Pat and Chris felt called into missionary work, but they ran into difficulty when they responded to that call and were raising funds to go. Pat’s father, not a believer, was quite upset with them for going. He calculated how much money he had invested in Pat’s education and was very disappointed that Pat is going to “drop into oblivion” and not realize his potential. His father did not raise the issue when Pat went on a short-term trip because he thought that would “get it out of Pat’s system,” and then he would get on with life here at home. Pat and Chris had gone to the field anyway and his father did not say much about it anymore, but they knew he did not approve.
Now that Chris is expecting a baby, her mother is disappointed in them. Though her mother is a believer and understands why they are serving overseas, she talks constantly about the heartache she feels when she realizes that she will not be there as her only grandchild grows up. She had always thought she would be like Joseph when his grandchildren and great-grandchildren “were placed at birth on Joseph’s knees” (Genesis 50:23). Instead, she will not even get to see them until long after they are born.
When parents place implied “demands” on their missionary “children,” it may bring tension in a marriage relationship. With a parent pulling one way and the spouse pulling the other, people may feel caught in the middle. These situations may arise at any time during a marriage, but let us consider some of the most common times and some solutions to the problems that may arise. The suggestions that follow are listed under particular situations, but they may be useful at any time.