It must be the number one question I received whilst working at the MTC: “Brother Swain,” missionaries would timidly say as they asked me, “Do you think I should keep a girlfriend back home while I’m on a mission?” Normally by this point, other elders would huddle around, listening for the response.
Let me tell you, this situation was always a tough one. My answer wasn’t a clear message ‘for’ or ‘against’ having a girlfriend (or boyfriend, for that matter) because everyone’s different. I love The Other Side of Heaven, and if Anne Hathaway were my girlfriend, I don’t think I’d be actively encouraging her to date around while I was away for two years!
But similarly, those who have seen The Best Two Years know that a girlfriend can be a huge distraction, and losing her while you’re away can have a huge effect on the work. For some, it seems to be a “catch 22.” So here are just my own thought-provoking questions you should probably ask yourself before making this choice.