The 6 Reasons We Won’t Be Married in Heaven I Learned in Rome

I’m finally beginning to understand why married couples won’t be married in heaven.

My wife and I attended a conference on marriage in Sacrafano, Italy, outside of Rome, with the Center for Family Life at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and the Archdiocese of Kansas City.  The Catholic scholars at the conference, created by Msgr. Renzo Bennetti’s Great Mystery Project, transformed my understanding of marriage.

The quickest overview I can give of what I learned is by looking at what Jesus tells the Sadducees in Matthew: “In the Resurrection, they neither marry nor give in marriage, but are like angels in heaven,” he said.

I have always wondered at that. If marriage is so important, why won’t married couples be married in heaven?

Here are six reasons based on what we learned.

First: Marriage is a sign of the Trinity. But citizens of heaven are involved in the actual Trinity.

When it describes the creation of mankind, the Old Testament sounds very Trinitarian. God says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” then: “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Marriage is mankind fully in the Trinitarian image of God: Two persons who are very different from each other, like the Father and the Son, are made one through the Holy Spirit, love. But the unity of the marriage we begin on earth is only a sign of the family we will enter in heaven, when as adopted sons and daughters of God, his image is fully revealed.

Second: There will be no marriages in heaven for the same reason there will be no Eucharist in heaven.

We won’t need the sacramental Real Presence of Christ anymore when Jesus is standing right in front of us, and we won’t need marriage either.

The marriage union is a “communion of two persons” and “represents the mystery of Christ’s incarnation,” John Paul II writes in Familiaris Consortio No. 13. In heaven we won’t need to represent the one who will be all-in-all.

Third: When the Kingdom comes, kingdom virtues will be everywhere.

What will the kingdom of God look like? When Christ comes as King in Matthew Chapter 25 he describes how his true subjects treat him in their lives: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”

The family is the place where we treat each other that way as a matter of course. In fact, “The Christian family loudly proclaims both the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of a blessed life to come,” says the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium.

When the Kingdom finally comes, family virtues will shape all of life.

Fourth: We will not need the Domestic Church anymore.

Each marriage is a sign of one great marriage, says St. Paul: “This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the church.”

The great mystery of Jesus the bridegroom and his bride the Church is foreshadowed by our marriages so much that the Church calls each of our homes a “Domestic Church.” But when the true Bridegroom comes and marries his people, our individual marriages won’t be needed any longer.

Fifth: There will no longer be any reason to fill the earth.

From the Garden of Eden on, married couples had one primary command: “Be fruitful and multiply.”

“By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory,” says the Catechism.

But when Jesus establishes a new heaven and new earth, the time for fruitfulness will be over.

Sixth: The unitive aspect of marriage will be complete, also.

That’s what Don Renzo Benetti, the founder of the Great Mystery Project, told me.

When I asked him why we won’t be married in heaven, he said, “When they unite in marriage, each spouse carries a little of the other. You become a new person because of the other; your spouse becomes a new person because of you. You each now include the other. In heaven, spouses will be who they made one another to be.”

It’s a lot to ponder.

It was a lot for the Sadducees too. Jesus told them “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.”

The more you look into both, the more you will find a God who made marriage as a sign pointing to our future intimacy with him, and is delighted by what he made.

This appeared at Aleteia.
Image: Thomas Mues, Flickr.

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. His book What Pope Francis Really Said is now available on Audible. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, Hoopes served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.