229. (20) For people who desire truly conjugial love, the Lord provides similar partners, and if they are not found on earth, He provides them in heaven. This results from the fact that all marriages of truly conjugial love are provided by the Lord. They come from Him, as may be seen above in nos. 130, 131. But how they are provided in heaven, I once heard described by angels as follows:*
The Lord's Divine providence is most specific and most universal in connection with marriages and in its operation in marriages, because all delights of heaven flow from the delights of conjugial love, like sweet waters from a gushing spring. It is therefore provided that conjugial pairs be born, and they are raised and continually prepared for their marriages under the Lord's guidance, neither the boy nor the girl being aware of it. Then, after a period of time, the girl - now a marriageable young woman - and the boy - now a young man ready to marry - meet somewhere, as though by fate, and notice each other. And they immediately recognize, as if by a kind of instinct, that they are a match, thinking to themselves as from a kind of inner dictate, the young man, 'she is mine,' and the young woman, 'he is mine.' Later, after this thought has for some time become settled in the minds of each, they deliberately talk about it together and pledge themselves to each other in marriage. We say as though by fate, by instinct and as from a kind of dictate, when we mean by Divine providence, because when one is unaware that it is Divine providence, that is how it appears. For the Lord unveils their inner similarities so that they notice each other. * See the narrative account in no. 316 below, which includes the same statement in almost the same words (316:3).