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marriage loveMost Christian wedding services include the phrase “till death do us part”.  But should a lifelong marriage have to end with the death of one partner?  If a man and a woman had a loving and lasting relationship with each other, why should it all end?

Emanuel Swedenborg explains that it doesn’t.  He defines conjugial love that can develop between husband and wife as a marriage of minds as well as a fusion of bodies, an internal as well as an external merging of two complete people such that they share each others loves, hopes and aspirations.  Such relationships, he declares, do not end with death, but continue in heaven to eternity.  He writes: the reason why those who enjoy truly conjugial love have eternity in view is that eternity is contained within this love. This is because this love increases for ever in the case of the wife, and wisdom increases for ever in the case of the husband; and as these increase and develop, the couple plunges deeper and deeper into the blessings of heaven, which lie hidden in their wisdom and also the love for it. (Conjugial Love 216)

If a marriage continues in heaven, do the partners still enjoy sex with each other?  Many married couples will tell you that making love with their partner is not just a physical experience – hugely enjoyable as this is – but also a sharing experience, an expression of their commitment to each other, and a strengthening of their love.  In heaven, the sharing experience becomes more and more important as the couple’s minds link together. 

Swedenborg writes:

Sexual love among the angels, the kind of love there is in heaven, is still full of the most intimate delights. It is an extremely pleasant feeling, as if every part of the mind were expanded. This affects all parts of the chest, and inside it is as if the heart were playing games with the lungs; and this play gives rise to breathing, sound and speech. These make contact between the sexes to be the very model of heavenly sweetness, because it is pure. (Conjugial Love 44)

Can we know if our marriage partner in this life will be our angelic marriage partner for eternity?  We can never be certain, but if you and your husband or wife have been married for many years, and still maintain a loving and caring relationship, you can be reasonably sure that you will continue with your loving marriage in heaven.  So what happens for people who are divorced or never married, or whose marriages did not work out?  Swedenborg tells us: those who are admitted to heaven have a marriage provided for them with a partner whose soul is so strongly attracted to union with the other's, that they do not wish to have two lives, but one. (Conjugial Love 50) 

Swedenborg writes: In heaven a married pair is spoken of, not as two, but as one angel (Heaven and Hell 367).  In fact, he tells us that, at a distance, an angelic pair actually appears to be one person.  It is not until they approach you that you realise there are two of them. 

Isn’t this a beautiful picture?

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