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Friday, October 26, 2012

Mission Age Announcement Friday: Telling the Boyfriend that She Wants to Serve a Mission

Dear Readers,

While it's typically several months (sometimes a year or more) before an email I receive gets posted on "Dear Bro Jo", so many of you have thoughts feelings and questions related to the "Church Lowers Mission Service Age" announcement that I've decided to dedicate the next few Fridays to just that topic.

I look forward to your emails, questions, and our discussion of how this wonderful and amazing new course will change (if it does) our LDS dating culture and how it affects your lives.

Hope you enjoy the emails!

God bless,

- Bro Jo

Hello Brother Jo,

I love your blog and I you give great advice. So I have a question for you.

But let me start by telling you this. Conference weekend changed my life forever and I am so excited for my future. I was praying for an answer about where I should go to school and what major I should go

I got my answer! 

But I was so excited when they announced the new missionary age! I have wanted to serve a mission for years now.  Living in the North East I have been able to play musical numbers at many zone conferences and have been able to go out with the sister missionaries a lot. I was so happy to learn that I would be able to
serve the lord next year instead of waiting 3 years.

I am going on a mission and I can’t wait!  Being at conference and being able to hear the prophet at conference I know this is what I should do and I am so excited.

Now here is my problem:  I have a… “boyfriend” that is on his mission.

I can see you rolling your eyes now haha. BUT I didn’t plan on dating in high school. When I met my “boyfriend” (I will call him Sam) I didn’t want to be his girlfriend because he was preparing to go on his mission soon and we lived far away so I thought nothing of it when I started to talk to him. Well we talked every day for 6 months. We met at EFY and Sam lived in a different state. 

We had a “long distance” type of relationship. I got to see him a few times before he left on his mission. I ended up falling for him and we started to really care for each other. I made sure that I made it clear that I didn’t want to
get in the way of him preparing to go on his mission.  He told me that I really helped him prepare and that I was a really positive person in his life because his family life isn’t the strongest. I was happy that I was able to help him and it was fun watching him get ready for his mission.

Anyway the week before he left he told me that he wanted to marry me when he got home. I was so shocked that I said I had to wait to see and date you when you get back. I didn’t say I wanted to marry him back because he was about to leave. The whole thing was felt really weird..

I told him that I wanted to be able to date while he was gone because I will be going to college and I didn't want to be a missionary girlfriend that never dates any one and then it doesn’t work out and then regrets not dating. Sam said he was fine with me dating and I said that we could date when he gets back. He left on his mission and
I was so happy for him. But then he would tell me in his letters that he wants to marry me when he gets home and I told him that this is not the time for this to be telling me this and that he needed to focus . He said that he would stop and now his letters are more about his mission. I can see how much he has changed in the last few months and it is great. He really has a strong testimony now and I love that.

Ok so here is the problem I really love Sam but not enough to marry him. I don’t want to dear john him or anything, I want to support him and he still is my best friend. I want to be there for him, and to hear how he is doing.

But should I tell him that I going to serve a mission? I would end up leaving on my missionary a few months after he got back. I really want to keep writing him and support him but I feel like I should let him know that this is what I have chosen to do.

I told him before he left that I wanted to serve a mission with all my heart and I always told him that if I could I would go tomorrow, but now that is option (Well in a year). I want to let him know my plans to serve but I feel like this would hurt him a lot.  I want to tell him but don’t at the same time. The whole thing is bugging me and I am
thinking about it all the time.

Should I just let the subject go and not talk about it or should I tell him?

Any thoughts?


A girl who wants to serve a mission too!

I see no reason to, at this point, tell him of your mission plans.  If he asks, I don't think you should lie, but if he doesn't ask then I wouldn't say anything until you actually submit your papers.

In fact, until then I think you should keep going on Serious Single Dates with any decent, temple worthy guy that asks.

Remember, he's not your "boyfriend" because he's on a mission.

As for everything else, just enjoy life and wait to cross those romantic bridges when they come.

Don't ever let somebody pressure you out of doing the right thing.

- Bro Jo


Lindsay said...

What advice do you have for the girl who can suddenly go on a mission and wants to whose boyfriend is already an RM? How do you tell him?

Dave Johnston said...

That may depend on how close you two are . . .

I suppose you could start with "rather than marry you, I've decided to serve a mission".

Should be easy if he's not a good marriage choice for you.

Just remember, sisters have been taught not to put off eternal marriage and family for a mission.

Let us know how it goes!

(You can email me if you like at:

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

Girls please don't go on a mission if you're dating an RM! Just don't complicate things. Let the single girls be the ones that go if they want to. We guys accept that you girls are superior to us guys in every way, that we're like the scum of the earth compared to you girls, and that we may not even be worthy to be in the same date as some of you; our Church local leaders treat you and us in such ways that reflect those ideas. We admit our inferiority compared to you, you don't have to rub it in by going on a mission and doing it better than us. If you're single and don't really go on many dates, then great go. If you're not single (or you're single but get asked out constantly) then please don't go...please stay and be a blessing to a lucky guy and a lucky family that only you can create and nurture.

Dave Johnston said...

Is the comment above an honest plea?

Or just sarcastic and bitter?

Readers, what do you think?

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

I really hope that comment was said in jest. Or just really bitter.

My girlfriend told me a few days ago she wants to serve a mission. She turns 20 next week. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand i want her to have the great experience and blessings that come from serving. On the other hand, i wanted to marry her next year in between semesters at Byui. Ive decided I'll wait if she does go, but i really just wanna marry her.

Dave Johnston said...

@ Anon -

You shouldn't wait.

It's not likely you actually WILL wait.

And, more importantly, have you told her how you feel? Have you told her that you want to marry her in 8 months?

Have you proposed???

How can she possibly make this decision if she doesn't have all of the information?


If you've been together long enough to know you want to marry her, and you're in a Serious Relationship, there's no reason to wait.

Heck, I don't even think you should wait for June!

Marry her between semesters in JANUARY if you're lucky enough that she'll have you.

- Bro Jo

Anonymous said...

Maybe he and his girlfriend dont consider their relationship to be real serious and so he's afraid that she'll refuse to be married because she wants to go on a mission. In which case he should just cut his losses: if a girl doesn't have marriage in her immediate plans then don't waste your time. Sometimes a girl (or even a guy in the case of a girl) who is liked has to know that you won't always be there, that they can have you or you will move on. When someone you like knows that you like them and will be there no matter what (and you're not yet married) then they may not always take your desires seriously and will make you wait. After all they have you in the bag anyway, "so why not hold up marriage and do other things first." It's hard, but try that. Unfortunately there are fewer attractive girls now that want to commit to marriage than before, so it's hard, but they're out there! And if this girl chooses a mission over you, then you're valuable enough that another girl will appreciate you more, a girl who will know what she has and won't want to give it away.

Anonymous said...

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 Bday (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 GFs, but This girl is almost make-believe like in how compatible we are. Like I said, if she does go, I'll wait.

Dave Johnston said...

@ Anon -

Could she be more obvious?

1) She's told you she wants to get married within the next year.
2) You've been talking about marriage for a while.

Bro, 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