Marriage & Living Abroad


I have read several blogs recently on marriage and living abroad.  Marriage , itself, is a challenge, and then add to it the stresses of language, culture shock, ministry demands, children-issues abroad, difficult living conditions…  Well, let’s say, the plot thickens.

I spoke to a ladies’ group once saying, “You all live with your husband 24/7 and see how easy it is!”  My audience responded in a way that said to me, “YOU are a spiritual worker!  You should not be having problems in your marriage.”  I don’t know where that idea came from.  My experience has been that EVERYONE struggles at many times, in many ways in living with their spouse.

Probably the most eye-opening advice I ever got from my pastor’s wife was:  your husband is not perfect, nor are you.  That freed me from expecting him to be perfect, and from feeling guilty when I was not perfect.

It was during an especially difficult time in our marriage when the same woman asked me:  Is it possible this is a spiritual attack?  When the family, my marriage, my children are vital areas of ministry, it would make sense that if the foundation can be attacked  and harmed, the whole structure is harmed.

The area that I struggle with may be different from the area that is hard for you.  But the answer, the solution  is the same for all of us.

1) Christ is the answer to everything.  A call to God for help will not go unanswered.

2) Practicing , by God’s grace, I Corinthians 13 saves many from harsh words and acts that can only be regretted later.

3) And finally, (this is hard) a good, honest conversation with your husband/wife will clear up miles of misunderstanding.

Maybe this example can illustrate the last point.

I sat on the edge of the bed, weeping, my hands over my face. My husband was there. We had just talked about a project that would work for the ministry. I must have pushed too hard for MY side, because he, like a bear in a corner, said, “You always think you have to have your way.”

So I did what any wife who thinks she has just been terribly misjudged; I crumpled. He had read my good intentions, interest, and support as control.  I started crying.  Between my sobs I said, ” I just have ideas. I don’t mean to take over.” And then all the misunderstanding melted away.

Such a little I can write on such a huge matter.  May God give you grace and help in time of need.

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:16

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