In my opinion, this mistake is one of the largest missionary mistakes that can be made. The Lord has been gracious to me, but sadly I believe there have been many times that I have harmed my family and the ministry. Missionary Mistake #11 concerns Teamwork in the Marriage.
We all know that marriage is one of the greatest decisions after salvation, but I would like to discuss the mistake a missionary can make while serving on the field. When God leads a man to the mission field, God leads a family to the mission field.
I have been guilty many times of running without making sure my wife is by my side. We must not forget that God joined us together and we are now a team. We married to do more for God together than we could individually. How many times I could have been saved from headaches and heart aches if I would have only talked things over with my wife. Of course God has placed me as the head of the family, but don’t forget that we are a team as well. If I would have listened when my wife told me that someone had wrong intentions, that a certain person was not truthful, a certain idea was not wise, etc … I could have saved myself from many heart aches. Things that have been stolen, people that have hurt us, ideas that were not wise and much more could have been avoided if I would only have worked as a team and not a one-man player.
I thank the Lord for my wife. At the beginning of our honey moon, we knelt down and gave our marriage and future to the Lord. God has given me a wonderful wife, … and she is part of me and together we are in the ministry.
As we approach another year, I am placing goals and new plans before me. If God was so good to me in giving me a wonderful wife, how can I be so ignorant in neglecting the team work. We have had people come and go in the ministry, but my wife has always been by my side. She puts up with me and continues to love me. I desire to spend quality time with my wife and let her know that I love her. I desire to work together, pray together, discuss ideas and see the wonderful hand of the Lord bless and work in and through us.
I Peter 3:7 teaches me that I must live with my wife according to knowledge so “that your prayers be not hindered”. I must be honest in saying that I have preached before not being right with my wife. I don’t believe the Lord has used me how He could have either. But I am thankful for the fact that my sweet wife has forgiven me many times and even put up with certain things so that the ministry could go forward. My wife has not stopped me nor been selfish so that the ministry is not hindered. I know the wife can help or hinder her husband in the ministry, and I am thankful that God has given me a wife that helps me.
So I challenge every missionary to consider this mistake. Set a time aside to write a list of things that would help strengthen your marriage. Agree that God has placed you together and God has given you a job … and agree that you will help and not hinder the ministry. Do not be jealous of the ministry or hold back, yet at the same time do not neglect and forget about the family. Listen when it is time to listen, love and be there for each other. Your wife will be there when other church people will abandon you.