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Monday, November 28, 2011

Is He Worth Marrying If He Didn't Serve a Mission?

Dear Bro Jo,

First off, I want to say I love your site. I am relatively new to it, but you seem very knowledgeable, and therefore, I hope you can help me out a bit...

I am in a very serious relationship, and we have frequently talked about getting married. Here's the catch: he's *age deleted* and still hasn't served a mission. I am absolutely crazy about him, and I know he feels the same way (he's told me)

He has told me that he wants to serve a mission. My thought’s "great idea!" (truly being supportive, not sarcastic). The downside: "where does that leave me?"

So here's the question (and the real point of writing to you) Do you think it is a good idea for him to serve a mission while he is in a serious relationship? Or should we get married and think about serving a mission together?

Thank you!

-Dazed and Confused

Dear Dazed,

Well . . . that depends on a lot of things . . .

Sister Jo and I teach the Jo girls, the two qualities they must absolutely insist that any spouse candidate have are:

1. be a worthy priesthood holder


2. be a hard worker.

Any guy that doesn't have both of those qualities is a potential disaster waiting to happen.

Being a Return Missionary is seriously preferred, but neither a requirement nor (sadly) a guarantee that he's a Good Guy (although most RMs are both hard working and worthy, so it does make it easier to find a Good Guy using that as a litmus test)

In my opinion, as I've written often, while he's serving, both of you should consider the relationship over, agreeing that the one at home will actively date while the missionary is gone. If that person is still single upon the missionary's return, then by all means date each other, but understand a lot happens in two years, and you may both find your feelings have changed.

So, no, I don't think he should serve a mission and still consider himself in a serious relationship. Nor do I think you should consider yourself still in a relationship if and when he goes.

Should you two marry?

Start by reading "Bro Jo's Five Reasons to Not Marry That Person" (also found in "Bro Jo's Guide to Relationships"). If he passes that test, then go through my "Things you need to know before you get engaged".

The thing is, Dazed, the WHY he's not serving is extremely important, and while not always true, that reason may indeed be a huge red "don't marry him" flag.

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

my husband didnt serve a mission because he went it to the military

i know alot of people will get mad at this but a misson is not for everyone :) no matter what the reason

if you love him and he is a good guy and he loves you then why not get married :)

-air-force wifey

Anonymous said...

I don't think the issue here is so much that the guy has not served a mission, but that she feels a need to receive confirmation of the relationship from someone she has never met- if she was secure in the realtionship, had fasted and prayed, and conferred with the man (and possibly her parents), and felt that the relationship is one that should continue, then I don't understand why she feels a need to get outside reassurance. No, a mission shouldn't be a "deal-breaker," but I'm wondering if there is more to her concerns.

Daisy said...

Bro Jo-
What are considered "honorable" reasons for a young man to not serve a mission? The only one I know of is health. Are there others?

Specifically--What about a new convert who is still of the right age, but doesn't feel like he's "obtained the word" and wants to spread the word at home instead?


Anonymous said...


-air-force wifey

Dave Johnston said...

Of course it is!

And, for those of you that might feel conflicted, one can certainly do both, military and mission. And many have.

Now, maybe I'm too stupid, but I have no idea what "feeling like you haven't obtained the word" is, nor can I imagine anyone saying it.

- Bro Jo

Daisy said...

Trying to understand and embrace the gospel yourself before trying to convince others to do the same?

But I asked him about it again recently and he stopped, look me right in the eyes, and said, "Daisy, I've been praying every night for months. I've gotten an unmistakable 'no' several times. I don't want to second-guess it anymore."

So I guess I'll stop worrying about whether it's "honorable." If it's the Lord's answer, it's honorable as far as I'm concerned.