Missionary Marriage Issues: I don’t want to go!

  • Approximate Time Commitment: 20 minutes

Why write a book about issues in missionary marriages when so many books about marriage are available? The reason is because married couples living in cultures other than their passport one face some issues that make marriage more difficult than it is for people remaining at “home.”

The booklets found in this series cover many issues that married couples struggle with in the mission field. Each booklet has been read and edited by Bob & Norma Jean Erny who have read each chapter as it was written. They were each married more than 40 years to their first spouses, and after those spouses died, they married each other giving them more than century of marriage in three marriages.

Partner: MissionaryCare.com

Resource Description


Dorothy is a prime example of a spouse who did not want to go as a missionary. She told her husband she did not want to go. She told the agency she did not want to go. She told a prospective teammate she did not want to go. She refused to go repeatedly over a four-month period—even when William and their oldest son left for the field without her and the younger children. She finally consented to go after repeated meetings and essentially being threatened by another member of the team.

What happened?

As one might expect, Dorothy did not have a good experience as a missionary and tried to sabotage the work William was doing. She and William obviously did not have a happy marriage and a nurturing home for their children while they served on the mission field.

Another missionary couple was present during some of their disagreements, and the visiting husband wrote, “She has uttered the most blasphemous and bitter imprecations against him,…seizing him by the hair of his head, and one time at the breakfast table held up a knife and said, ‘Curse you. I could cut your throat…you rascal…God almighty damn you.’” Before she was confined, she followed William through the streets raving and railing against him.

Of course, Dorothy was an extreme case in that she became mentally ill and had to be confined most of the later years of her life. She even tried to kill William a couple of times while serving in India.


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