Missionary Care

Missions and Mental Health Resources from Ron and Bonnie Koteskey

Missionary Single Issues

The proportion of people living as singles is increasing in Western cultures. In fact, there are more unmarried adults than married ones in some Western countries already, and the trend is toward that in other countries as well.

Ron has written a series of brochures, “Cross-Cultural Singles Issues,” to help individuals deal with some of the situations that arise when singles serve in other cultures.

You may also be interested in downloading the entire series as an e-book.


The Bible discusses several kinds of love because its languages had different words for them. This brochure presents three major kinds of love found in Greek and in recent research, and it discusses which kinds are all right for single missionaries.

Celibacy and Chastity: 

Today celibacy and chastity are nearly synonymous, but years ago they meant quite different things. This brochure discusses these different meanings and what these concepts mean to single missionaries.


Single missionaries know that loneliness can be a major problem. Here are some things that cause loneliness as well as suggestions to help overcome it.


During adolescence in Western culture most people go through a period of role confusion before developing their identity. Single missionaries have fewer roles available to them, so here are some suggestions about available roles in both host and passport cultures.

Sexual Fantasy:

Most people at some time in their lives engage in sexual fantasy. This brochure considers what the Bible says about such fantasy, what changes have occurred since Bible times, and what single missionaries can do to cope with this fantasy.

The Ticking Clock: 

Turning thirty or forty makes single missionaries who want to marry and have children realize that time is running out for them. This brochure offers suggestions for those who are not content with their singleness.


Single missionaries are more likely to be asked to share living quarters with others than are married missionaries. It seems to make financial sense to the agency, but it may lead to serious problems with the missionaries. Here are some suggestions.


Matchmakers have been around for thousands of years, and new kinds of matchmakers continue to be developed. Here are some suggestions about using them, and possible responses to self-appointed ones.

Contentment and Comparison: 

The Bible talks about both contentment and comparison and the results of each. Here are some ideas to keep comparisons from leading to envy and destroying you contentment.

The New Singleness: 

In many cultures marriages were arranged while people were still children. A couple centuries ago Western culture invented adolescence so that everyone went through a period of singleness and people became responsible for finding their own spouses.

Is Singleness OK? 

Both Jesus and Paul were single and encouraged others to be single as well. For many centuries most missionaries were single, and they spread Christianity around the world. Only recently have the majority of Christian missionaries been married.

Single Again: 

During most of the 2000 years of Christianity divorce was quite rare. However, during the last two centuries, divorce in the Western world has made becoming single again commonplace.

Arranged Marriage: 

Many people today confuse arranged marriage with forced marriage. This brochure gives an example of how arranged (not forced) marriage worked well, how it worked among Christians in one culture for half a century, and how compares it with many arranged marriages today.


Two hundred years ago most people in Western culture condemned masturbation, a common practice among singles. Today most people in Western cultures approve of it. The Bible does not mention it, so single missionaries must decide for themselves.

Safety and Security:

Singles know that they face some security issues while in their dwelling, on the street, on public transportation, and in other public places. Here are some suggestions for both men and women.

Finding Community:

Singles may have difficulty finding close friends. Here are some suggestions about international churches, other agencies, international schools, and the business world as well as TCKs.

About the Author



Ron and Bonnie Koteskey are Member Care Consultants with Go International.

They have provided member care for missionaries since 1997.