“Yes, but work toward a common vision.”
Don’t abandon someone just because they want to go to a different part of the world. Search for a reasonable compromise. Maybe you should both take the time and money to visit the parts of the world in which you each are interested. The fact that you both want to go overseas is already a good reason to seek what God might have for you together.
Answer from Mike, who served ten years in West Africa and North Africa on a Bible translation team with WEC International.
“Only if you can commit wholeheartedly to your spouse.”
Before I married, I was determined that God wanted me to go to Japan. In fact, before I married Susan, I told her more than once that if I had to choose between marrying her and going to Japan, I would go to Japan. (She envisioned being a missionary but had never seriously considered Japan.)
However, since getting married, I have come to realize the importance of my vow and responsibility to Susan according to God’s Word. Now, if I ever have to choose between staying in Japan and protecting my marriage and family, I would choose to protect my family.
In short, marriage should resemble the self-sacrificing love Christ has for his church; anything less does little good for the cause of Christ. If you’re not ready for such a commitment, then it is better not to marry.
Answer from John, who has served in Japan for nine years with SEND International.
“It’s more important to marry the right person than to go to the right mission field.”
I know a couple that met during the same three-week missionary training I was a part of. They went off to serve in different continents, then less than two years later they were married.
As I said on another post related to this topic, if the point of dating is marriage, do what you want. If you don’t have any intention of getting married, that is an entirely different topic. Just remember, you’ll be married a lot longer than you’ll be on any mission field. It’s more important to marry the right person than to go to the right mission field.
Answer from Eric, who has served in missions for five years in Singapore and the US, and currently serves with Joshua Project.
“Pray and seek God.”
I say both of you need to really seek the Lord and discover his will for your lives. It’s possible that one person’s call could shift a bit, or that a compromise is possible.
I was involved a few years ago with a man from Africa. He had always envisioned staying in Africa, though this was not my first choice. We decided the Caribbean could be a good compromise for us both. We decided not to move forward, but this was not the reason.
Now, my current “assignment” from the Lord is so specific, I couldn’t compromise. I am heading to India to begin ministering to the Israelis who travel there. If I am to have a partner in the near future, he will need to have the same focus.
Otherwise, in five or ten years it may be time for me to move on, and if I’m single, someone with a different calling could be suitable for me.
So pray, because it really depends on what the Lord has for you.
Answer from Monica, who has served for two years with YWAM.