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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

25-year Old Future Sister Missionary is Expecting Her Boyfriend to Wait

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm a 25 year old woman who recently has decided to serve a mission. I have always had a burning desire too and I know I am ready. I spoke with my stake president and he said it will one of the best decisions I have ever made, he said everything will fall into place when I'm done with my mission, etc.

Yet I have an issue.. After two years of waiting and dating, yes I was a missionary gf. It didn't work out. I recently met this wonderful man, he's 25, we started dating about two months ago. He wants to marry me ASAP and plan a wonderful future together

Yet two weeks ago,  I recently informed him of my decision to serve and figurative speaking it's been 'Hell' ever since. we have practically argued everyday of my decision and he claims I'm being selfish and not thinking of him. which is deeply hurting me, ever so much. I have a strong testimony and I wish to share it and I know I'm ready to serve.

I have told him to I'm blue in the face that I love him, etc and when I'm finished with my mission we can marry.

Why can't he see that serving a mission is for the greater good?

Am I being selfish?

What should I do?

I need your advice


- Future Sis Mis

Dear Future,

It's hard for me to say that a Mission is selfish ... but I think you serving one at this time may be a huge mistake.

If this guy is the Good Guy you say he is, it's unrealistic, unreasonable and unfair for you to expect that he will be available when you come home.

And, frankly, I hope he's not.

A mission is a break up, regardless of your age.  Should you choose to go you need to understand that.  While you're gone he will likely date,  and kiss, other girls.

And he should.

He will likely pick one of those girls to marry for Time and All Eternity.

And he should.

Because as you well know, Waiting doesn't work most of the time.

Your focus right now should be marriage and family.  That's been made very clear over and over and over again.

Your boyfriend can't agree to your "greater good" argument because ... well ... it's not true.

General Counsel is that even if you had a mission call the right decision would be to cancel that call and get sealed.

Do you understand why?

The Hell you're going through is one you stepped in, so getting out of it will be up to you.

The questions you need to answer are:

1.  Are you okay choosing a Mission now if it not only means not marrying this guy, but not marrying ever?  (Ask some 27-28 year old single sisters how difficult it is to find a good and worthy man to marry.)

2.  If you stay, can you love and marry this man without holding it against him that you didn't serve a mission right now?

3.  Would serving a Mission later in life, as a married couple, with this wonderful man as your companion, be a compromise that would satisfy you?

4.  If it's such a burning desire, why didn't you leave four years ago?  (We often think we REALLY want to do things, but if that were true ... we'd have done them.  Perhaps there's an additional reason, one you haven't shared with me here . . . maybe one you haven't even confessed to yourself . . . that is part of why you feel "mission ready" at 25?)

5.  Can you be happy for the next few years being a Member Missionary?  Sharing the Gospel at home?  Raising your children to be good members of the Church?

Please understand:  I am not saying that there's necessarily something wrong with you wanting to serve a mission.  My goal here is for you to know why you want to serve, to make sure it's for the right reasons, and to help you be at peace with your choice, whatever that might be.

As you consider all of these options, the path that brings you the most peace is the one you should take.

Remember Little Sister, in all things, it's about the Lord's timing, not ours.

Pray.  Fast.

And talk to your boyfriend one more time.

- Bro Jo


Laura said...

Missions are great. Marriage is -even better-. I would recommend getting a blessing of guidance and comfort. And personally, unless there are some serious red flags to the guy, I would absolutely pass up the mission. You can still go out with the missionaries in your family ward when you are married, and let your bishop and stake leaders know of your desire to serve! They'll put you to work while you get to start a family and raise them to be missionaries. I know it is not the same, but it is rewarding in its own way. Eternally, even. I really hope this sister made the best choice for her, whatever that was. Was there any follow-up to this, Bro Jo?

Lisa said...

I don't understand. Why is it hard for 27 and 28 year old sisters to find someone? They are still young. Mormon culture is so weird.

Bro Jo said...

@ Laura - Sorry. No follow-up. Perhaps she'll see this and let us know . . .
- Bro Jo

Bro Jo said...

@ Lisa -

I'm usually quick to jump on the "we Mormons are weird" bandwagon . . .
But in this case I can explain (and even understand) what the problem is.

In our culture we see Family as a key part of happiness. We also feel strongly about only having sex with the person you're married to.

Because of those things Latter-day Saints tend to be . . . "motivated" (if you will) . . . to get married and start families at a younger age than most of the world. (Although I do think it needs to be said that "Mormons getting married younger than everyone" else is neither as true nor as extreme as we might believe.)

While I agree that 27 or 28 isn't "super old", and certainly would never want someone of any age (and I mean ANY) to think that they're "too old" to find a happy and healthy marriage, there certainly are some realities that we have to accept.

1. If MOST of the available Latter-day Saints are married in their early-to-mid 20's then there just aren't going to be that many people to pick from if one is still single in their late 20's and early 30's.

2. If one intends to have children, the longer one waits the fewer "golden child bearing years" one has. Most folks aren't wild about being in their late 50's and early 60's at their child's high school graduation. (Not to mention that it's not good financial planning for most folks to be in a situation where the kids need college help at the same time the parents should be retiring and going on missions.)

3. One of the best places to meet eligible singles is in college. For some folks that's why they party and become promiscuous. For Latter-day Saints it's often a great time to date with a purpose (that purpose being to find out what type of person makes a good spouse for you) and while most Mormons graduate college without having gotten married, many if not most meet their future spouse during those college years. Once one is out of college the hard fact is that it's just much harder to meet single people, especially those with high standards.

Marriage and raising children, when done right, is a selfless act requiring a lot of sacrifice and service.

Sister Jo says she thinks that's why many who could and should be married put it off.

But marriage and family are also wonderful things, and can fill one's life with joy and blessings.

THAT, my friend, is why Mormons try to get married younger.

And it's not weird.

It's wise.

Thanks for commenting!


- Bro Jo

Alysha Carroll said...

I disagree with the comments expressed in this feed - I was in a serious committed relationship and chose a mission over marriage. I served,was very blessed, help many other people, and came home. Two years after coming home I was married. I have a very strong testimony that every individual, especially women in God's church, have their own unique plan that may be different than what is considered "typical" or "traditional." The Lord will confirm to you if your choice is right - And honestly, if God has confirmed this decision, your ecclesiastical leader is supportive as well, and you are motivated by the right reasons, then I see no reason why you should not follow the individualized council given to you from God. I can promise you, if you are choosing to serve because of your love for the Savior, God will NEVER punish you for choosing to serve, no matter what else you may sacrifice in the meantime. If you have any lingering doubts, I highly suggest you listen to the BYU devotional titled "Women and Education" from June 2017. The speaker gives examples of three righteous women who each made radically different decisions about education and family.Each was led by the Lord to her own path. Please, trust the inspiration you have received from God, even if it may seem different from what everybody else is doing. Trust that he had a plan for you - and choosing a mission over marriage was definitely right for me.

Jayme said...

Something about this story has rubbed me the wrong way and I feel compelled to respond. There is certainly truth to Bro Jo's answer, especially the bit about "why now?". I dont know, but something tells me OP might not actually marry this man... and I'm not entirely sure she should. I understand that it is difficult to find a good man in your late twenties and beyond (I'm engaged at thirty, I should know!) but please dont every marry someone for time and all eternity simply because you're worried no one else will ever come along. I strongly believe that happy singledom is better than unhappy marriage, and you certianly don't want to bring children into a home where you constantly feel that your husband has held you back.

That said, I feel the most troubling part of the letter is that he is making their relationship "figurative hell" and that his main argument is that she is being selfish and not thinking of him. This may be true, but he is making thier relationship all about himself.

Has he ever asked why she feels like she has to serve right now if the relationship is going so well? Have they had a serious discussion about what is really going to happen if she leaves which, yes, if most definitely that he will move on. From just this tiny bit of her side of the story, I'm not convinced either of these two have the communication skills or emotional maturity for marriage yet. And it's quite likely she doesn't actually want to marry this man (who I'm currently unconvinced is actually "wonderful") and she simply hasn't admitted it to herself yet.

Last, everyone matures at different rates. I was in no place to be married at 25. That year, I was in a rough spot and ended up needing a yherapist to help sort my stuff out. I understand the desperation of getting married ASAP, but doing it the right way is always better than doing it the fast way.

Bro Jo said...


First of all, congratulations!

Very cool.

Secondly, she doesn't say that "he" is making her life hell, but that the situation is "hell" because they've been arguing so much.

Breakups can be, and typically are, very painful. I think that's what she's feeling. She's not blaming him, and I don't think you or I are right in this instance to, either.

Nor do I think there's evidence that he was making the relationship all about himself.

Here's what I see: he thought they were going to get married, she's clearly not ready (which I think you're absolutely correct about and which I was trying to get her to realize when I asked "why now").

I agree with you that getting married needs to be done in the right way. While a since of urgency can be motivating, it's also important that couples aren't just "checking off a Spiritual Requirements" box.

"Fast" is also a term that's relative to each situation. Yes, I think we can say "this couple is too immature" or that "they clearly don't know each other well enough yet"; but it's also true that two people who are much younger than the national marriage average but who have testimonies in the right place and are equally committed to each other can make things work, and they may not need months and months (let along years) to realize that.

Thank you for your comments!

And I'm so very glad that you got the help that you needed.

God bless,

- Bro Jo