Confesssions of a missionary wife…

by mendibpng

May 17, 1997...little did we know that we two would be come SEVEN thirteen years later!

The vows that Ben and I wrote to each other for our wedding come back to me often. Maybe it’s because we have them posted on our wall or because it is my screen saver!  But when we wrote the words “I will always be committed to reconcilliation,” we had no idea how often they would ring in our ears AND how much work it would be to keep this promise. There are factors in play now that we didn’t have to worry about on that happy day thirteen years ago…we have five little people whose emotional and spiritual direction are our priority.  Living overseas, I have also found their physical needs to be a challenge–cooking enough food from scratch to adequately feed them, for instance, is something I spend a good deal of time every day working on.  Thankfully I have a haus meri (a lady we employ) who is a dear friend and helps me hang out the laundry and do the dishes…tasks which I would find hard to get done every day! 

In addition to our kids taking a lot of our time and energy to raise, we also daily deal with cross cultural issues.  For instance, last Friday, my haus meri came into the house really angry. The man who works in our yard didn’t eat his lunch (noodles and tinned fish) She told me angrily, “this is the fourth time he hasn’t eaten his food! It’s wrong to waste it.” In all the years she has worked for me (since 2002) I have rarely seen her upset, much less angry. I called Ben upstairs and the two of us asked her a few questions because we weren’t sure if he was sending us a signal–was he unhappy working for us? Were we giving him enough food? (It didn’t occur to us that he didn’t like noodles because every other Papua New Guinean we have known LOVES them and it is a treat!) We found out the next week by asking a third party (another friend who he works for) that he doesn’t like noodles. He thinks it gives him worms!  So althought this might seem like a small matter, I did feel a lot of stress until I knew the answer–I should make him two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch on the days he works for me.

Another thing that has an affect on our marriage is job stress.  The job of translation is HUGE. There are national translators depending on Ben to get exegetical checking done. These past two weeks he has been working literally night and day, rarely going to bed before 2 AM to get the final ‘cleanup’ of Luke done.  He told me this afternoon that he has two chapters left.  Not only that, but now that our teammates will be working remotely, Ben has to (and will) be taking on more administrative tasks.  And finally, he’s going to be teaching a Greek course starting next week. 

So these three things: kids, culture stress, and translation related work (not enough time to do everything needing to be done!) have made it hard to have short accounts with each other.  Our daily debriefing times together have gone by the wayside. And being committed to reconciliation is work.  Sometimes we can get caught up in the busy state of life and don’t have time to “be.” In just a matter of hours, a seemingly small issue can become huge…and by the time it has been discussed, we’re talking about “HOW” we are talking rather than the issue.  Yesterday all of these things came to a head. And once again we realized that we need to work on stress management–both of us dealing with stress differently. We both need support in the tasks we do. And we need to work in some time for “FUN” in the midst of all the other self-care strategies each of us needs to pick up again. One of the ways we have managed to get a date in (where we have no movie theaters, no restaurants to go to!) is to put the little ones to bed, and send the older kids to their rooms with a quiet activity (to read a book or whatever). Then we can have an uninterrupted dinner, watch a movie, or play a table game together.


3 Comments to “Confesssions of a missionary wife…”

  1. Dear Mandy,
    Thanks for bearing your soul openly for us. Now we can pray for these specific concerns and encourage you in that way.

    -Aunt Hope

  2. good stuff Mandy. Thanks for sharing more of your heart!

    • Thanks Amy! I know you know what we are up against–we appreciate you guys and are thankful for your friendship! 🙂

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