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, October 24, 2014

Should She Get Married or Go on the Mission?

Dear Bro Jo,

I used to be friends with a young man from the Church. He would sometimes take me on dates but it never got serious.

I liked him a lot, but he didn't seem to like me as much so I stopped talking to him.

He wasn't planning on serving a mission and I was still his friend so I pushed him that he should go.

Finally one day he called me and said he spoke to the Bishop and that he was going on a mission.

We continued to be really good friends.

Finally he left on a mission 5 months ago, and ever since his mission we have been writing each other weekly, sometimes even more.

A little while before he left on his mission, and we were just friends, I had decided that I wanted to serve a mission too.

I am only 18, so I won't serve until next year but since October general conference I have had a desire to serve.

The only problem is, the young man I am writing just sent me a letter saying he hopes to marry me when he comes home and that we should have been together from the start.

What do I do!?

This letter kind of made me like him again, and the possibility of getting married in 19 months when he returns is real, but I still have already told everyone in my ward that I would serve a mission, and I've tried praying about it but it seems like I am not getting an answer. Help!

- A Friend

Dear Friend,

I think you chalk his letter up to "lonely missionary", smile and give it no more thought or attention until you and he are both single, available, and in the same place at the same time.

(Which, by the way, may never happen.)

I think you were premature to announce your mission service to your ward, but that ultimately it doesn't matter what you said or what they think. 

I also think you're writing him WAY TOO much.

You're a distraction. (The Jo Boy Missionaries agree with me.)

When you get a letter from him. Read it. Perhaps begin writing your response, and then send it when three or four weeks have passed.

If he writes you multiple times during that window, put all of your responses in just the one letter. I'm not saying to ignore him, just slow things Way Down.

(Sister Jo would tell you that there's power in letting him miss you.)

Keep praying.

Realize that sometimes "no answer" is an answer; and sometimes it means we're asking the wrong question. 19 months is a long time away.

Live life.

Date other guys.

When you're much closer to 19, if you feel INSPIRED, then start the missionary paperwork process.

If you're UNCERTAIN, then you can wait to submit your papers until after he comes home.

Be Patient.

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

I hate how blunt you are but I needed it and you really helped me. I was only writing him once a month because a missionary in my ward said letters were a distraction to him on his mission, but when he insisted on writing me twice a week I thought maybe he needed the encouragement!

I guess I was wrong and I will listen to you, thank you very much, Bro Blunt!

- Friend

Dear Friend,

Sorry about that.

And you're welcome.

- Bro Jo

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When It's Time to Make Things Happen

Dear Bro Jo,

I have written to you a couple of times about different things, and I always feel a little silly doing so, but sometimes it is nice to just get someone else's perspective on things, and I very much agree with many of your views on dating...

So here is the current situation:  I am an "older" (for Utah) single girl and I date a bit, but I find it very hard to find a guy that I want to continue to date, and when I do they usually end up saying that they are not ready for anything serious and then end things.

Well a while ago I started dating a guy that I had known for a while, we were friends and he just asked me out one day and things went well from there...

We dated for a couple of months but nothing official was established (by the way I was 25, he was 27) so we are more than old enough for a serious relationship and I feel like that is we're things should have been going.

However, as we kept dating he was still dating other people, though not as much, and I went on a coupe of other dates, (it was always a bit touchy like neither of us wanted to be dating other people but we also didn't want to try and get the other one to stop, it was a little weird) but the problem was I kinda felt like I was a second thought to him...

Sometimes it was like if he didn't have anything else to do than he might as well go out with me, now this very well could have been reading into the situation because I have some pretty significant insecurities that I am trying to work on (I wish I could figure that out better).

Anyway, things just kind of fizzled out because I think neither of us knew how to talk about what we wanted.

Fast forward to a little over a year later.

I had been thinking about him a lot and a mutual friend of ours got engaged, this was someone we had talked about and stuff . . . so I texted him to chat about it a little, we had a small conversation and updated each other on our lives a bit but that was the extent of the conversation.

Now it is more than a year and a half after we stopped dating and for the past couple of months I have been thinking about him a ton, I think that I have learned some things and grown up a lot and I would really just kind of like to try things again however, I don't know if I should and if so how would I even do it?

I can't decide if I have been thinking about him so much because of him, or just because I don't have anyone else to think about right now... I just wanted to get your opinion on if you think I should try and contact him or anything, and if so what would be the best way to do that.

Or should I just let it go and continue to focus in trying to meet some other guys... ?

Which seem to be pretty hard to find around these parts. (At least ones who want to date)

Thanks for your advice!


Dear L,

I think at your age you need to be putting in a little more effort.

I do think you need to talk to him, and I think it needs to be in person.

The preference would be for him to call and ask you out, but I don't think you should wait around for that to happen.

I think you should call him and say "hey, I was hoping we could get together and talk soon . . . when and where can we meet?"

If he's unwilling to meet, meaning he won't make seeing you any kind of priority, there's nothing there and you can confidently move on.

If he is willing to meet (and I hope he's smart enough to make that choice), then after a couple minutes of pleasantries I think you need to come out and say it. "So here's the deal: I've been thinking about you a lot lately; we've always been good friends and it seemed like we had a lot of fun when we were dating; I need to know why nothing has gone any farther, relationship wise, between us".

And then Be Quiet.

Let the man speak.

You'll either find out that the guy is a dead end and you need to move on, or you'll be inspired to kiss him.

And if that's the case, I think you should.

Either way, you'll know.

Communication is the key in any relationship. Rather than aimlessly wandering and wondering . . .


- Bro Jo

Monday, October 20, 2014

What's a Good Age to Get Married?

Dear Bro Jo,

I love your blog!

It has helped me really see things in new ways!

Ok, so for my question. What's a good age to get married at?

I know it's different for all people and you should rely on the Spirit and it depends on maturity level and so forth.

But even though people say it totally depends on the person, I see them turn around and whisper about a 19 year old girl getting married and how it is way to young.

I guess I have hidden motives for this question... I'm not about to get married or anything but I am about to go to college. And I have been told by countless people that college is where many meet their Eternal companion.

I'm going to BYU-I and I've heard there are lots of potential husbands there. There's just one itsy bitsy problem: I'm only going to be 17!

I skipped a grade when I was younger, so I have always been a youngin.

It was hard enough watching all of my friends dating and even have to turn down dates before I was 16. Now I'll be thrown into BYU-I where everyone's dating to get hitched. And I'll just want to be dating around still.

Don't get me wrong, I have my sights set on the Temple and a family is first and foremost on my mind, but I'm nervous that if I do find the man I want to marry I'll only be 18.

My dad as told me countless times that if I meet the right one, I should not let him go just because I'm only 18. But I still hear from so many that 18 is simply too young and they don't care if the Spirit confirmed it or not.

I know it's mine and my future husband's choice and all but... I'm nervous in all honesty.

I could meet the man I know I want to marry, marry him, then have many people say I'm way too young without even knowing anything.

Or start dating, find the right one, and I'm still 17, and then I'll just have to wait.

Or meet the most amazing guy and he's three to four years older than me. And I'm still this 17 or 18 year old. Then what do I do?

I've been told I am a very mature girl for my age. I guess that's what being thrown in with the big kids does to a person.

But I am still nervous.

I'm sorry if that's really a pointless concern, but I am truly nervous. I appreciate any help!!!

- Too Young

Dear Young,

Not a pointless concern; a real one shared by many girls just like you.

It is an individual thing, but I personally don't think 19 is too young for a young woman to marry. 

(Neither does Sister Jo.)

I also believe that when a couple decides they should marry (in my world we call that a "proposal" - anything less is just talk), they should get married SOON. Especially if their goal is to get married in the Temple. Satan works very hard to keep couples from being worthy for Eternal Marriages; once you decide to get married, the temptations to do married people stuff become even stronger.

I define "married soon" as 2 - 4 months. Sister Jo says 3 - 6 months.

A year?


That's a really long time . . . unless the couple lives in separate towns and is chaperoned when they're together! 

So . . . if a girl is seriously talking marriage at 18+, I'm not going to think she's too young. BUT, if a girl starts talking seriously about marriage at 17 . . . well, that freaks me out.

Because, for me, the line is 19.

I think 18 is too young. (Although I agree with your dad about not letting the relationship go; I would advise in those situations to Slow Things Way Down.)

That's why I tell young people, girls and guys, that until you're old enough to seriously be considering marriage as a possible relationship outcome, you shouldn't be Serious Single Dating.

I define "old enough" as 18+ for girls and post-mission for guys, so I think, college or not, you should still be Casual Group Dating at 17.

Sister Jo disagrees with me a little bit there, by the way.

She says that at 17, if a girl is mature enough to be in college, she's mature enough to start Serious Single Dating.

But even Sister Jo says that 16 is too young, regardless of how many grades a person has skipped. 

That's our take, anyway.

Now, that said, I think you should just relax and enjoy college!

Don't let stuff like this get to you.

When guys ask you out, and I certainly hope they're smart enough to, then don't take first dates too seriously.

Give every guy that's not "too old" or too creepy a chance.

Meet lots of new people, and have a Good Time.

- Bro Jo