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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Should Marriage Be an RM Priority?

Dear Bro Jo,

I have a situation that needs your advice.

I am a 24 year old LDS female so I have been in the LDS YSA dating field for awhile now.

Last year, I had the opportunity to move to another country to go to graduate school.

The Church here is very small so there is a very limited supply of dating LDS guys.

2 months ago, a new guy moved here to go to the same graduate school. He is also LDS. He's 26, returned missionary, very active in the gospel, worthy priesthood holder who upholds all of his covenants, temple worthy, and is an all around great guy.

We have hung out quite a bit, and with each meeting, we learn more about each other. The more time we spend together, the more my feelings for him develop.

Sometimes it is just the two of us when we hang out. He's shared personal things about his life, family, and future goals with me, and I've shared similar personal things with him.

Last week, we discussed why each of us is still single, and his response is that he may be putting it off because he has so many life goals. He seems like a very independent person, and it seems that getting married is not on the top of his list.

Since he is an active returned missionary who is active in the gospel, shouldn't getting married be on the top of his list, especially if he is 26?

What is wrong with some of the LDS single men that feel it is not their priority to get married or at least work towards it?

I've been hurt in the past so I have reservations about opening myself up to people I have feelings for. I have never been very good at expressing my feelings, and I am wondering if I am giving him any hints at how feel about him.

Sometimes when he looks like at me, it feels like he is looking right inside of me seeing the whole me. I've never felt like this before when someone looks at me like that. This feeling is intoxicating and incredibly frustrating all at the same time because I don't know how he feels about me.

Sometimes I think he has to have feelings for me if he shares so much with me, but then sometimes he is so independent that it makes me feel like he doesn't have feelings for me. Is it possible that he just wants me as a friend?

How do I make it known that I want more than that in my life?

If I do tell him my feelings about him, I don't want it to be awkward since our church branch is so small here.

I've prayed about him and the situation between us, and my mind keeps being drawn towards him. Does that mean I shouldn't give up on him?

Any advice would be helpful to ease the mental turmoil that I am in.



- Inept in Relationships

Dear Sister, 

(I don't know that I'd call you "inept" . . . "naive", maybe; definitely "lacking in confidence" . . . but not "inept")

You raise a common question: what exactly is wrong with Return LDS Missionary Men who are still single at 26?

Should marriage be a priority for Young Single Adult RM Men?

Church Leadership certainly thinks so.

And so do I.

You've also discovered the answer to why many of them don't:  they're living only for themselves.

You can call that Selfish if you want.

And Sister Jo would say that you're absolutely correct if you do.

(It's a problem not just exclusively with the Young Men, by the way.)

Clearly your biggest mistake is that you're "hanging out".

How is he ever going to see you as a potential date if you don't act like a girl who should be dated?

And why would he ever ask you on a date if you don't require that kind of effort?

After all, we are talking about a guy who's pretty inept himself when it comes to relationships.

The guy needs some training, and it's probably going to be up to you to be the trainer.

Don't make things too easy for him, but put your "teacher" hat on.

"You know, you and I spend lots of time together. You may not be ready for anything serious, and frankly I'm not either, but I deserve to go on some dates with a nice, smart guy. You're the only one around that qualifies, so you're taking me out this weekend. Do it right. No hanging out. Come up with a plan, and then call me or better yet, bring me some flowers, and ask me on a date. Trust me, I'll say 'yes'. But don't make me wait too long, a girl needs time to plan." 

Then kiss him on his cheek, give him a hug, or touch his arm or something and walk away.

If he doesn't bite, he's neither as nice nor as smart as we're both hoping.

And if that's the case, you'll need to move on.

Good luck!

Let me know how it goes,

- Bro Jo


Anonymous said...

It's only been 2 months. Calm the freak down. There's no reason why he has to be attracted to someone in that short amount of time.

For all you know, there may be someone else.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how so many times we females confuse "I totally have a big old fatty crush on this guy and I want to be with him all the time and can't get him off my mind" with "The Spirit is working on me, trying to bring us together." Guess what? EVERYONE has those feelings for someone eventually, no matter if they have the Spirit with them or not. Also, the Church has come out and said there is not one person meant for everyone - so basically you can be happy with whoever you choose to be happy with. With that in mind, I don't know that any member of the Godhead works too hard to bring two people together. I mean, it may happen, but it's probably the exception rather than the rule. How many apostles have ever said in Conference, "The Spirit testified to me that she would one day be my wife" - none to my knowledge. Mostly they tell stories about how "I really liked this girl, and worked hard to get her."

It's also pretty silly of this guy to be putting off marriage because "he has so many life goals." You can still work towards goals when you are married - and it's even better, because you have your spouse there with you cheering you on, and encouraging you every step of the way. It may be harder as children come - but even still, the fulfillment you get from having your family will only increase your joy as one reaches their goals!

Communication will be the only way for this Sister to know what this kid is thinking. But at the end of the day, if he doesn't wisen up and ask her on a few dates, no amount of pining, fasting, or praying can make him settle down and/or get married.

Anonymous said...

I like your advice to this girl in general. I too feel that an RM in his mid 20's should have marriage as a priority. The only thing that rubs me the wrong way is the following quote:

"If he doesn't bite, he's neither as nice or as smart as we're both hoping."

I have always had a problem with these remarks about guys. They portray an attitude such that the girl is of higher value than the guy, that the girl can be selective about the guy she chooses to like from a variety of guys, but if a guy doesn't choose to like her back it's his loss. It takes away the guy's ability to choose from a variety of girls.

Has it ever occurred to you that if he doesn't bite, he is NOT less nice or less smart because of it? Has it ever occurred to you that if he doesn't bite, he is simply not interested in or attracted to that particular girl? Has it ever occurred to you that he can develop an interest for a different girl that he finds more attractive or to be a better fit, with whom he can share a happy future, and that he loses no value because he didn't have an interest for the girl that wrote this post? Has it ever occurred to you that such a guy can be further along in an interest for a different girl than the original post girl doesn't even know?

I don't like it when people try to comfort a girl that a specific guy may not like by bringing him down. It's a very unhealthy practice to raise a girl up by talking to her about a guy in such a way that brings him down. We shouldn't elevate others by bringing others down in general. That principle makes so much sense, yet it's often overlooked in the dating world.

Anonymous said...

I think it's silly to write off the guy as being selfish just because the guy hasn't asked her to marry him within the short time frame that they've known each other (assuming that they've known each other for less than six months). These things take time! You don't know the guy's insecurities about commitment. Maybe he's had earlier life struggles that make him hesitant to get into a relationship. Maybe he wants to get to know other girls too. Maybe this girl isn't the girl of his dreams and he doesn't want to settle just to fulfill an obligation. How miserable would that be!

Yes, the Lord commands us to make marriage a priority, but He never said to do it in haste. He is always about order. Even President Monson has counseled that it is better to have a long courtship and a short engagement. That is the way to go, in my opinion. If this girl is from Utah, then she must realize that Mormon culture is not the same everywhere. In other words, don't judge the guy to be selfish just because he hasn't asked you to marry him three months after meeting. Chill out and enjoy life.

Bro Jo said...

Dear Anon,

Sometimes our personal battles color the letters we read here.

I invite you to read this letter again. I'm not suggesting that she write him off because he hasn't proposed; I advised her to encourage him to finally ask her on a date.

And he hasn't said anything about personal struggles; he's hung his hesitation on his desire to "do stuff".

If people consider him selfish I suspect that's because, in his own words . . . he is.

No one is urging haste; we're suggesting action, some form of movement, instead of doing nothing.

It's one thing to be relaxed (or composed), it's another to be lazy.

- Bro Jo