Hubby and I have been married over twenty-three years. Interesting how missions wove in and through that event, even before we dated.
We met at church. He, a praying guy who appeared magically after I’d been on a short term mission trip to Malaysia. Me, a freshly minted missionary girl, ready to start teaching English to hormonal seventh graders. We met in the fulcrum of missions…after Malaysia and before he took the trip of a lifetime to Kalighat, Mother Teresa’s Home for the Dying and Destitute.
Yes, he met Mother Teresa. Yes, she blessed him. Yes, he saw Jesus nearly every day. Yes, he came back changed.
In early December after being stateside a few days, we attended a missionary-ish concert with this guy singing. Patrick took my hand, my heart.
We started dating soon after on December 30, 1989. Ours was a desire to see the gospel flourish. We attended a church that took the Great Commission seriously. And we talked all sorts of missionary jargon.
In June, he asked me if I’d marry him, and I said yes, yes, yes.
On December 29, 1990 (one day shy of a year dating), we said our vows in a snowy chapel and began our lives together.
It took fourteen years before we fulfilled that early missionary vision.
In July of 2004, we stepped off the airplane onto French soil, loaded with expectations galore. Only none of them sung. Many went unrealized. And most were dashed. All that vigor and thrill replaced with unfulfilled hopes and dreams.
Yet we persisted. Longer than I thought I could maintain personal sanity. And when we came home to the Christian mecca that is Dallas, Texas, we felt the sting of defeat. Missionaries no more. Dreams no longer realized. Failure.
In times like that I have to remember that we were a couple before the overseas pain. We loved each other and vowed to keep doing so through thick and thin, domestic and abroad. We did realize a dream together, though it didn’t materialize quite the way we anticipated it would. Still, we took the risk.
And we wrestled through those broken dreams together stateside, sometimes arguing, sometimes silent, often prayerful, sometimes despairing. God saw fit to knit us back together, stitch by stitch.
We were a we before missions. And we are a we after. Thank God.
If this resonated with you, would you be willing to tweet?
Couples: You were a “we” before life & kids & ministry. You are a “we” now. https://www.marydemuth.com/marriage-missions/ (Click to tweet).
(This post originally appeared on Deeper Story).