Confession #59: Being a Missionary with Your Spouse is HARD STUFF!

Hunter & Jillian Being a missionary oversees is hard. Crazy hard.

But being a missionary oversees with your spouse is even harder. Crazy harder.

Just this past week these words were exchanged: I can’t wait until I don’t have to work with you anymore.

That’s hard stuff.

Working with your spouse 24/7, being vulnerable enough to allow them to see you at your worst (which often comes out while serving oversees), learning to balance your work relationship with your marriage relationship, struggling with cross-cultural issues together, and being loving and gracious in the midst of it all can be quite a challenge. A challenge, I will confess, that Hunter and I have yet to master- as if it is a skill can be perfected in the first place.

Last night Hunter and I went out on a date- our first one in months. It was taco night at a local restaurant, so what better timing? When we came home we put the kids to bed and then sat on our front porch and spent some much needed time in prayer together- praying for Emmaus House, for the kids still back at the orphanage, for our future, for finances, for our kids, and especially for our marriage.

We talked to God about our marriage prior to Haiti. We thought we had it down to a perfection. And we talked about our struggles here in Haiti with one another. Knowing full well it is the devil’s desire for us not to be united, we prayed to God for protection from the evil temptations to fight, pick at each other’s weaknesses, and pull away from one another. We prayed for God to protect and strengthen our marriage, because we know that the two of us united is stronger than both of us divided.

I share this with you all not to freak you out. Truth be told, our love for each other is growing everyday. But there are days, when life here can be so complex, and living in the midst of that with each other sometimes means we don’t like each other. My tendency to micromanage everything I touch and Hunter’s carefree personality clash pretty much on a daily basis here in Haiti. But that is the hard truth of being a missionary with your spouse.

Being a missionary isn’t all rainbows and beautiful adventures. Let me just confess. We thought it was when we moved here, but quickly realized otherwise. Is it life changing and completely worth every blood, sweat, and tear? If you are in the will of God, ABSOLUTLY!  But let this missionary be honest for a second: being a missionary is not for the weak marriage. And sometimes, it can even rock the strong ones too. Being a missionary is for the marriage that is flexible, understanding, and willing to grow at paces and in ways that one could never imagine. Being a missionary with your spouse, I have come to learn, could be the best or worst thing you ever do in your marriage. The choice is ultimately up to you.

Hunter and I, we are choosing to make our experiences here in Haiti be the best thing that has ever happened to us. This choice, I might add, is something we have to wake up and remind ourselves of everyday. It is a choice that can be easily forgotten or lost in the midst of constant stress. But it is one of the best choices we have ever made.

For those of you who know a missionary couple, encourage them. Trust me, they need it.

For those of you who are looking to become a missionary couple, prepare to get to know the best and worst of your spouse. It is not going to be easy. But also remember that God is over your marriage, so ask Him now to strengthen you as needed.

And for those of you who are already serving somewhere together in this big old world we live in, KUDOS. May God grow you and your spouse into a powerful force for His kingdom.

Being a missionary with Hunter is hard stuff, but I love it all at the same time. I wouldn’t want any other partner here in Haiti. Together, God is making us into better people. We aren’t perfect and we mess up quite often, but at the end of the day, our love is stronger.


8 Comments on “Confession #59: Being a Missionary with Your Spouse is HARD STUFF!

  1. Very well written. Living here can be very much a refining process which brings up all the junk from one’s life to the top to be skimmed and burnt off. To often in my life I tried to hid the junk but here it is harder to hid especially as you noted when you often work and live with your husband 24/7. Praying for you.


    • Agreed. But you know what, I am glad we are being forced to see the “junk” in each other. Our relationship is better for it. But it also requires a lot of grace! Thanks for the prayers.


  2. Marriage is hard. Period. It is what you make of it, whether in the US or Haiti or where ever you and in this big old world. There are always challenges. I live the in the USA and you know when I last went on a date with my hubby? Me either. Our challenges are just different because of the life we choose.


    • I agree, marriage is hard no matter where you are in this world. My husband and I haven’t gone out in 3 years by ourselves! We as Christians are all in this together and we should all pray for one another. Satan would love to destroy a Christian marriage so let’s pray for all of us. So please know Jillian that we are all feeling the same. Feel free to email if you ever like to.


      • Kelly, thanks for the encouragement. I know Satan would love to destroy marriages- especially those that have been given to God. But we refuse to let him have that foothold in our lives. He doesn’t stand a chance! We will join you in prayer for Christian marriages all over the world!


    • I agree. Marriage is hard no matter where you are. If I was still in America, I’m sure I’d still have a blog to write about how tough it is being married. These are just the challenges we are facing now because of the life we are living.


  3. Thank you, Jillian for being so transparent. It is so much harder to do marriage here. It requires so much extra attention and effort to keeping the little things from tearing you apart. Hard to understand until you’ve lived it. Thanks for putting it out there so people can know how to pray more specifically.


    • Marriage is hard no matter where you are just different circumstances and issues that arise. The battle is everywhere no matter if you are in China or South Dakota. As sisters in Christ let’s pray for one another and be marriages that glorify Him. Jillian looks like you touched on a good topic by all the comments posted! I guess because we all feel the same,


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