Marriage on a Mission

missionmarriagemainElaine Brautigam recalls being afraid to go to sleep. She dreaded the "Daktar! Daktar!" that would call her husband, Don, to some hospital emergency and banish her -- and their four young daughters -- to another long day alone. While the three-month mission sabbatical in Kenya intensified the action, the battle lines between work and family time were already entrenched in their marriage.

The tension surfaced early, especially when Don began his medical practice. Rather than choosing a more comfortable -- and lucrative -- option, he established the practice in Westfield, N.Y., so he could serve the small rural communities near where he grew up. This meant long hours and many interruptions to family time. Money was tight, because Don insisted his salary take the hit for any monthly shortfalls at the practice.

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