Today my older sister celebrates her wedding day. She spent many years joyfully participating in the family lives of her siblings, earning "most adored auntie" title. She's helped us raise our kids, heard our marital ups and downs. Today, we will weep for joy and cheer as she and her husband enter into the bonds of Holy Matrimony. And eat lots of deliciously frosted cake while telling my kids to take small bites.
So when Our Lord tells the Sadducees that people aren't married in Heaven in today's Gospel (Luke 20:34-36), I kinda recoil in horror. But I'm married and really looking forward to an eternity of uninterrupted time after lots of small kids in close succession! And then but my sister found her soulmate and don't they get to live happily ever after in all eternity?
I figure Jesus means what He says but I did a little old fashioned sleuthing. My light reading on the topic . . . the Summa . . . reveals that relationships change and transform in Heaven. So nope, we aren’t maritally relating in Heaven. Marriage is a Sacrament, and at its best images Heaven, but even in our vows we only vow till death. We knew this going into it! Instead, that special love you experienced at one point along the way with your spouse is perfected by God just as it is with all people you are in relationships with, changed into a deeper and pure love for one another because you are in the Beatific Vision!
What about the marriages that are hurting here on Earth; will those be restored in Heaven? What about the abusive ex? The Church in Her wisdom seems to indicate that at the root of these mysteries of the afterlife is that we're all plugged into the ultimate source of love: God Himself. It's union with Him that Heaven is all about, and our relationships should be working toward getting us back to Him. How exactly His love changes us and the others who make it past those pearly gates isn't known.
Don't fret, sisters, if you long to enjoy Heaven with your husband (focus on helping him get there!). Don't fret, sisters, if you don't have a husband and are concerned Heaven will be less enjoyable. The people we love, we will love more completely because we will know perfect love! Sign me up.
Pray to love more perfectly all those God has placed in your life, all those loved ones. Let us love like He loves us.
Nell O'Leary is a recovering lawyer turned blogger, speaker, and sewer of baby goods while tending to her husband and four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She serves as Managing Editor for Blessed is She and can down a iced chai tea latte in no time flat. Find out more about her here. She is the editor of our Blessed Conversations Series.