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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Head Over Heels at BYU-Idaho - Part 2: Isn't it Good to Put Off Marriage for Your Education?

Dear Bro Jo,

Yeah, I'm sorry, I should have clarified: I am 21.

Quite college-age.

But before you get started on the lecture about putting off marriage, I should provide more context.

You see, my biggest fear is getting myself into the same situation as my mom was in, as well as her mother before her: being financially trapped in a toxic marriage due to poor education.

If my mom had gotten her bachelor’s degree, my childhood would have been a lot easier.

Of course I'm going to be extremely careful in who I choose to marry, but I also fundamentally need a safety net.

I need to be able to financially provide for myself and whatever future children on my own, if need be.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst kind of thing.

And that's where I also begin to take issue with having a crush.

It clouds my judgment.

For such an important decision as choosing a spouse, it's bad enough that it's impossible to make that decision objectively--a fact that has always given me more than a bit of anxiety.

But to develop feelings for someone prematurely--before there's even a relationship to base it off of, it feels like I'm flying blind.

Regular Dating with someone I have no prior feelings for is more comfortable, and I can accurately assess whether or not he's the right guy and I'm the right girl.

Anyway, I'm hoping to find a way to set these anxieties aside while still keeping my wits about me in such emotionally-charged things as crushes and dating.

Sorry for any earlier vagueness and thanks for your help!


Dear Heels,

I appreciate the context; it does shed some light on things . . .

At the risk of dissecting things that I don't have all of the information on (and don't really need, to be honest), you're not your mother or grandmother.

It's great to continue one's education beyond High School!

Whether it's a certain degree, completion of trade school, or specific training, it's all good.

(Spoken like a university professor, right?)

In fact, I recall several conference talks saying that even those who have completed that kind of additional schooling have been reminded to keep getting training and taking courses throughout life.

But lack of education is not the only reason, or dare I say even the main reason, that your mother was "trapped in a toxic marriage".

I'm not here to criticize your mother, or even your father for that matter, but I invite you to consider that there were several choices that were made, forks in the road if you will, that were taken and not taken.

There truly is no way to know exactly how a marriage is going to turn out before we wander down that path,  nor can anyone say with certainty that simply the act of competing her degree would have improved your mother's life.  But information is power.

I invite you to read to notes I've written which you can find on our Facebook page or in my "Guide to Relationships" book.  They are:



Bro Jo's "Five A's of Why NOT to Marry That Person"

(I'll bet your mother would like to have known some of the stuff in the first one before she said "I do", and I'll bet she can see some things in the 2nd one that she agrees with.)

I'm all about "hope for the best, prepare for the worst", but we can't put off happiness because we're trying to solve every possible "what-if".

At some point we have to take some risks, some leaps of faith, in order to know true joy.

You can use the articles I gave you above to help you assess whether or not a guy is the right guy, but you also need to know that crushes and attractions are BY DEFINITION the beginning of a relationship.

And, heck!

You're not even close to that yet.

You need to be going on some dates, preferably with guys Like This One that you find attractive and are interested in.

Look, I come from a family where most of my generation got divorced before I was dating age.

Of the 21 cousins, one has never been married, and only five of us have never been divorced.

When I was fresh out of high school I was convinced that I wouldn't marry until my late 20's early 30's. But then I met the future Sister Jo . . .

I ABSOLUTELY had a crush on her.

Still do.

I'm grateful that I didn't let her get away simply because I hadn't finished college, or as was the plan, bought a house yet.

Married or single there will, for nearly all of us, always be financial struggles; always be times when there doesn't seem like enough money.

Faith, hard work, paying your tithing, living within your means . . . all of those things help to bridge the gaps.

So . . . about this guy . . .

Maybe he likes you, and maybe he doesn't.

Maybe he's looking for a way to get up the courage to ask you out, and maybe he's too dumb to ask you out.

It's tough to say.

At Serious Single Dating age, which you are, so long as he meets the two major criteria: that he works hard at whatever he does (he has a job, so that's a good start) and he's a worthy and active priesthood holder (which you may not know him well enough to know yet, but could likely ascertain on a first date) then I say DATE HIM!

In your specific situation, I think you should pre-write your name and phone number on a card or in a note that says "call me", and give it to him saying "you should call and ask me out on a date sometime Soon".

I hope he's smart enough to call!

And then relax and enjoy.

After all, a first date is Just a First Date; you're a long way off from an engagement.

And just remember: no matter how bad your parents' marriage was, it still produced you, and that's a wonderful thing!

Keep me posted!

- Bro Jo


J-Dawg Fluffy said...

A very wise man once told me "The Lord can't pull you forward if you are keeping a hand on the exit." It took a lot of letting go of the exit for me to up and move across the country, go to school and get married, but so far things have (sometimes barely) worked out in the end.

BD said...

"For such an important decision as choosing a spouse, it's bad enough that it's impossible to make that decision objectively--a fact that has always given me more than a bit of anxiety."

Nope! Not true!!!! How you make decisions is entirely in your control! That's what the war in Heaven was about, no? To make your own decisions your way! Objectively, irrationally, calmly, quickly, it's all up to you. Sometimes it helps to momentarily step away from a situation in order to make those kinds of big decisions. But it's not always necessary, and I'd say you really shouldn't worry about those decisions until you get to them. Seems like you're worrying a bit more than is necessary at this stage. Just relax, have fun, and pray daily support and guidance. And again, HAVE FUN!!