does not create hell. Rather, the evil spirits in hell form hell by twisting God’s love and truth into their opposites: evil and falsity, and living in the realm and atmosphere that results.

      • Lee says:

        Hi Rami,

        The necessity of free will and the possibility that one, but not the other, partner of a potential marriage could choose hell rather than heaven is one of the reasons I think God’s providence over marriage is more complex than God simply providing one and only one possible partner to be born for each person on earth.

        And it’s one of the reasons I think that people growing into each other’s partner is just as essential as people being born to be each other’s partner.

        Though it’s true that many people experience love at first sight with the person they marry and spend their life with, that love at first sight doesn’t make a marriage. Rather, their growing together through years of marriage makes a marriage. The love at first sight in only the conscious beginning of the marriage.

        In other words, marriage is an ongoing process, not an instantaneous event.

        And clearly, a person who chooses hell cannot grow together over the years with a person who chooses heaven. Even if there might potentially have been the beginning of a marriage, no actual marriage can be built because the two are going in opposite directions, not walking side-by-side in life.

        See my previous comment about demons in hell having marriages. Really, they do not. But even in hell, “birds of a feather stick together.” So people with similar evil loves will tend to congregate together. And those whose evil loves are most similar will engage in couplings that can’t really be called marriages, but that may be monogamous even if the partnership is based on self-love rather than on marriage love.

        One example of this type of relationship in popular culture is the relationship between Kevin Spacey’s and Robin Wright’s characters in the American (Netflix) version of “House of Cards.” They don’t really have a marriage. What they have is a coupling with a like-minded and equally Machiavellian person for the purpose of attaining their own goals of political power.

        I’m not sure I would say these hellish couples are “prepared for one another” by God. That suggests God actively guiding their lives so that they will meet. But such people have rejected God and have rejected God’s guidance. So their meeting is based more on their own ego than on God’s providence. In Swedenborg’s terminology, it would fall under God’s laws of permission (tolerance) rather than God’s laws of providence.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rami,

      About couples that may be a near miss rather than soulmates, see my second comment in the comments section above. In general, I think that people who have a good marriage, even if it may seem not to be exactly the right marriage, are best to stick together in this life, even if their marriage may not be an eternal one. But this, of course, is a very personal decision on the part of each couple and each partner.

      About marriages beginning locally, that’s not necessarily a problem. People who grow up in the same area and social circles also tend to have similar values and similar views of life. If a small-town farm boy from Kansas marries a farm girl from the neighboring small town in Kansas, that doesn’t mean they can’t be right for each other. There are many such marriages that are lifelong, strong, and deep bonds between two people who share a fundamental oneness of heart, mind, and life precisely because they come from a similar culture and background.

      Another way of saying this is that we are not radically free to become anyone we want to be, despite the motivational slogans that are popular these days. We are born into a particular culture, with some general character traits baked in from the beginning. And while we can turn those character traits in positive or negative directions, we’re not going to become a radically different person; rather, we’re going to become a radically better (or worse) version of the person that we were in potential at birth.

      These days, with the rise of global communications and travel, and the resulting sharing and blending of cultures, it’s more possible and more likely for partners to find one another across the geographical lines of continents and countries than it was in past centuries. And that’s fine, too. But it doesn’t negate the basic reality that people of similar character and values tend to find one another and join their lives together. And that can happen locally just as easily, if not much more easily, than it can across the lines of continents, countries, and cultures.

      Part of God providing partners for us, I believe, involves people being born into various cultures that have common traits and values such that people within those cultures tend to be suited to one another. This doesn’t negate inter-cultural and interracial marriages. Deeper similarities and shared values can bring people of different cultures and backgrounds together in good and happy marriages. But the bulk of marriages still take place within particular cultures and races. And there’s nothing wrong with that, either.

      My general feeling is that our marriage partner is whoever we find and unite with in a happy marriage. Where they come from is far less important than who they are. And people who are, or can become, one in spirit do tend to find each other in the course of their lives precisely because that inner similarity tends to draw them into the same circles, and into contact with one another.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Rami,

      About eternal marriage vs. gender imbalance in the human population:

      There is indeed a slight gender imbalance in the world’s population. However, this may or may not mean that there is a gender imbalance in the spiritual world, depending upon when one believes a human soul becomes eternal.

      The human gender imbalance appears mostly to be based on a higher rate of fetal mortality for females than for males, which is then not entirely balanced by a higher rate of infant mortality for males than for females. See the Wikipedia page on “Human sex ratio.”

      Assuming these hypotheses about human gender imbalance hold (there seems to much less solid data about gender at conception than at birth and later), for those who believe that the soul becomes eternal at conception, there is less of a gender imbalance problem. For those who believe that the soul becomes eternal at birth, there is a greater gender imbalance problem. For those who believe the soul becomes eternal somewhere in between, such as at fetal viability, I presume the gender imbalance problem would also fall somewhere in between.

      Sorting all of this out is a bit above my pay grade. However, here are a few pressure relief valves that could smooth over any remaining gender imbalance:

      • Not all angels are married. Some angels who had strongly committed themselves to celibacy remain celibate in heaven.
      • Many, if not most evil spirits in hell are not in any kind of stable or monogamous relationships. Many, if not most, are either sexually promiscuous and even predatory, or come to eschew sexual relationships altogether over time. Monogamy does not reign in hell as it does in heaven.
      • Good people from polygamous cultures may continue to be polygamous in heaven, even if this relegates them to the lower fringes of heaven. (This, however, may actually exacerbate the gender imbalance problem, since the overall human gender imbalance is skewed toward males, and one man having multiple wives is the rule in polygamous cultures.)
      • A small percentage of the population is born intersex, meaning they have a more or less ambiguous sexual identification according to traditional definitions. A slightly larger percentage of the population has a same-sex, bisexual, or other sexual orientation. This brings additional wild cards into the gender balance vs. eternal marriage equation, which I don’t claim to be able to fully sort out.

      All of this suggests to me that God has enough leeway to work with in providing people with eternal marriage partners. The general rule, according to Swedenborg, is not that God provides an eternal marriage partner for everyone. Rather, it is that God provides an eternal marriage partner for everyone who deeply longs for a marriage of inner love and oneness with another person. Not everyone wants that.

  27. tammi85 says:

    How can somebody be a good person and at the same time polygamous?
    In most Islamic country’s that still practice polygamy woman are seen as second class citizens or worse, and are forced into marriages with men some times old enough to be their fathers by male family members. Are you saying after death these woman and girls aren’t able to separate from the man they where forced to marry, and may have been mistreated by?

    And how could a man really have the same amount of love for multiple woman? He’s bound to have stronger feelings for one more than the others.

    If woman are given free will in heaven like in the west, I vary much doubt they would want to share a husband with multiply other woman and girls.

    • Lee says:

      Hi tammi85,

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

      I agree with you that polygamy is not a good thing. And in particular, that it is on a whole different, and lower, level than real, spiritual monogamous marriage. Polygamy is intrinsically materialistic and unspiritual. And no, it is generally not a good thing for women.

      But to answer your questions specifically:

      In the spiritual world, no one, including no woman, is forced to be with anyone she does not want to be with. Any girl or woman who has been forced into a marriage, whether monogamous or polygamous, that she does not want to be in will be released from that marriage after death, and will be free to live her life as she wishes, with whom she wishes. And especially these days, I expect that very few women will accept polygamous marriages in the spiritual world.

      And no, I don’t believe it is possible for a man in a polygamous society to love all of his wives equally. At best he may be able to treat them all fairly equally, as religions that allow polygamy generally require men to do. But he is bound to have his favorite(s), and other less favored wives. The Bible itself portrays this in its stories of polygamous marriage, such as that of Jacob’s greater love and favor for his wife Rachel than for his wife Leah.

      Still, neither Rachel nor Leah questioned the institution of polygamy. Rather, each sought to be primary in the affections of her husband, and in bearing sons for her husband. And Leah, though she was the less loved and favored wife, did in fact bear more sons for her husband than Rachel did. She was also ultimately the wife who was buried next to her husband. So although she was the less loved wife, by the standards of her culture she was the more greatly honored wife. And the surviving remnant of ancient Israel was predominantly from the tribe of Judah, one of Leah’s sons. That is also the origin of the name that the resulting religion bears to this day: Judaism.

      I say this not to justify polygamy, but to point out that in those cultures it was simply a common, accepted way of life. It was not considered wrong or evil in any way.

      Indeed, for much of human history, in many cultures, polygamy was common and accepted. And though it is thankfully fading today, there are still cultures in which it is accepted and practiced. And no one who has practiced it in good conscience is condemned for that in the afterlife. A man in a polygamous culture who has more than one wife can still be a good man. And his wives can still be good women. I do not believe they can experience anything like real, spiritual marriage. However, many natural-minded people are still good people. They’re just not very deep people spiritually. That is why good people from polygamous cultures who do not renounce polygamy in the spiritual world can live only in the lower fringes of heaven.

      I look forward to the day when polygamy no longer exists in any culture on this earth. But polygamy is just one of many less-than-ideal things that we humans have accepted as normal in our various societies. And we are not condemned for things we have been taught are good and proper, and that we practice in good conscience.

      I should add that of course, any man who mistreats and abuses his wife (or wives) is not a good and honorable man.

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