I know we won't be married in heaven but will we know and love each other?

Throughout the years since my sister died, I believed I would have a blessed reunion with her in heaven and a developing relationship that didn't happen here on earth.  Now my husband has died, and that faith has been shaken to the core—not my faith in Jesus, or salvation, or that my husband is in heaven—but my faith that we will be reunited.  I know we will not be husband and wife, but I'm not getting the peace and reassurance that we will know each other and love each other and care for each other. I can't imagine that heaven could be heaven without a relationship with those I love.  I need some reassurance that heaven is relational—that a God who made relationships on earth would just not think they are not important in heaven

I'm so sad with you over the loss of your sister and your husband. I know that your loss moves this from a theological discussion to a personal issue. And you are right to pursue figuring this out. With every question like this that we struggle to understand, what matters most is that we pursue God with our questions rather than simply pursue answers to our questions. Every question like this that I have run up against and gone to God's word to understand has helped me understand the big picture of what God is doing in the world and in my life in a deeper way. Oftentimes rather than getting an answer to my question, I've realized I was asking the wrong question or that what I needed most was a complete paradigm shift.

You and I want to know the truth. Anything less than that is ultimately unsatisfying. We want to know the truth about God. We don't want a God that is so weak that we can just shape him into the image we want him to be. So in questions like this, where it is not spelled out like we would like for it to be in the Bible, we grab hold of what we know is true. We don't try to bend what God has promised to our preferences. And here is what we know is true:

  1. We know that God is a relational God. We see that when God established his kingdom on the earth in the Garden of Eden, he made it a relational place—not just relational between him and his people, but they enjoyed rich relationship with each other—"naked and not ashamed." So as we seek to know what the new heaven and new earth will be, when God's kingdom is completely restored, made like it was in the Garden of Eden yet even better, we will not only enjoy relationship with God but with each other—complete intimacy, nothing to hide, no barriers caused by sin. We know that Jesus said we won't be married in heaven. But that does not mean we won't have rich, meaningful, intimate relationship with each other in heaven. Certainly we will. It is not that we won't be married. We will all be married to the same person as the bride of Christ and be completely fulfilled. It is true that Jesus will be the joy of heaven. But that does not mean that we will not also have the joy of seeing those we loved on earth. What will make that most special is that we will—together with those we love—turn our focus to Jesus. We will see him in all of his beauty and sufficiency, and we will be happy and satisfied together with those we love, feeling no sense of disappointment.
  2. We know that heaven will be a place of perfect joy and complete satisfaction. Anything less than that would not be heaven. Nothing can mar it. But I don't think we should assume that we have the capacity to know now what will bring us perfect joy and complete satisfaction then. We think we know. We know what we want now.

Here is the big question for you: Is this something you can trust God with? I assume that you have told him that you are willing to trust him with your eternal future. Can you trust him with this aspect of it—that he will do right by you and by your husband and your sister? Ultimately do you believe that God is reliable and trustworthy, that his promises to you are worth waiting for and longing for?

If you have not read Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven, I would encourage you to read it.

Also, I know that right now your heart so longs for that day when you will see those you love again. I do too. There's nothing wrong with that. But perhaps you could pray that God would use that longing to implant in you a deeper longing to see Christ himself. Ask him to give you more affection for Christ, so that you will long for heaven not only to see people you love, but so that you will enjoy Christ with those you love. This doesn't happen overnight. It is something God works in you as you saturate your life in his Word and his presence.