Could Being Married and Divorced Several Times Keep Me from Going to Heaven?

Question from a reader:

I just bought your book Heaven and am reading it. I am terrified that I will not make it into Heaven. You see, I have been married and divorced several times. My current husband has been living in a nursing home for years because he made repeated bad choices for his health. After living alone, I met someone else, and I am currently living with this man. He knows all about my husband. I can't divorce my husband because I would lose my home. I am terrified of not being able to go to Heaven with my history and because I am living with one man while being married to another. 

I want to believe God was guiding the path of my life, but I feel like a failure in relationships. I made some of the choices I did in order to provide security for myself and my son. I wish I knew if I could go to Heaven someday and be reunited with my loved ones and live with God. 

Answer from Doreen Button, EPM staff:

I have really good news for you. Every one of us on this planet is broken. Every one of us has sinned against God’s holy instructions, laws, and plans. Not a single one of us can stand on our own before His throne and plead innocence…except Jesus. Perfect man and wholly God, Jesus fulfilled every iota of His Father’s will. He alone was also able to fulfill God’s justice made necessary when Eve, joined by her husband, took that first bite of forbidden fruit.

You say you are terrified that you won’t make it into Heaven. And if it were up to you and your attempts to be good, you’d be right to be terrified. Isaiah 64:6 says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

On the other hand, if you exchange your sin and brokenness, your independence and propensity for trying to control your circumstances, and even your good works—what Scripture calls filthy rags—for the robes of righteousness which Jesus offers freely, you will enter eternity with Jesus. Isaiah speaks to this, too in 61:10, “I am overwhelmed with joy in Yahweh my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.”

Are you familiar with the story we often call The Woman at the Well? You can find it in the book of John, chapter 4, and I encourage you to read it all, multiple times.

Here are the parts I think you’ll especially resonate with:

Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a fount of water springing up to eternal life.”

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water so that I will not get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

 “I have no husband,” the woman replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are correct to say that you have no husband. In fact, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. You have spoken truthfully.”

…The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

Jesus answered, “I who speak to you am He.”

…Then the woman left her water jar, went back into the town, and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ? So they left the town and made their way toward Jesus. (John 4:14-17, 26-28)

This story is such a beautiful example of God’s heart for us! Let me point out two extra-special moments:

  1. Jesus went to that well to find her. He knew her before they even met. He saw her. He knew her thirst which she had spent her life trying to quench with the attention of men. Perhaps her father had abandoned her as well.
  2. She was the first person on this planet Jesus publicly revealed Himself to as the Anointed One of God, the long-awaited Messiah. And she was a Gentile! And a woman! (Jesus loves to turn our silly cultural notions upside down in order to put us right-side up.)

Each time you read this story, it should become clearer and clearer just how loved we are, despite how broken we are, and to what lengths Jesus goes in order to bring us back to Him. The Bible is full of such teaching: The prodigal, the lost sheep, and the lost coin (all in Luke 15) are three examples.

It didn’t matter how many husbands this woman had or didn’t have. It didn’t matter that she was a woman and a Gentile. What mattered was that she was, as Ephesians 2:10 describes, “God’s masterpiece, created to fulfill the work He had planned for her since time long past.”

And so are you!

Have you made a mess of the years God’s given you? Have you been hungry and thirsty for something no created thing (man or beast, material or spiritual) can satisfy? Have you made choices which you acknowledge go against God’s will and justified those choices as being for the greater good for yourself and your son?

I totally understand. Security, especially when our children are involved, is so important. But it isn’t the most important thing—you’re starting to see the importance of eternal security. That’s the Holy Spirit drawing you to Him; how cool is that?

Go to Jesus! Run, don’t walk! Don’t waste another minute thinking you are beyond hope or beyond His reach. That idea makes a mockery of everything He’s done on your behalf. It may sound harsh, but that’s your pride speaking (on the enemy’s behalf) saying that your sin is too big for forgiveness from the God who created you, and everything else.

Just take your eyes off yourself and ask.

Look to Him to forgive you. He will.

Look to Him to guide your next steps. He will.

Look to Him for literally everything: fulfillment, relationship, money, time.



Resist the urge to fall back into old patterns and follow His leading long enough to see what a difference He makes. Bring your requests, worries, and loneliness, to Him (see Philippians 4:4-9). He will never leave you or forsake you (see Isaiah 41:10 and Hebrews 13:5).

And a funny thing about His upside-down ways: when You look solely at Him, all the other stuff begins to lose its pull on you. Though your circumstances may not change for the better, your happiness will actually increase exponentially. (I’ve experienced this personally—it’s awesome in the truest sense of the word.)

When being with Him is more important to you than anything else, His death and resurrection means you living with Him now and forever is an absolute certainty. He staked His life on it (see John 3:16).

He sees your heart! Return His gaze and finally find safety in the arms of the one Man you’ve been wanting all along and never knew it.

It could be really helpful for you to walk through this process with someone who cares about you, knows God and His Word, and can provide guidance specific to your situation.

 If you have a home church but are not sure who to ask, your pastor or small group leader might be a good place to start. If you’re in the U.S. and you would like some assistance in finding a church, you can email us at with where you live and our EPM staff will do their best to provide recommendations.

Photo: Unsplash

Doreen is part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and helps Randy with editing and answering reader questions. She is a certified biblical counselor.