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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Should He Tell Her That She Shouldn't Marry That Other Guy?

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a recently Returned Missionary.

My question does not have to do with my own life, but rather the life of a young woman that I met in my mission.  (There is NO romanticism between us. Don't worry lol).

She's a member. I imagine she's in her 30's.

I met her near the beginning of my mission. She was going through a lot of problems at the time.

You see, she's single, and she's had many guys (the majority non-members that she doesn't like) pursue her.

As missionaries we couldn't leave any advice or opinion, so we just aimed to strengthen her testimony.

Long story short, I lost contact with her when I got transferred, but now that I've returned she's been messaging me asking for help.

She's SUPER kind and hates to hurt other people's feelings.

And that's a great blessing, but it's also part of the problem.

One man (a returned missionary) had been pressuring her into marriage.

She doesn't like him. At all.

I don't know the details but she says she has no interest in this man.

She's been asking me to help know what to do.

She tried running away, but whenever she returned (she lives with her family) the guy comes back. 

The guy appears very manipulative. I don't know him, but he's used lots of tactics. Even to the point that he took her to the temple, brought his WHOLE family over to meet her, and did other things to win her. He just proposed to her, and because of her sensitivity and fear of disappointing the families, she finally said yes.

And she's getting married this Thursday. I've read through many of your pages (and I LOVE it BTW) and advice and I have an idea of what I can tell her. Not to change or convince her. But rather to help her understand the magnitude of her decision.

I have an uncle that did something similar. He married to please others, and now he's miserable.

I really don't want this young woman to pass through same thing.

Could you give me any advice on the matter?

What's your perspective?

Anything would help.

Thank you for your time.

- Brother (Name Withheld)

PS: I served in Mexico. Loved the mission. And I love your blog. I can truly feel the spirit and your love for others as I read it. I really admire your efforts and diligence in helping us.

Dear Brother,

Your responsibility now is no different than when you were a missionary.

Tell her to trust in the Lord and give her advice on how she might better hear and feel the Spirit.

Other than that, it's not really your place.

Or your business.

Unless you DO have romantic feelings for her . . .

Taking the girl you want to marry to the Temple and having her meet your family aren't "tactics" . . . they're normal and wise things to do!

It sounds to me like he HAS "won her" (whatever that means) and that's probably a good thing.

She has no business telling you, a Single Man, that she's marrying someone she doesn't like . . . and the only reason for her to do so that I can see is that she likes you. (Now THAT sounds manipulative.)
Perhaps she's nervous.

Perhaps she's venting to you.

Perhaps she's an idiot. (I'm sorry, but marrying someone you can't stand simply to make them - or anyone else - happy is not something we call "brilliant"; just ask your uncle.)

But overall I'm just not sure this is something that you should get in the middle of . . . or even that you have any business getting in the middle of.

Imagine being the fiancé . . .

If he wrote me he might say something like this:

"Dear Bro Jo, I'm about to be married for Time and All Eternity to the woman of my dreams in 24 hours! She's wonderful, and I love her. She took some convincing though, but I thought everything was fine once she met my family. But now I'm not sure. She keeps emailing a young single man that she met when he was serving here as a missionary. He has told her not to marry me and that has lead to her having lots of doubts. What should I do?" 

Looking at things from another perspective can be eyeopening.

And before you say "BUT . . ." I want you to consider that she is an Adult With Agency.

If she decides not to marry this man, that's her decision.

And if she decides to marry him, that's her choice, too.  Even if, like your uncle, it's a bad choice.

Letting people screw up is perhaps the hardest thing we ever have to do.

Can you feel what it must be like for Heavenly Father?

You've told her not to marry him, now it's up to her.

(Again, unless you're offering an alternative - and you don't seem to be - I don't think that was your place, but it is what it is.)

I've had friends and relatives make what I thought were BAD marriage choices.

Sometimes I was wrong.

If two people are willing to put God and the other person first nearly any marriage can be awesome. 

Sometimes I was right.

But you know what?

When people told those folks "hey, don't marry that person" they almost never listened.

The last thing I have for you is this: it is inappropriate for you to have a close friendship with a non-relative married or engaged woman; just as it is inappropriate for you to have a close friendship with a non-relative woman regardless of her status once you're engaged or married.

Thank you for the kind words,

- Bro Jo

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