Living in a tiny, developing country as a missionary sometimes feels like you’re living on an island. (I know this because I’ve watched multiple seasons of Survivor!)
Any missionary will tell you, it’s hard to make friends. We know and love our neighbors but it’s not the same. There are missionaries nearby but we’re all flying around like bees. It’s hard to get together more than a few times a year.
And every once in a while,
you find that couple or family,
you spend time with them,
they go back “home”,
to the States.
That’s our reality. Ask ANY missionary you know.
So, here’s my confession, and let me just say, I’ve told my wife.
I have a girlfriend. Don’t judge me. If you’re married, you know marriage is HARD! Taking care of 4 adopted kids is hard. Taking care of a community can be hard. Being there for everyone else is HARD. My wife and I rarely get time alone.
With a girlfriend you don’t have everyday pressures. You can date. You can have quiet time together. You have those butterflies that you had before marriage.
I call Vonda “my girlfriend”. I do it as a reminder to never stop dating her. To remember why I fell in love with her. To stir those butterflies and never let them rest.
I plan a 4-5 hour getaway, once a week. We keep it simple. We drive together. We grab a late lunch or early dinner. Sometimes she’ll paint and I’ll read. Sometimes we’ll TAKE A NAP! But it’s all without kids. (MIRACLE) We do it to protect our marriage covenant.
If your marriage isn’t 100% solid, don’t become a missionary. You won’t fix your marriage on the mission field. Living in another country, will only magnify your problems.
My girlfriend and I have been married for 22 years and the last 10, have been intoxicating. I wish you the same. Maybe start by calling her your girlfriend?