Things to know

Regularly read by 50,000+ readers in over 140 countries around the world, "Dear Bro Jo" is published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday (with occasional additional posts, too).

This is column is just one guy's opinion, and while he does his best to keep what he thinks, says and writes in-line with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Bro Jo is not a spokesman or authority for the LDS Church. (And Sister Jo thinks you should know that he's sometimes wrong, and often way too opinionated for his own good.)

Nothing here is meant to take the place of talking with parents, leaders, or Church authorities. Please, if you need serious help, talk to a trusted adult, leader, and / or professional counselor.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

What's a Good Age to Get Married?

Dear Bro Jo,

I love your blog!

It has helped me really see things in new ways!

Ok, so for my question. What's a good age to get married at?

I know it's different for all people and you should rely on the Spirit and it depends on maturity level and so forth.

But even though people say it totally depends on the person, I see them turn around and whisper about a 19 year old girl getting married and how it is way to young.

I guess I have hidden motives for this question... I'm not about to get married or anything but I am about to go to college. And I have been told by countless people that college is where many meet their Eternal companion.

I'm going to BYU-I and I've heard there are lots of potential husbands there. There's just one itsy bitsy problem: I'm only going to be 17!

I skipped a grade when I was younger, so I have always been a youngin.

It was hard enough watching all of my friends dating and even have to turn down dates before I was 16. Now I'll be thrown into BYU-I where everyone's dating to get hitched. And I'll just want to be dating around still.

Don't get me wrong, I have my sights set on the Temple and a family is first and foremost on my mind, but I'm nervous that if I do find the man I want to marry I'll only be 18.

My dad as told me countless times that if I meet the right one, I should not let him go just because I'm only 18. But I still hear from so many that 18 is simply too young and they don't care if the Spirit confirmed it or not.

I know it's mine and my future husband's choice and all but... I'm nervous in all honesty.

I could meet the man I know I want to marry, marry him, then have many people say I'm way too young without even knowing anything.

Or start dating, find the right one, and I'm still 17, and then I'll just have to wait.

Or meet the most amazing guy and he's three to four years older than me. And I'm still this 17 or 18 year old. Then what do I do?

I've been told I am a very mature girl for my age. I guess that's what being thrown in with the big kids does to a person.

But I am still nervous.

I'm sorry if that's really a pointless concern, but I am truly nervous. I appreciate any help!!!

- Too Young




Dear Young,

Not a pointless concern; a real one shared by many girls just like you.

It is an individual thing, but I personally don't think 19 is too young for a young woman to marry. 

(Neither does Sister Jo.)

I also believe that when a couple decides they should marry (in my world we call that a "proposal" - anything less is just talk), they should get married SOON. Especially if their goal is to get married in the Temple. Satan works very hard to keep couples from being worthy for Eternal Marriages; once you decide to get married, the temptations to do married people stuff become even stronger.

I define "married soon" as 2 - 4 months. Sister Jo says 3 - 6 months.

A year?

Wow!

That's a really long time . . . unless the couple lives in separate towns and is chaperoned when they're together! 

So . . . if a girl is seriously talking marriage at 18+, I'm not going to think she's too young. BUT, if a girl starts talking seriously about marriage at 17 . . . well, that freaks me out.

Because, for me, the line is 19.

I think 18 is too young. (Although I agree with your dad about not letting the relationship go; I would advise in those situations to Slow Things Way Down.)

That's why I tell young people, girls and guys, that until you're old enough to seriously be considering marriage as a possible relationship outcome, you shouldn't be Serious Single Dating.

I define "old enough" as 18+ for girls and post-mission for guys, so I think, college or not, you should still be Casual Group Dating at 17.

Sister Jo disagrees with me a little bit there, by the way.

She says that at 17, if a girl is mature enough to be in college, she's mature enough to start Serious Single Dating.

But even Sister Jo says that 16 is too young, regardless of how many grades a person has skipped. 

That's our take, anyway.


Now, that said, I think you should just relax and enjoy college!

Don't let stuff like this get to you.

When guys ask you out, and I certainly hope they're smart enough to, then don't take first dates too seriously.

Give every guy that's not "too old" or too creepy a chance.

Meet lots of new people, and have a Good Time.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

She Waited . . . He Came Home . . . and . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a young single adult .

Right now, I'm preparing to go on mission and I'm seeking advice about forgiving someone that I used to know.

The story goes like this;

I met a guy (he’s a member) 2 years ago. we were together in a relationship for almost 1 year. Then he went on a mission.

He's really nice and I became close to his family.

I was expecting that when he came back from his mission that things would pick up where we left off, but now that he's back . . . what does surprises me and I feel like he made me wait for 2 years for nothing.

That makes me think that he really lied . . . that he has left me with broken promises.

The only words I heard from him when he got back "I'm sorry that I promised you those things; I was afraid to be alone on my mission."

It sucks that we see each other every Sunday in the same chapel even in the institute and at Stake Activities.

I am really hurt.  It's been 5 months since he broke up with me I still didn't talk with him because of the pain he gave me.

He wanted me to be friends with him because he doesn't wanted his image being a Returned Missionary and as one of the siblings of our stake president to get ruined.

It seems what he has done to me hasn't affected him at all . . . like he has no conscience.

From that terrible experienced I am afraid of getting married.

Now he has a new girlfriend from another ward.  It's really obvious from the pictures that I've seen. 

His new girlfriend added me in a social website and tried to asked me about our past.

So,  Bro Jo, what advice you can give to me?

- Shattered Dreams




Dear Shattered,

The best way to feel better about our own circumstances is to be of service to others.

And no experience will give you more service opportunities than a mission.

You both made mistakes, it's time to move on. And I think five months is long enough you should have already done that.

At least he was honest with you.

And you, dear sister, have learned some very valuable lessons.

I promise you'll recover from this.

Just do me one favor, when you hear other girls talking about "waiting" for a missionary, about not dating anyone else while he's gone, when you hear missionaries asking girls to wait for them, share your story.

Sometimes the "wait" works, but most of the time it doesn't.

- Bro Jo

Monday, October 13, 2014

His Girlfriend Wants to Serve a Mission - Part 2

Dear Bro Jo,

We've been together for a while.

We have been talking about marriage as a "when" for about a month.

She said she wants to be married before her 21st Birthday (A year from next Friday).

She told me Sunday night last week.

She said she feels the spirit telling her to go.

I'm just torn about it.

I know there are other out there, but I don't want anyone else.

I love this girl.

I've dated a lot, had several Girlfriends, but THIS girl is almost make-believe like in how compatible we are.

Like I said, if she does go, I'll wait.

- Waiting




Dear Waiting,

No you won't.

And you shouldn't.

Just like it does when the roles are reversed, you'll need to date while she's gone and see what happens.

HOWEVER . . .

Could she be more obvious?!?!!

1) She's told you she wants to get married within the next year. (That can't happen if she's gone, bro.)

2) You've been talking about marriage for a while.

Dude, either she wants you to fight for her to stay, wants you to tell her that you can't live without her, wants reassurance that you're really going to get married (that means a ring and a date, my man) . . . or she's realized you're not the guy for her.

At least not right now.

Look, the prophets have been pretty clear, no young woman should postpone marriage for a mission; it's not required of girls the way it is of us.

So there's no way the Spirit is telling her go instead of marry you if the two of you would be a good eternal match.

This is no different for guys than it is for girls, a mission call is a break up.

When the person you're involved with puts in their mission papers, it's over.

You're supposed to go out there and date other people.

Choosing to "wait" for a couple weeks or months is one thing, but over a year is a mistake. You may miss too many opportunities, become a distraction to the missionary, and are making promises that, more often than not, don't work out.

Now maybe you'll still be single when she comes back, maybe you won't.

Maybe you'll still feel the same about her after the mission, maybe you won't.

Maybe she'll still be interested then, maybe not.

But that's too many "maybes" to put your life on hold, or hers either.

By the way, Sister Jo says that this girl is subtly telling you that if you don't make a commitment (which she believes is what this girl wants you to do), she's out of here, and if that's not the case, then Sister Jo thinks that this girl is trying to tell you . . . well . . . it's over.

Either way, you either let her go with the understanding that, at least for now (and likely forever), this is the end, or you go for broke, beg her to stay, and actually propose.

Let the Spirit help you know which is the right move, but don't count on being able to have it both ways.

Talk to her.

Lay it on the line.

Whatever the result, you'll always regret it if you don't tell her how you feel.

Good luck, and let us know how the talk goes!

- Bro Jo