Thursday, September 11, 2008

Waiting for A Sister Missionary

When I was a young man I would have been considered a menace to society since I didn't get married until I was 28 years-old. When I first got off my mission I was anxious to get married but my strategy of dating young BYU co-eds didn't work out well for me. Most inevitably had a missionary they were already dating or they were in no hurry to get married.

When I was around twenty-six I had a nightmare one night where I saw eight children with dark hair as adults. I knew that these were suppose to be my children. I then had the impression that I would never know them since I wasn't married. When I woke up I remembered the vividness of the dream and began to think abut my dating patterns. I realized I was a senior dating freshman and sophomore women. I made a conscious decision then to begin dating older women mostly returned missionaries. My dating experience was more challenging after that since the first returned missionary I dated was a braniac who carried a Franklin Covey planner and ran her life on it. She was very intense being in BYU student government and running her brother's student body presidential campaign in which he was subsequently elected. I lasted a month or two and then gave up since the competition was so heavy. The rejection didn't phase me since I had already struck out about ninety times with younger women. I made an adjustment in my dating and began to go out more for the social aspect with little expectation of marriage which made me relax more.

When I went to graduate school I shifted to dating mostly returned missionaries. When I first started I was still a bit impatient and when a few girls I was dating told me that they were going on a mission I thought that a year and a half was too long to wait. A few guys that I knew wrote some of the more attractive sisters in our ward. A few of them hooked up with them after their missions and married them. The funny thing was that three girls I know that I blew off thinking that waiting for them went and came home. When they came back they didn't forget my earlier cavalier attitude and were not impressed enough to go out with me. I lost a friend or two because I didn't take the time to write any of them.

Randy Bott in Home with Honor gives some good advice for those waiting for missionaries:

For those who have someone special waiting, the challenges will be different but just as real. Some missionaries who have sweethearts waiting feel an obligation to marry them. After all, this person has waited faithfully for a long time. However, it is not unusual for missionaries to change dramatically during their missions. Unless the person at home has made similar strides, you may find that you are not as interested in that person as you were before your mission. You may agree to date for a while before setting a wedding date. If either of you has reservations after dating for a while, date other people before making a decision of such eternal consequence.

Within a month of his return from his mission, a friend of mine, who had served an honorable mission, married the girl who had waited for him. Soon after, they divorced. Both he and his former wife are great people. A lot of heartache and disappointment could have been prevented if they had taken the Lord's advice to "be still and know that I am God" (D&C 101:16). Take your time. If your love is eternal, it will wait for a few months until the dust has settled. Plans and preparation take time. Rushing the most important decision you will ever make is hardly a manifestation of spiritual maturity.

If things don't work out, break off the relationship gently and without bitter feelings. It may be that now isn't the right time, but later on might be. Even if things never work out between you, why create an enemy of one who has been a close friend?

Do people wait for missionaries and have everything work out? Sure, all the time. What a blessing to have shared such a sustained spiritual experience with that special someone who becomes your eternal companion. My sister waited for her missionary, and they now have a wonderful marriage and family. Many others have done the same thing. The key is to continue to include the Lord in your dating, courtship, and marriage the way you included him in your missionary activity.

I wonder what the experiences of young men has been in waiting for sister missionaries. I am sure there have been good and bad experiences that people can share. In the end I dated and married a return sister missionary but not one I knew at the Y before my mission.


JY said...
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JY said...

Thank you for this post. My girlfriend is currently serving a mission and I don't really have anyone to talk to about it. I keep thinking about timelines and future events but what I should really be focusing on is the here and now.