@Kelly_Mesz That is a great question and I am afraid I cannot give a definitive answer, but I can offer some perspective. Missions agencies I have considered require husband and wife, at a minimum, to be in agreement that the Lord is calling them to missions. Sometimes they even require both spouses to be qualified to be missionaries. So I think there is a recognition that missions work is difficult on a relationship even when both people are fully committed.
A relationship has been compared to a team of oxen pulling a plow for the Kingdom. If one ox is trying to pull in one direction and the other is just sitting there or going off on a tangent, all kinds of chaos will ensue. Part of a healthy relationship is having a shared vision that both people can agree upon.
Here is an excerpt from the Cru website about their expectations for couples who want to join that I think is helpful.
"We consider every married couple who desires to join our ministry to be a husband and wife team; therefore, couples must be in agreement as to their leading to the Cru ministry, and both must apply and be accepted as staff. For couples without dependent children, both husband and wife should be committed to full-time ministry involvement with Cru. If an applicant is engaged and plans to marry prior to joining staff or within the first year on staff, the fiancé must submit an application if they are desiring to join Cru staff.
If only one spouse desires to join our staff they must complete the application process similar to any other new staff applicant. Because our ministry considers couples to be a husband and wife team, the non-staff spouse agrees to be a “Spousal Affiliate.” A Spousal Affiliate meets Affiliate Staff acceptance requirements, although not required to carry on any Cru ministry activities. Spousal Affiliates stay connected with Cru by once a year meeting with their spouse’s supervisor or a local H.R. leader and once every three years attending their spouse’s staff conference or Cru’s biennial national conference."
The Importance of Keeping Our Vows
One one level, marriage is itself a vow and a commitment to sacrificially love another person. Of course, if there is abuse of any form then a person should and must get out of an abusive situation. But if we have made a commitment to sacrificially love another person I think that keeping that vow is a witness to the watching world - we can be missionaries where we are at right now. As my seminary professor said, we can ‘bloom where we are planted’.
Consider Psalms 15, where David describes what a righteous man is like - part of being righteous is ‘keeping a vow to one’s own harm’ - keeping your word. And marriage is a big promise. So I think that when it comes to married couples if both are not on board, that generally the one who is more on fire for Jesus should sacrificially love their spouse and their community, praying that perhaps their spouse may grow and feel that same call one day as well.
O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
Regarding Seeking a Spouse
On a lighter note, I have known people who felt God had told them to marry a specific person. But that person disagreed quite strongly. In that case, it is certainly a sign that it is not God’s will Sometimes our wishes can mislead us.
Hope those thoughts give you some perspective. May Jesus give you peace and guidance as you seek to bloom where you are planted and discern His call for the future!