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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Friday, January 30, 2015

When is it Okay to Date a Non-member? And When is it Not?

Dear Bro Jo,

You are AMAZING, by the way. I am astounded by the amount of time and effort that you take in giving people advice and lending a helping hand to those of us who need it when it comes to that lovely thing called dating. 

I am an 18 year old girl just starting her freshman year of college. AAAND one of the lovely (and sometimes horrible) things about college...is that there are BOYS here!

I'm no stranger to the world of dating. Of course I've never had a boyfriend...because I am just not that age yet, but I've gone on lots of dates and have had a whole lot of fun!

There were times when I was probably too serious than I should've been...but for the most part the dating thing has been fairly smooth sailing.

I've always dated LDS kids....and as far as I understand it's a rule in my house to only date Mormons. 

Well now I've gone and met this really great boy.

He is hilarious and nice and just treats everybody so sweetly.

Even before we started talking to each other we were making faces at each other during choir class and dancing around whenever one of us would look in the direction of the other.

When we did start talking we hit it off super-fast....and we pretty much don't STOP talking.

Everyone said he liked me...and now HE has admitted it to me.

But...he's not a member.

He grew up going to a high school with a huuuge percentage of Mormons before he moved up here to go to our lovely little community college. So he knows A LOT about the LDS faith and can sometimes answer questions about the church faster than I can.

He really respects my standards and does his absolute best (and he does REALLY well) not to swear around me or say anything that would make me feel uncomfortable. And he gets after other people who swear around me.

If they swear and I'm near by he quickly says "Hey don't swear, she doesnt like it".

But then again....I am also pretty sure he drinks beer...and I KNOW he's not a virgin...and that he does swear and talk about gross things when he isn't with me. His family is sorta weird....his brother grows weed....

His mom is apparently really nice though and super Christian.

That's pretty much all I've been able to pick up about his life outside of me.

Sooooo I know he's not good for me... But whenever I'm, around him I just know that I am safe.

I try to be around him as much as I can because I know that I won't have to listen to all the vulgar stuff all the other kids are talking about and that if anyone does start...he puts a stop to it.

And just everything about him just makes me feel better about everything.

He offered to drive me and my friend home (even though it was out of his way) and we sang Christmas songs the whole time.

I don’t think I've been that happy with someone in a long time (and I am a veryyy happy person)! I can't help but like him. and I think he might start asking me about whether or not I have feelings for him....

I've avoided the subject thus far. I am just not sure what to do with this situation!

-SOS!
(even though this is college...not a ship)




Dear SOS,

Missionary Opportunity!

You have no business wasting your time dating a guy that can't take you to the Temple.

So when and if he asks, that's what you should tell him. In a nice way, of course.

For example you might say "you're a great guy, I really wish you were a member of the Church so we COULD go out, but I'm very serious about Temple Marriage when the time is right, and I need to date people that are serious about that, too".

If he says something agreeable, like he thinks that's great, then follow with "then why don't you come to Church with me this Sunday?"

If he argues that you should date him regardless of his faith, then you could respond with "any man who really cares about me will care about how I feel about this".

And let that sink in.

Stick to your standards.

And if I'm too late and you've already started dating, then stop.

Go back to square one. Tell him about your commitment to Temple Marriage, even though your relationship with him may not be at the marriage point yet.

And then invite him to Church.

If he won't go, then you need to move on.

And don't, DON'T, let him use physical stuff to try and persuade you.

Not that you would.

Or he would.

But it needs to be said.

A man can't love a woman he doesn't respect, and you can't respect someone who drops their standards, even if you're the reason they're dropped.

There’s nothing wrong with Casual Group Dating outside of one’s faith (and had a non-LDS teen boy asked, I think you should have gone . . . following "the rules", of course), but when we reach Serious Single Dating age . . . well, while we shouldn’t be taking ourselves or each date too seriously, we certainly should at least limit the dating to people who are Temple Ready.

- Bro Jo

PS:  Thank you for the kind words.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Should She Choose the Mission or the Boyfriend?

Dear Bro Jo,

I just want to say I love your blog and Facebook page!

So I would like some advice about things.

First about a mission.

When it was first announced about the age change I didn't think much of it and when people would ask me if I was planning on going on a mission I told them no. My reason was because at that time I was going to (location withheld) to teach English to children.

I am currently here (I have been for a few months) and while here for a while I seriously started thinking about going on a mission.

I don't know when exactly or why exactly it came on, maybe because I have a lot of friends that are on missions and going on missions, but one day while working on lesson plans for my classes I had the thought that maybe I should go on a mission.

I thought a lot about it, talked with a few close friends and my sister and mom about it. They all thought I would be a great missionary and were supportive but I was still unsure.

Well, I thought that I had come to a decision that I would go to school for another semester then go on a mission but then while I was on vacation at the beginning of November I was unsure. Let me explain why.

There is this guy let’s call him E.

Well E and I went on a few dates before I left. He is a great guy, RM, worthy priesthood holder, funny and smart and sweet. He is really into me but before I came here I wasn't sure how I felt about him. I mean, I thought he was a great guy and all but I didn't know how much I liked him.

Well while here E and I have been talking a lot and we have Skyped a number of times too. He asked me at one point to be his GF but I decided not to because I don't want to do long distance right now.

He is supportive of my decision if I go on a mission but he did admit that part of him doesn't want me to go because he wants to see where things would go with me and him.

Well, I am not sure if I like him or not now. I don't know if I like him and want to date him or if I just miss having someone give me that attention seeing as while I am here I haven't dated at all.


There is also this other guy.

We will call him H.

I really like him.

We met during this last summer at country swing dancing. We connected on like everything. The only problem, he was going on a mission.

Correction, he is now on his mission.

I am fully supportive of him and we do email as a missionary and a friend email so don't worry I am not distracting him.

We did talk before he left about possible being together after his mission. We both felt that it could work.

Back to the mission stuff.

E has been kinda wanting me to decide and I have been thinking about it and praying about it but I feel like I haven't really received an answer as to if I should say yes or no.

He hasn't been pressuring me to have an answer too much but I do know he wants me to have an answer. I just want to make sure if I go on a mission it is for the right reasons.

When I first had the desire I thought it would be so amazing to be able to teach people the gospel. I love teaching kids English. The thing is, I am afraid of leaving.

While here I have missed my family so much and I have been able to Skype them and email them and FB message them a lot.

If I went on a mission I would only be able to message them once a week and Skype them twice a year, if that.

I also know that if I went on a mission I would be home probably around the same time as H gets home from his mission.

I want to be sure that I am going for the right reasons and not to avoid anything.

I don't think those are my reasons but I keep going back and forth about the mission idea.

So my questions are:

What is your advice about all of this?

About the mission and about E and H.

If you have any questions or need anything feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer.

- Unsure




Dear Unsure,

Sometimes when we're not certain which path to follow the best decision to make is the one to wait.

You don't mention how much longer you'll be teaching, but perhaps before making a choice you should finish your time there, go home, date your Skype pal a few times and then see how you feel.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I only have about a week before I will be going home.

- Unsure




Dear Unsure

Then I think you're definitely in "wait and see" mode.

- Bro Jo

Monday, January 26, 2015

Transitioning to YSA

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo!

First, I must say that I really love reading your page and have learned a lot from the advice you post.

So, I'm in a situation that is probably similar to many other people my age right now; I'm a senior girl in high school preparing to go off to college next year and fully immerse myself in the YSA social and dating scene.

However, the boys in my stake are not the best at getting group dates together, so I haven't really been on any.

I was wondering if you had any tips for transitioning more smoothly from high school group dating to the single dating that YSA should be doing, when I haven't really even done any group dating before?

Thanks a lot for your time and help!

-In Transition




Dear In Transition,

I ain't gonna lie: it's going to be a touch more difficult for you than those that dated a bit.


The first thing I'd like you to do, please, is read the riot act to your Stake and Ward Priesthood leaders.

It's their responsibility to teach these young men how to date and that each of you young women deserves a few chances to be taken out.

If you've been active, going to Church Dances, being friendly and fun, looking and doing your best, and if they were doing their job, then you should have had a few dates.


Secondly, teach the younger sisters that you're leaving behind what they could do better than you did.
Tell them to host movie parties and game nights, teach them the value of talking to the guys - In A Nice Way - and testify to them of the value of Casual Group Dating.

Tell them that their insistence on "having a boyfriend" is driving Good Guys away and limiting their dating opportunities.

You're not alone; too many great girls never get the dating experience in high school that they should.
We need a major culture shift, and I think it's going to take a long time.


Now, as for you: despite everything I wrote above, don't freak out.

Some of the most amazing women date little or not at all in high school, and they've turned out fine. 

Like anything in life, look back at your experiences and use them to improve on the next go.



Here's a Quick List:

Bro Jo's THINGS a GIRL CAN DO to GET MORE DATES as a YSA

1. Put yourself out there. Go to everything, pursue your interests, be involved. It doesn't matter really which clubs or activities you enjoy, but do stuff. Get involved. Meet people.

2. Show genuine interest in other people. Yes, of course, guys, but girls too; you never know when some girl is going to say "you're so nice, you should date my brother!" The key to that is to Listen to other people when you talk to them. Ask people about themselves and take an interest in what they have to say

3. Be domestic and girly. Don't change who you are, but understand that Guys (in general) like girls that are, well, girls. Especially Church Guys. If you don't know the tricks to Good Makeup, Clothing and Perfume, figure them out. Learn how to make one heck of a cake, cookie or brownie if you don't already, and be prepared to randomly give treats you make to guys that you want to have take you out. My apologies to the neo-nazi-woman-hating-"feminists" out there, but this stuff works.

4. Date every halfway decent guy that asks. You want to be known as the nice girl that is open to dating, not the snob that no one can get dates with.

5. Don't be a buddy. No guys over at your place, and you don't hang out at theirs. Heck, make it a habit not to "hang out" at all. Guys are for dating, not for hanging out with. And you need to know this: guys are lazy by nature. Even the hard-working ones. Guys are the ones that invented drive-throughs, fast food, and the TV remote. If he can have you delivered to his place to watch a video with him while his rear-end is still on the sofa, there's no need for him to ever invite you to go anywhere.

6. Do the best you can with what you've got. Always try to be the "best you" you can be. Pajamas, and that includes sweats, shouldn't be worn outside your home. Not even to the gym. Change into gym clothes while you're there, then shower do your hair and makeup and get dressed nice before you leave to go home. Too many of your sisters are blowing it because they have an attitude of "I don't care how I look" (What the heck is this think with the nasty "jeggings" and sloppy bun???); if you don't care how you look, then no one else will either. And that's bad. There's more, but you get the idea. Have fun!

7.  Don't make First Dates out to be a bigger deal than they are.  (Or second or third dates, either for that matter.)  Guys, especially RMs, often (and correctly so, I might add) take girls out as a way to get to know them better.  Yes, they probably like that girl on some level, but it doesn't mean that they're in love . . . so relax.  Let any relationship that might grow happen naturally . . . but don't expect that anything is going to grow at all.  If it does, great!  And if it doesn't, well . . .  hopefully you had a nice time, a fun time, and got to know someone a little better.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you!

I guess in our area it is harder to date because everyone in the stake lives so far apart, but you're right the guys should be asking more.

Actually, recently I had an experience that proves what you said about getting casual get-togethers planned.

I organized a group of friends, boys and girls, to go bowling together.

A couple weeks after we started planning it, I got asked on a date by one of the boys in the group!

Also, I totally plan on being involved next year, and I think it will really help.

Thanks again for your advice and I'll definitely work on implementing it more!

- Excited for the future




Dear Excited,

Good for you!

I'm glad to hear that the Activity Setup thing worked for you.

Keep it up!

And hopefully others will learn from your example.

- Bro Jo

Monday, January 19, 2015

Questions About Online Dating

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi,

What if you could not bring your boyfriend home to meet your parents what would you do?

What if a girl dated a boy that had been married before do you think this would be a good idea or not?

What if a girl meet a boy that has children would this be a good idea or not?

How much older should a boy be if the girl is age 25?

I'LL be waiting for your answers to my questions above.

From,

Name Withheld




Dear NW,

Can we be less cryptic,  please?

Why can't you take him home to meet your parents?

How old is he?

How old are you?

How long was he married? And how long ago was it?

How old are his children?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

I'm not dating anyone who has been married or has kids.

My Mom signed me up on a LDS dating site and there was a guy that has been married and has kids that is why I asked you what you thought about me dating someone who has been married and has kids.

I didn't ask for my Mom to sign me up for a dating site she did it and then told me I don't like when someone signs me up for a website then doesn't tell me ‘til after the fact.

What do you think is the right age of a guy I should be looking for I'm age 25?

- NW




Dear NW,

Ah. I see.

At 25 I think anyone from 23 to 35 is in your age range.

I don't think him having kids is a deal breaker, but it certainly can make things much more complicated.

I think when kids are in the picture that things need to go a little slower and be a little more casual than they might otherwise.

I frankly think that the first couple dates should be lunches that the kids don't know about.

Not that things should necessarily be kept secret, but premature emotional attachments should be protected against.

And don’t be too hard on your mom.

I agree that she shouldn't have signed you up behind your back, but I can understand her reasoning, especially if you're lacking in experience, training, and or motivation.

Happy dating!

- Bro Jo

PS:  Be VERY careful about who you agree to meet in person that you've met online.  Very rarely is someone exactly who they say they are.  Keep those initial meetings public; eliminate the "pick up" part of Plan, Pick Up and Pay until you've met a few times.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Happy Note: How Great Shall Be Your Joy!

Dear Bro Jo,

I've written to you several times before. More than once, about a friend of mine that I was thinking a time or two of dating in high school. (I'm a freshman at BYU now.)

Toward the end of my senior year in high school, I really just started to feel a big kick in the head to invite him to the Atlanta Temple open house. (He's not a member.)

Mind, I was in the Atlanta area and by that time, his family had moved to Virginia- there was an 8-ish hour drive between us.

And so, thinking there was no shot he'd actually come, I finally invited him...via text.

Didn't even call him.

Long story short..he came.

That was in April.

In July, he met with the missionaries for the first time.

As much as I stressed to him that this wasn't something I wanted him looking into if he thought it was the access to being with me (yep, guys and girls can NOT be just friends), I was nervous, for a long time, that that had much to do with it.

But as time passed, he really started to possess a light in his eyes and his face...I mean, you could see it.

You CAN see it.

On (date withheld), he's going to be baptized, and his goal is to be ready within the year to be able to go to the temple and serve a mission.

My reasons for sharing this are twofold: firstly, I just wanted to thank you for advising me not to date someone who wasn't a worthy priesthood holder. I actually think that his desire for a chance with me got him started on this journey- and if I'd just thrown my hands up and dated him, I imagine things would have run their course, and either I'd have settled for something less than a worthy Priesthood holder, or I'd have left and gone to college and our friendship would have dissolved, without anything coming of it.

He is excited and so happy at the prospect of holding the Priesthood...and I just can't describe how good it is to see him in such anticipation to be a missionary, holding the power of God.

It's amazing.

Secondly, I'll admit that I just find myself wanting to share this with everyone under the sun because I'm just so dang excited! Just thought I'd pass that on.

You do good work.

Thank you.

- Happy




Dear Happy,

Thanks for sharing!

That's very cool.

How was the Baptism?

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

The baptism was really special.

He's now an ordained Priest; today was his first day to pass the sacrament, and next week he will bless it for the first time.

I took a DVD with me when I went out for the baptism that I left there, and he shipped it back to me with a copy of his testimony inside.

The first thing he said surprised me a little bit, because it's one of those things you hear a lot but not necessarily something I'd have expected to hear, just because he's so new.. but he wrote about the Priesthood and how humbled he felt that the Church felt like he was worthy to perform ordinances in Heavenly Father's name.

My mom and I have shared a laugh or two about how strange it is to hear him talk about passing the sacrament or home teaching, or things like that- it's still a little surreal, but it's been quite an experience for me throughout this whole process.

He's growing every day.

Thanks for following up,

- Happy




Dear Happy,

Wonderful!

As the book says, "how great shall be your joy".

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When Your Pre-marriage Relationship Stagnates

Dear Bro Jo,

I am really confused on what to do. I have almost been with this guy for over a year, have been learning to be able to have trust in him etc., but also I just am not quite sure of where to go with this relationship.

We both only want to date each other and well, he is working, and I'm still unemployed almost of 2 years.  It’s really hard.

I just am not quite sure of where to be taking the relationship, since he is fine with just hand holding, and kissing a bit.

I mean sure we go on a casual date every once in a blue moon, but other than that, I don't know what else we could do to be in a sense closer to each other and build the relationship up, to where the next step would be.

I just am so confused.

Please help.

I am 23 years old.

- Name Withheld




Dear NW,

To paraphrase a movie, "if you're not growing, you're dying' there ain't no third direction".

Two years is a long time to be in a Serious Single Dating relationship that isn't moving forward, or really isn't going anywhere. 

Check out "Bro Jo's LEVELS of a RELATIONSHIP" and see where you're at.

And remember, "communication is the key".

When you talk to him about your concerns about the relationship, what does he say?

If you haven't had that conversation, you should.

And soon.

- Bro Jo

PS:  I agree with the Proclamation on the Family where it says that a husband's primary responsibility is for the financial support of the family and a woman's primary responsibility is for the nurturing of the family; I also think that until you're married I think you need to be supporting yourself financially.  Meet with your Stake or Ward Employment Specialist ASAP and get a job.




Dear Bro Jo,

I have told him my concerns about what I think about him thinking other girls are cute,

I know I sound weird, and I just am not sure what to think except I might be unique,

I have never thought about boys, even when I was a little girl, I didn't like them much.

I just always kept to myself, and did my own thing.

Anyways. I did talk to him tonight and he stated he wanted to be on my side which is think about people more then just who is cute, and who is handsome etc.

Peoples personalities shine through a lot more than there looks.

Anyways, I just am really unsure on the whole trust thing,

I mean we aren't sure on how to trust each other.

Sorry to bug you this is just all new to me, since I haven't had a real relationship with anyone except this guy I'm dating.

-NW




Dear NW,

There are a lot of issues you're touching on here.

Why don't you trust him?

And why doesn't he trust you?

(Trust is very important in any relationship, but especially a marriage.  More important that Love and Attraction, actually.)

And, on a believe-it-or-not tangent, are you employed yet?

Even in this economy, there really is no excuse for being unemployed for two years.

As my dad says, few things help a person's self-esteem better than having a job, and you, Little Sister, seem to have some esteem problems.

Serving others, getting employed, and trusting in the Lord will all help with what you're going through.

- Bro Jo



Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Get Along Better with Your Parents

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo.

I'm having trouble getting along with my mom and sometimes it's my fault and sometimes it's her fault that we fight and ague.

Please give me some advice on how to make us stop fighting and ague?

From,

A Concerned Daughter




Dear CD,

Like Sister Jo says, the best way to get along with other people is to serve them.

Find ways to be of selfless service to your mom; do your best to Be Understanding (that may mean realizing that the two of you won't agree on everything, and THAT may mean choosing to not talk about certain things); and always show her appreciation and respect.

No two people agree on everything, and we shouldn't require that of our friends or family.

Can you imagine how lonely life would be if we only spent time with those we agreed 100%?

- Bro Jo

Friday, January 9, 2015

Marriage Pressure . . . at 17

Dear Bro Jo,

Hi Bro Jo!

My name is (name withheld). If you happen to decide to post this, I would prefer if you withheld my name though, thanks!

I am seventeen years old and a senior in high school.

First off, I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and for allowing people to send questions and for your responses.

I have never emailed you before, but I love reading your blog when I find time. Thanks for all that you do!

So here's the thing. People have been discussing marriage with me a lot lately. It's been a huge topic and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed about the whole matter.

As I said before, I am seventeen and a senior in high school.

I am also the only Laurel in my ward and so I feel sort of alone sometimes when it comes to the things that come with my age. Marriage/Single Adult discussions being one.

The subject of the next stages of my life have really been bombarding me as of late.

They started out in the past few months and have slowly increased to be more and more often.

The first real comments were when I was visiting my family out in Utah at the end of July.

My older cousin and I are very close and he is leaving for his mission in November.

This trip was the last time I would see him for over two years until he comes back.

When I had to say my final goodbyes one thing he kept emphasizing was that I had better not get married while he was gone.

I kept thinking to myself that he was being ridiculous!

When he gets back I will be almost 20.

That's when it hit me.

My mom was married a week after she turned 19.

My aunt (his mom) was married at 19.

Our grandma was married at 19.

I sort of began to see his thought formation.

It really got me thinking about it....and concerned at how immature I feel to be so close to something that they did so near to my age!

After I got home, my YW leader was driving us girls to the Temple (It is a two hour drive for my ward) and we were discussing and talking about things along the way.

She started talking a lot about how I would be moving into Relief society soon and the changes that were to come.

I expressed some worries I had over the whole Single Adult status I would soon hold.

While in the Temple I did some soul searching and prayer about what we had discussed and I felt comfort and a need to began preparing for these things.

This honestly completely calmed my nerves and I had a change of heart that made me move past my waiting on Peter pan to take me away to never-land (I call this the never-land syndrome...It is very real!:P)

It comforted me about the next stage in my life.

As I came out of the temple, my leader handed me a book by John Bytheway, "What I Wish I'd Known When I Was Single: How to Do Life As a Young Adult"

(It's a great book! Even if you are way past that point!)

Which was awesome (and probably inspired) and really helped.

But then, all of a sudden......people at church started mentioning marriage too.

An older gentleman told me that he wished he could just send me off to marry his RM son in Utah.

Then I was walking in the hallway and an older friend of mine was discussing with our brand new RM's parents "who I was going to marry".

At choir, one of the young dads was telling me what a great example I was and that I was exactly what all the young men look for.

The comments just keep coming (Great compliments, but like I said, a bit overwhelming)

Everything has been pointing me to begin preparing myself for this. (Note: I don't mean that I think I am going to be married in a year or anything like that, it may be five, ten, or even twenty, but I have felt this feeling of needing to began preparation for it)

Basically, what I'm trying to get at is this... I know that it is coming.

I know that it is something I need to prepare for. I want to do it right.

Having an eternal family and marrying the right person in the right place (Temple!) is something that I sincerely want.

My dad isn't a member, and I know the importance of having that priesthood in your home.

IT IS SO IMPORTANT.

My dad is an amazing man, but he lacks something key.

And it's been really hard not having a dad who supports me in something that means everything to me. (Especially during his anti-Mormon stages)

Also, I have a fear of choosing someone who I think is wonderful, and turns out to make horrible mistakes.

My grandfather was a great man. He served an honorable mission, had a testimony, was married in the temple........and as he grew older he made some very awful decisions and without going into details, he was excommunicated.

This frightens me to no extent!

How can I trust someone!?

I seem to have rambled a bit, but I hope you understand what I am asking/where I am.

Honestly, I am just still trying to grasp this whole new stage that I am about to step into...and I decided that emailing you would be a great step to take for help.

(I am big on research when I have questions. I have already read a lot in the Institute manual about things like this, and tons of talks and articles)

Thanks so much for everything!

- Worried




Dear W,

At 17 I say don't worry about marriage too much. Stay worthy. Stand in Holy Places. And try to understand that all of this talk about Eternal Companionship is because life moves much faster for us old folks than it does for you.

My accountant (who's now on a mission with his Eternal Companion) explained it to me this way:

At 2 each year is 50% of your life
At 10 each year is 10% of your life
At 20 each year is 5%
At 50 each year is 2%
And at 100, well . . . should any of us be so lucky . . . 

So that's his math.

And it makes sense to me.

For you 2 years is a much longer part of your life, much further away, than it is for those of us twice (or 3 or 4 times) your age.

Lots of young people freak out about the BIG ETERNAL consequences of choosing poorly (and that's not all bad), and I know that at your age we seem to hit you with all of that ALL of the time . . . but take it with a grain of salt.

Let it season your life, but not overwhelm the recipe.

Keep Casual Group Dating for now.

Look at the lives of the older folks you know (including your parents) and learn.

Make some good decisions about how you're going to do things better than we did.

And, when it's time, switch from Casual Group Dating to Serious Single Dating.

Use the Spirit to help you know the will of God in your life, and don't let any of us talk you out of that.

- Bro Jo




Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you!

That makes a lot of sense. I really truly appreciate the advice.

Also, thank you for your prompt reply!

I know what you are saying is true.

All I can do is just be the best that I can, and listen to the spirit, and all things will fall into play.

I know I just got overwhelmed with it all, and I do know that everything will be fine:).

Thank you again!

You are great!

- W




Dear W,

Back at ya!

If I may add one thing I forgot to last time:  don't ever forget how going to the Temple made these stresses in your life easier to handle.  I appreciate your Testimony of that.

Heavenly Father is always looking for ways to bless our lives; making and keeping sacred covenants, being in places (physically, mentally and emotionally) where we can most feel the Spirit is always a good idea.

- Bro Jo

Monday, January 5, 2015

What If There are NO (or few) Eligible Worthy Men Around?

Dear Bro Jo,

I stumbled upon your blog and have started reading the posts.

You have given some great advice, so I thought I would share my story in hopes that you can give me some advice.

Here it goes….I am 23 years old and single.

I attend a young single adult branch. Our branch is very small and we lack men.

The lack of men in our branch is a little depressing.

I know that other sisters in our branch feel the same way and that our prospect of going on dates is very slim. We have about 6 men that attend regularly.

Three men are dating women in our branch, one is my brother, one is eligible and not dating, and one is pre-mission (too young for me and hasn't served a mission yet).

So, as you can see not much of a selection. I have been texting and talking to the one that is eligible and not dating. The problem is he hasn't asked me out on a date.

I have been giving subtle hints that I like him and would like to date, but no success.

I guess my question is what should I do now?

He is a little shy, but I know that can’t be an excuse.

I think the chances that he will ask me out are very low at this point.

I am beginning to think that something is wrong with me.

I have graduated from college and have a full-time job.

I think I am a very sweet and nice individual. I serve as the Relief Society President and love the sisters.

Are men afraid of me?

Is there some inferiority going on?

At this point in my life it seems that I have accomplished a lot and now what?

I am ready to start dating and looking for my eternal companion, but it seems hopeless in our small branch where the members are spread so far apart and the lack of men/men that seem to not want to date.

In my past I have dated two guys, but nothing came of them. I have a few guys that are friends, but that is it.

I try to attend multi-stake activities in other areas, but I’m not finding anyone, or the men don’t want to begin a long distance relationship because we don’t attend the same branch.

Could you help me in my dilemma?

Many thanks,

- Not sure what to do




Dear What to Do,

Well, as far as the Shy Guy goes, I think your best bet is to tell him to ask you out on a date.

Seriously.

"Hey, you need to ask me on a date."

But, more than that, I think you need to move.

You're only 23, you have your whole life ahead of you, and how can you possibly expect to find a worthy priesthood holder to take you to the Temple if there are hardly any around?

People come up with lots of excuses for why they can't move, but I say that they're mostly excuses and nothing more.

Get thee to a more saturated area!

And quick.

- Bro Jo

Friday, January 2, 2015

Advice from a Married Man

Dear Bro. Jo,

My wife and I recently celebrated our tenth anniversary.

It has been a bit of a whirlwind, but since these things are fresh in my my mind I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts for the Young Men that may read your column.

Feel free to abridge this however you would like, or use just parts of it.


Being choosy about who you date.

My advice is to ignore any physical imperfections that you think are deal killers.

The real deal killers lie within the priorities of the person to be dated (and your priorities).

Before I was married and was in the dating scene, there were two young ladies whom I met at the same time. I found one of them more attractive than the other.

As I got to know them and their priorities, the one I did not find as attractive initially became more and more attractive to me physically.

The other young lady became less attractive physically as I got to know her and her priorities because it became apparent that she was vain and selfish. It was a strange phenomenon.

In the end, I didn't marry either of them, but the more I get to know my wife the more beautiful she becomes.


Being a tight-wad.

For the young men out there that are tight-wads like me, this is a good thing.

The bad part is that when dating the thought of springing for two milkshakes and loaded burgers seems a bit daunting at $15.

This is good practice however because in a few short years taking the whole family out for the same thing will cost three or four times that.

It's like proving that you will be willing to pay for a family in advance.

I was at a walk-in clinic recently with a sick child. While there I recognized a young mother there with a child in a similar situation to mine. It became apparent that their insurance was not being recognized at the clinic.

The distraught mother then left the clinic. I observed her going back to her husband, whom I also knew.

She then came back to inform the clinic that she would not be coming back.

Her daughter had an ear infection, and I knew that this required a doctor to prescribe antibiotics before the child would get better.

I also knew that in that circumstance anyone can come up with the $100 necessary to get the clinic visit.

Her husband balked, but you should not.

I do not mean this to be self-serving, but I jumped in at this moment and pulled what cash I had out of my wallet and gave it to her for her daughter.

I generally don't carry more than $10 in my wallet at any time, but at an ATM earlier that month I accidentally withdrew more than the $20 I normally withdraw.

It covered the doctors visit for that child.


Providing like a man.

If you think taking a family of six out to dinner at the local fast-food joint is a big hole in your wallet, then you will pass-out at providing 24/7 for the family.

We can start with food at $600+/month and car maintenance and insurance at $300/month.

You will have to have a car large enough to haul everyone at once.

You no longer get the nice $200/month rent with roommates that you get now too.

Let's not forget health insurance and a perfunctory 3 times a year you get to go to the ER.

All told, you will need to be making roughly $65k+/year just to get by.

Real men don't make their wife pitch in half either.

Remember that bit about paying for both at your date with the milkshakes?

Your wife has a full-time job at this point taking care of kids.

This means you need to plan ahead to get to a point where you will eventually be making this kind of money.

It won't be right away, but you must have some kind of plan and you need to stick to it.

Don't be scared of what I am saying.

It is hard, but well worth it.

As I have told my parents, “You do not know life nor death until you have children.”

Just to give you an idea, we have spent the better portion of the last ten years in school.

It was all part of the plan with 4 ½ years in a bachelors program and 4 ½ years in graduate school.

It hasn't been without heartache and problems.

In that time we have given birth to five children, been in long-term hospital care twice, been to the hospital dozens of times, had two vehicles self-destruct during road trips, etc.

I will tell you now that it is all worth it.

If you have the right attitude and go into this with a plan, you will realize what a life worth living means, and what life is all about.

Sincerely,

- Happily Married




Dear Happily,

Sound advice.

And congratulations!

- Bro Jo