The article “Will Happily Married Couples be Together in Heaven?” has become one of the most heavily read posts here on the Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life website. Since the time it was published five years ago, it has been visited over 125,000 times. Clearly there is a great yearning for good and comforting news among people who have lost a wife, husband, or other romantic partner. For partners who dearly love one another, the unbiblical “Christian” belief that there is no marriage in heaven is very bad news, not the good news of the Gospel. (See: “Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?” and the articles linked at the end of it.)
And yet, people want assurance. Many times since that article was originally published, we’ve heard from readers who are concerned that perhaps their partner will not be waiting for them on the other side, and may not be with them in spirit.
Of course, I do not have God’s infinite vision nor God’s infinite wisdom. It’s not for me to say whether a particular couple will be together in heaven. The most I can say for sure is that couples who love one another will meet on the other side, and can then continue their relationship forever if that’s what they want.
And it will be even better than it was before.
For most people whose partner has moved on to the spiritual world, any assurance that their relationship will continue forever must come from within, and from the relationship itself. Let’s take a look at one reader’s questions about this.
Are we really still together?
Here is the most recent Spiritual Conundrum on this issue, submitted to by a reader named Bob S.:
My wife and I were married before, both with bad experiences. Her Ex left her and two small girls 7 and 8 years old and married his girlfriend, so she divorced him. My Ex had affairs with many different men, including her father, and then divorced me.
My wife and I and met, fell in love, and lived together for a couple of years when I was recalled to active duty for Desert Storm, and we got married before I retired from the USAF. We were married in a church rather than in some government office. We wanted it this way. We were married for 2 months shy of 30 years. She became sick during the last 7–8 years of this time, passing away on her birthday this past November ’21. I am devastated, yet happy that she no longer is adversely affected with all of the many health problems.
My questions are:
- How do I know she is with me in spirit? I do not think I feel her presence, yet I have heard a single distinct ring coming though the TV and telephone 5 different times in the last 30 days or so. Could this be her?
- How do I know that once I pass over to the other side that she will be waiting there to greet me, or do I have to hunt for her?
- I talk to her several times every day. Does she see or hear me?
- I understand that we get a new spiritual younger body after we pass over. Are they younger bodies of ourselves or do we look different?
- I really love my wife and have said to her when I talk to her that I will remain faithful to her and our marriage. I am concerned that she might get tired of waiting for me and search there for another. I read your statements over and over that those of us married here on earth will rejoin our spouse on the other side and experience a more spiritual, loving, joyful life together. This has given me great comfort! So may I assume that rejoining with her will happen very soon upon arriving there?
I am confused about all of this and just want to be with my wife as soon as I can!
I thank you and need your comments and advice.
First, I am sorry to hear about your wife’s death after a long illness. As you say, she is now free from all of her health problems. But it is still very hard for you to be left behind here on earth. The time when you will rejoin her is in God’s hands. Meanwhile, perhaps I can offer you some help and reassurance.
Much of what I have to offer comes from the book Heaven and Hell, by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). This is the most expansive and detailed description of the spiritual world ever written, based on direct personal experience. Its picture of the other life has since been abundantly verified by thousands of people who have briefly experienced that realm in near-death experiences.
Let’s dig right into your questions.
How can I be sure?
1. How do I know she is with me in spirit? I do not think I feel her presence, yet I have heard a single distinct ring coming though the TV and telephone 5 different times in the last 30 days or so. Could this be her?
It is quite common, but certainly not universal, for people whose partner has died to receive some sign of their deceased partner’s presence, especially in the days immediately following their death. Sometimes it is a voice. Sometimes it is a touch. Sometimes it is a bird in the window. Often it is something that was special between the two of them. Sometimes it is just some silly little thing.
Could it be a distinct ring repeatedly coming through the TV and telephone? Skeptics would scoff at this, and say you’re just imagining things. But the thing to understand is that since your wife is now in the spiritual world, if she does make her presence felt, it will be through your spiritual senses, not through your physical senses. If it is a sign from her, most likely no one else in the room with you would hear that ring, nor would the speakers of the TV or telephone have produced the sound. Rather, it would he a sound heard with your spiritual ears, which your mind perceives as coming from the TV or telephone.
Once again, skeptics would call it a hallucination. But if the spiritual world is indeed real, as all of the great religions assure us, then these sorts of signs are simply the way it makes itself felt among people on earth whose spiritual senses are not ordinarily open.
Short version: If it feels to you like it’s a sign from your wife, then it probably is.
But really, the greater reason to have some assurance that she is still with you in spirit is your knowledge that she was with you in spirit for so many years here on earth. This brings us to your next question.
Will I have to hunt for my partner after I die?
2. How do I know that once I pass over to the other side that she will be waiting there to greet me, or do I have to hunt for her?
Here on earth, people who love each other can get physically separated, often by forces beyond their control. Some of them never see each other again. Even with all our modern communications technology, sometimes it proves impossible to find someone we are searching for who is now living at a great physical distance from us.
That’s not how it works in heaven.
In the spiritual world, time and space as we know it in the physical world do not exist. Yes, we experience something like time. Our life moves forward. We experience and do different things along the way, and we grow as a person. And yes, we can look around us and see some people and things close to us, and others far away.
However, in the spiritual world it is not our body, but our spirit that determines how close we are to other people, or how distant. In particular, it is our love that determines how near or far another person is. In the spiritual world, people who love one another are drawn together by that love, whereas people who don’t care for one another are separated by that lack of love.
In heaven, we are close to the people we love not only metaphorically, but literally as well.
That’s why you will not have to hunt for your wife after you die. Throughout thirty years of marriage, the two of you developed a closeness to one another in love and affection. That closeness will draw her to your side as soon as you wake up in the spiritual world. Even if for some strange reason she cannot be there for that great event, the two of you will find each other quickly and effortlessly. That’s how simply things work in the spiritual world.
Can my partner in heaven see me and hear me?
3. I talk to her several times every day. Does she see or hear me?
Our physical senses cannot see, hear, or sense anything in the spiritual world. That’s not possible.
The reverse is ordinarily true as well: people in the spiritual world normally cannot see, hear, or sense anything in the physical world.
However, under special circumstances, our spiritual senses do have the capability of sensing physical things. It is possible that your wife actually could see you and hear you when you talk to her.
More likely, though, when you talk to her she will sense your presence within her mind. She will feel what you are feeling about her, and sense the things are thinking about her. That’s because our mind is our spirit, and since your wife is now fully a spirit living in the spiritual world, it is your thoughts and feelings that she will be able to perceive, not your words and actions.
This will be true only when your mind is not focused on the things, people, and activities that are all around you here on earth. When our mind is focused on the material world, we become imperceptible to people in the spiritual world. That’s because their mind is dwelling on the spiritual level, while our mind is dwelling on the physical level. (But we do have to continue living our life here on earth. If we’re still on earth, God still has work for us to do.)
However, occasionally, when you are deep in thought about higher things, it is possible that you may appear to your wife in the spiritual world. Listen to what Swedenborg has to say about this in his book Heaven and Hell, #438:
I may add here that even while we are living in our bodies, each one of us is in a community with spirits as to our own spirit even though we are unaware of it. Good people are in angelic communities by means of [their spirits] and evil people are in hellish communities. Further, we come into those same communities when we die. People who are coming into the company of spirits after death are often told and shown this.
Actually, we are not visible as spirits in our [spiritual] communities while we are living in the world because we are thinking on the natural level. However, if our thinking is withdrawn from the body we are sometimes visible in our communities because we are then in the spirit. When we are visible, it is easy to tell us from the spirits who live there because we walk along deep in thought, silent, without looking at others, as though we did not see them; and the moment any spirit addresses us, we disappear.
Therefore especially as you move into your older years, and start thinking more about eternity and the deeper, more spiritual issues of life, you may become a regular visitor to your wife’s community in heaven. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the other way around. But at least it would give her extra assurance that you are still with her in spirit, not to mention giving her fleeting glimpses of your beloved presence.
Will our body still be recognizable in the spiritual world?
4. I understand that we get a new spiritual younger body after we pass over. Are they younger bodies of ourselves or do we look different?
When we first cross over to the spiritual world, it is very likely that we will look exactly the same as we did here on earth just before we died. That’s because as long as we’re living in our physical body, we identify with it and think of it as “me.” We carry that identification with our physical appearance into the spiritual world with us. And in the spiritual world, our sense of self determines what we look like.
However, while we are living in the world it is also very common for our physical body not to fully express who we are inside. In particular, as we grow older we may grow increasingly frustrated with a physical body that is no longer able to do all the things we want and love and know how to do in our mind. Assuming we haven’t become hypochondriacs who glory in our infirmities, these physical limitations of an aging body will quickly fade away once we enter the spiritual world. We will once again live in a youthful and healthy body that can express everything that is in our mind and heart.
As we move onward in the spiritual world, our body may go through additional changes in appearance to make it more fully and perfectly express our inner character. This may or may not resemble the physical body we inhabited while on earth. People who are beautiful inside, but who were not blessed with a beautiful body on earth, will have a spiritual body that is just as beautiful outwardly as they are inwardly.
For more on this, please see:
I suspect that the underlying question here is: will my wife and family and friends still recognize me in the other world? Will I still be the same old me that they know and love?
The answer to this question is: Yes . . . if the love and friendship is a deep one, and not based only on external and superficial things.
What if you have friends and acquaintances at work, but you are drawn together only by your shared workplace, and not by any shared views about life? These people have only a superficial relationship with you, and you with them. If they died before you, they might recognize you when you first enter the spiritual world after you die. But as your spiritual body grows more and more into a reflection of your inner spirit, they will no longer recognize you. That’s precisely because it was a relationship based only on outward activities and appearances, which you are now leaving behind.
Meanwhile, for the people who know you as a person—your thoughts and feelings, your goals and aspirations—any changes in your outward appearance in the spiritual world will make no difference at all in their ability to recognize you as the person they know and love. That’s because their relationship with you is based, not on your outward appearance, but on your inner character. In fact, the more your spiritual body changes to fully reflect the person you are inside, the more they will recognize the real you that is the person they have loved all along.
This will be most true of all of the person you have shared your life, your thoughts, and your feelings with for so many years.
Will my partner start looking for someone else in the spiritual world?
5. I really love my wife and have said to her when I talk to her that I will remain faithful to her and our marriage. I am concerned that she might get tired of waiting for me and search there for another. I read your statements over and over that those of us married here on earth will rejoin our spouse on the other side and experience a more spiritual, loving, joyful life together. This has given me great comfort! So may I assume that rejoining with her will happen very soon upon arriving there?
One of the greatest fears we humans experience is the fear of losing the people we love. Our greatest fear is losing the one we love most of all.
This is why on the negative side, jealousy has been such a great and often such a destructive force in the lives of lovers. In the worst scenario, the fear of losing one’s partner becomes a terrible, blazing jealousy that destroys the relationship and causes the loss of the loved one.
On the positive side, the fear of losing our partner and soulmate motivates us to do everything we can to ensure that we will not lose him or her. It can be a great motivator pushing us to do the hard work on our own self and our own character so that we can be our best and most lovable self. In cases of extreme danger, it may even lead us to put our own life on the line to save the life of the one we love. For those who know the depths of love, life itself is less important than that love.
Given the depth and power of this feeling, it is only natural that after our partner has died, we will feel some fear that the physical separation will lead to our losing her or him altogether. It’s only human.
The real answer to this painful question for you is to consider what your relationship with your wife had become during the thirty years you were together.
Consider first that each of you came into the marriage having been cheated on and abandoned by your previous spouse. Further, the fact that you wanted to be married in a church says that both of you believe in the sacredness of marriage. Then you spent the next thirty years being faithful to one another. That doesn’t happen by accident!
What was happening during those thirty years of marriage? The two of you were continually growing closer in spirit, sharing and adopting one another’s thoughts and feelings. You were becoming more and more husband and wife. You stayed with her and continued to love and care for her even through her long years of physical illness. This binds two people even more closely together.
Thirty years is a long time to spend together! If, after all those years, you are still very much in love with your wife, that did not happen by accident. During those thirty years, the two of you were indeed becoming one.
Now consider this:
If, while she was still alive, your wife had taken a trip to a distant country for a week or a month or a year, where would you be when she returned?
I’ll tell you where: You would be in the airport lobby, as close as security would allow you to get to the gate where she will disembark from the airplane that carried her back home to you.
That is exactly where your wife will be when, in God’s good time, you make the journey from this world to the next to rejoin her.
This article is a response to a spiritual conundrum submitted by a reader.
For further reading:
- How does Marriage Fit In with a Spiritual Life? Is There Marriage in Heaven?
- Will Happily Married Couples be Together in Heaven?
- Didn’t Jesus Say There’s No Marriage in Heaven?
- Marriage in the Resurrection: The Deeper Meaning
- Is There Sex in Heaven?
- Man, Woman, and the Two Creation Stories of Genesis