What does the Bible say about long separations between spouses on the grounds that one goes to work in another country?

The question I will answer in this article refers to the long separations between spouses that go to another country to work:

After the fall of communism, more and more people (especially in Eastern Europe) go to work to other countries, because, they say, in their country they do not have all they need. On the other hand, many families separate or cause suffering, because to stay away from loved ones and from the the civilized world is sometimes not easy. How do you comment on this phenomenon and what do you recommend: staying in your country with your family and with fewer resources, or without resources at all, or risk going out and separate the family or, at best, suffering away from yours? I believe that God is the One that arranges all the things if we have faith in Him. Thanks in advance again and God help us!

It is best to stay with the whole family in their country to work, and if they have to go, then they should go with the whole family.

Unfortunately, the problem of long separation between spouses has seriously affected families in my country of Moldova. On 8th of March 2010 I watched a report on the Internet taken from my native village Lapusna and men were complaining that there no women to whom to give flowers, because more than 1,300 women (mostly married) from the village were gone to work abroad. This is a bad phenomena. But, let’s see what God says in the Bible about it.

The man and his wife form one body

In the book of Genesis chapter 2 is described the creation of man and woman and how God has joined them together. Towards the end of the chapter God says these words:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)(NASB)

Although he spoke this, when asked about divorce, these words of Jesus refers to the long separations between spouses, as well:

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate (Matthew 19:6)(NASB)

Long separations make spouses vulnerable to the temptations of Satan

In the Epistle to the Corinthians, when asked about how sexual relation should be in a Christian couple, the Apostle Paul wrote:

Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:1-5)(NASB)

The commandment is very clear and it says to the spouses not to deprive one another and should fulfill their marital duty and the reason is not to be tempted by Satan because of their lack of self-control. With the departure of one of the spouse for long periods, Satan begins to tempt both of them and there are very often the cases lately, when the husband or wife is caught in adultery, or find someone else and want to divorce. Other times, because of these long separations between spouses serious suspicions arise that can not be justified, but that invalidates any relationship between spouses and eventually they come to the same place – the divorce.

Separations between husband and wife should not be long

One of the laws gives to the people of Israel regarding marriage, says:

When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall give happiness to his wife whom he has taken. (Deuteronomy 24:5)(NASB)

God wants to see strong families and because the first year of marriage is decisive in laying the foundation for the relationship between husband and wife, the man was freed from army and war, when the country will be in danger. A man should remain near his wife because of the family for a year and give happiness to his wife.

In fact, the only reason for a man to leave his wife and children for a long time is war or other cause that would jeopardize the rest of the family.

Even if he put heavy burdens upon the people, when the Temple of Jerusalem was being built:

Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbered 30,000 men. He sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month and two months at home. And Adoniram was over the forced laborers. (1 Kings 5:13-14)(NASB)

The king was ready to pay the costs of the often trips just to maintain the integrity of families of those laborers from Lebanon.

If one leaves, the whole family shall leave together

It is sad to see that people do not put value on their country and I believe that it is already a punishment in itself for a man to no longer to love his country. As you do not choose your parents who gave birth to you, so no one chooses the country he is born in, but has the duty to love it even as he loves his parents and to pursue the good of the country.  God did not let any commands in the Bible that would prohibit someone to go to another country to live. But if someone comes in the situation when he is forced to leave (and there can be many situations) is important to go along with the entire family. Here’s an example from the Bible:

Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there. (Ruth 1:1-2)(NASB)

By the way, through his departure, Elimelech did not have a better situation. After 10 years, his wife returned home as a widow and without their two sons.

About Christian ministers that go on mission trips

Married Christians ministers sometimes, or more often, get to be separated from their families, going on mission trips.  If it’s a long journey they have to go along with their families. When the Apostle Paul was rebuking the Corinthian Christians for judging him unfairly, he tells them:

Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord andCephas? (1 Corinthians 9:5)(NASB)

Reading this rhetorical question we find that the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas were taking their wives with them in their missionary journeys.

God help all married couples to give the same value and priority to families that He gives, so that they may be happy in their families and reflect the love of the heavenly home.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru