Missionary Marriage Issues: I’m Marrying a National!

  • Approximate Time Commitment: 10 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.

To read more from the Missionary Marriage Issues series


Resource Description


Living as a single person without adequate social support in another culture can be very lonely. It is common for people to marry someone they meet while serving in their host culture, and it has been so for many years.

Dorothy Carey’s sister, Kitty, had agreed to help Dorothy with her children in India, but that did not last long.

November 11, 1793, Kitty arrived in India.
February 6, 1794, Kitty met Charles Short.
November 15, 1794, Kitty married Charles.
A year and four days after she arrived in India, she married a man from her passport country, a man she had known for nine months.

Though William Carey’s marriage to Dorothy was undesirable, he remarried soon after her death.

December 8, 1807, Dorothy died.
May 8, 1808, William married Charlotte.
Five months after Dorothy’s death, William married a cross-cultural worker from Germany, a woman he had tutored in English eight years earlier while living in India.

Just as singles do marry expats from their passport culture and expats from other cultures, they frequently marry nationals from their host culture. Such singles have usually lived in the culture for some time and have developed an understanding and appreciation of the host cultures even though they are quite different from their passport cultures. Though the couple realizes they are different because of their cultures, they are “sure” that their love will overcome any problems that arise because they are not from the same culture.


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