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{Poll} Waiting for Missionaries

Ashley Evanson - February 12, 2012


We've been counseled time and again that "waiting" for missionaries isn't a good idea, for anyone involved. And yet, it's a fairly common and accepted practice in Mormondom.

I’m no exception; I sent a boy off on his mission with great intentions to wait for him. But I didn’t. I wrote him his whole mission, but got married just a few weeks before he came home. (Something we’re both glad about because we’re happily married to other people.)

Then there’s the other side of the story. My sister was dating a great guy who was ready to marry her when she told him she was going on a mission. He sent her off (sadly, I’m sure), and told her he would wait. And he did. They’ve now been married for a year.

So here’s my question about the whole thing: How do you feel about people sending off missionaries, telling them they’ll wait? Is it fair to the missionary to read distracting love letters? What about for the person waiting--do they feel guilty for dating other people?

Take our poll and leave a comment below.

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Do you think it's okay to wait for a missionary?

If you have waited for a missionary, how long did you last (about)?

If you waited the whole time for a missionary, did you end up getting married?

© LDS Living, 2012.
Comments 13 comments

emcclure said...

02:28 PM
on Feb 08, 2012

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I think it's okay to write your missionary, but don't refuse to date others and don't just write about your love for each other. I had a friend that told her missionary that they were talking to much about marriage in the letters, and he needed to focus more on his mission. She didn't want him distracted, so they just wrote about what they were up to in their lives. They were married a year after he returned home.

slgh said...

08:56 AM
on Feb 09, 2012

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I think waiting for a missionary can be a great experience. It doesn't mean that you should put your life on hold, but you should grow along side your missionary. Dating should be something you do to ensure he's "the one." I believe that letters should stay positive and supportive. I am currently waiting for a missionary, and he has four months left. Things have never been better between us, and that is because I support him. It's not guaranteed that we will end up together, but I have learned so much from this experience. I have developed a stronger testimony, and learned how to live my life for myself. I wouldn't trade the last two years for anything.

sunshine0926 said...

09:04 AM
on Feb 09, 2012

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My oldest brother hardly dated for six months before his mission, just to be sure he didn't leave someone waiting for him. He had a friend whose girlfriend did wait for him. She belonged to a group at BYU, all girls waiting for missionaries. If any one of them started feeling "restless" or feeling an attraction to another guy, all the other girls in the group would circle around to talk her out of it. Basically, the missionary was out growing and learning - his girl was back at home stagnating. This couple did get married, but it's been a mediocre marriage at best. As a mission secretary, I saw the impact in the field of girls waiting back home. If the letters are positive, supportive, speaking of activities at home, etc, that's okay. If they are all mushy, crying how much she misses the missionary, it's a bad thing.

ajustesen said...

09:19 AM
on Feb 09, 2012

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I have quite a few friends who waited for missionaries, and I would say maybe 2% ended up marrying them. I think waiting for a missionary is fine, but it's so important for the girl (or guy) to grow while the missionary is gone. You experience so much during those years of life, and if you sit at home in order to be faithful, you can miss out on so much! I also think it's so important, if a girl/guy is waiting for a missionary, that they keep their letters supportive and don't distract the missionary from doing their work.

motherof3 said...

11:54 AM
on Feb 09, 2012

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when i met the 'missionary' i waited for i was 16 years of age...he went to serve his mission when I was 19 years of age...we wrote the two years he served. with family pressure on his side when he returned home we connected again, spoke, had fun . girl's/guy's whom wait have a fantasy that life with produce the happily ever after isn't the fairytale . so many girl's put their lives on hold for two years. My opinion is to write as a friend, encourage the missionary with spiritual thoughts-scriptures. IF this is the eternal sweetheart then you will feel this when the missionary returns and has time to get use to life. DON'T push the missionary for promises and DON'T push the newly RM to make a promise. Also while the missionary is serving the one waiting at home should date, study scriptures and read the missionary information so the one at home grows spiritually also. I saw one of my daughters friends get all googoo when the guy she waited came home and pressured him. My son had friends return home and the girl's pressured them. Let time work out the relationship. Grow together...for the percentages of the RM and the one whom waited marrying is slim. Some missionaries I have seen mope and act poor pity me if they don't get letters from 'the one' they left at home. Don't make promises premission you necessarily cannot keep. Let the missionary be a servant for our Savior and be encouraged. Also missionaries do NOT scan the area you serve in for 'your sweet heart' ! focus on your mission and the purspose why you are serving

nataliejane said...

02:52 PM
on Feb 09, 2012

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My missionary and I dated for over 2 years before he left on his mission. Communication before he left was HUGE for us as we laid out the rules we would be setting out for each other. I would say for every one of these couples: know your priorities as far as where your relationship stands in terms of the gospel. If your missionary is going to put you before his mission, this is a bad sign. And girls, your missionary must know how important this is to you. Encourage him to always put his mission first. Do not take it personally if you don't get letters as often as you want. NEVER write more than once a week. Never make promises that there are even a small chance you cannot keep. Don't say you promise to wait. Statistically, you probably won't. And even if you are single when they get back, that doesn't necessarily means marriage is certain. Just recognizing this goes a long way. When your missionary leaves, DATE! Most of the time it won't be fun, but it will help you understand your relationship better and help you know for sure what you are looking for in a husband. And it's okay to like other people. It should be understood before he leaves that this is a possibility. A lot can happen in 2 years. Make it a goal on both ends to grow as people. Missionaries will go through an immense amount of growth, so keep up. Make the gospel first in your life. In my experience it's been a good thing to make the missionary experience something we can relate to together in some way. That's what a bulk of the writing should be about. Don't constantly tell your missionary how much you miss him through the whole letter. If you are okay with being a distraction to his mission, you are hindering him from gaining a fulfilling missionary experience. It's selfish. Writing can be a very encouraging thing for a missionary and can motivate him to do better. Be that kind of writer! My missionary has been gone for 15 months now and we've both changed a lot, but it many ways we've changed together. I can email him, and do so about every week or every other week. He's in Mexico and can only hand write me back, but I probably only get letters once every month. Letter writing depends a lot upon the mission. I still love him, but I'm open to the fact that my life could go in another direction without him. Be realistic, and don't be stupid.

missmollymormon said...

04:07 PM
on Feb 09, 2012

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I agree that yes it is OK to wait for a missionary but dont be all mushy he is serving the Lord its hard but it's what is best and the worst thing to do is mope over not having him/her it's hard but if it is meant to be it will all work out and you with both be stronger. Just a side note I know it's "taboo" but it still happens so I think it would be nice to see an article about what to do if you fall in love with or have a crush on a missionary serving in your area...Just an idea!

ivinsmom said...

04:30 PM
on Feb 09, 2012

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As a former Sister Missionary, I watched Elders in my District as they waited for someone at home. Some were so distracted by waiting for letters, hanging lots of photos on their walls, making phone calls to the girl, etc., that their performance as a missionary was severely affected.

ekkohlers said...

05:47 PM
on Feb 09, 2012

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You didn't mention the side where the girl waits faithfully for 2 years and when the guy gets home he doesn't want to marry her anymore. I wouldn't encourage someone to wait for a missionary, but it didn't ruin my life even when we didn't get married. I still learned a lot from the relationship.

muirmommy said...

09:18 PM
on Feb 09, 2012

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I waited and dated - a LOT! And I think the most important thing I did was this. When he got home, I didn't start the relationship off right where it ended two years ago. We took things slow and got to know each other again, because we had both changed a lot for the better. Both the gal and the guy need to realize that, even though you've kept in touch, both of you have changed a lot in two years. And now we are happily married almost 5 years....

kbmezzo said...

09:38 PM
on Feb 09, 2012

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I wouldn't say the young man I wrote was "my missionary" but we had been friends for a long time and had dated before he left, even talked about marriage. I told him I wouldn't wait, nor did he expect me to and encouraged me to date and make friends. That's precisely what I did. Dating was fun at times and quite difficult at others, but I learned a lot of valuable lessons and made a lot of great friends. I wrote him letters of support and encouragement, never expressing things beyond the realm of friendship and support. This worked really well. I wrote him about twice a month, sometimes one or both of us wouldn't write for a while, but it was fine. We both focused on our own personal development and encouraged each other in the process. The girl who writes a missionary is there to encourage him, not to provide a girlfriend during or a wife after the mission. As far as dating, do it! A girl who refuses to date to be faithful is showing her distrust in the Lord that things will work out for the best in His plan for her and the young man. My best friend came home almost 2 months ago and I can't stress enough the awkwardness and unsteadiness of a recently returned missionary. I'm told that lasts for quite some time. When he comes home BACK OFF and give him time. He will appreciate it. For me, I don't know where things will go yet, but I feel confident that things will work out well :)

salta92 said...

01:27 PM
on Jul 10, 2014

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So, this is my story/opinion. I left for my mission in Argentina at the end of September, 2011. Over the course of my mission, I wrote my girl friend and she wrote me every week. It was probably the best thing that I had on my mission. Why? This amazing girl, (that I am now waiting for on her mission) always shared with me her own spiritual experiences. She always spoke about how her testimony grows each and every day. 18 months into my mission she entered the MTC. It was an incredible experience to watch her grow in the gospel as a missionary. As a missionary myself we were able to swap mission stories and ideas on how to magnify our callings. As I am now home and she is still in her mission, it fills me with so much joy to see her coming to the close of her mission and how much she has grown. I have strived to be the same righteous support to her as she has been to me. Does this mean that the whole 3 years waiting period has been easy? No.... She would date other people and she would tell me about it. I've dated some people since I've been home and I've told her about it. The key behind not getting distracted, I came to find out, is that you need to desire the happiness of the other MORE than your own. When she told me that she was starting to get a little more serious with one guy I told her, "So long as he makes you happy, know that we will always be friends, and that I will be waiting for an invitation." Its like the old saying goes, "If you love it, let it go. And if it doesn't come back it was never yours. But if it does come back, it was always yours." Life, the mission, they are all way too short to be worried about relationships. The heart of it lies in the question, do you love this person more than yourself? If that is the case, then if/when you get a Dear John on your mission, the love that you have for the well being of this individual, coupled with the Atonement and the power of the Spirit that is found in missionary work will make it all okay. Sounds like great advice for a missionary that gets a Dear John right? What about us at home that are waiting for our girls (guys) to get back? My Mission President gave me this advice, "Don't ever stop doing what made you happy on your mission." What ever that might be, don't ever stop. If you are still pre-mission still, go out with the missionaries and learn what makes them happy! And then you will know what will make you happy before, during and after your mission. Do not take for granted the special oportunity that the Lord is giving you to prepare yourself for the rest of your life. These 2 years (18 months) are the most important moments of your eternity. What else can be done? I have dated a couple of people since I've been home. And yes, I would tell her about it. And yes, she would promptly reply back, "So long as she makes you happy." In all of that though, I was never as happy with anyone else but her. Have I stopped dating? No. But I know now more than ever that I do love my missionary more than any other girl in the world. In conclusion, (and I am hoping that this all posts) you need to be a pilar of strength and focus to your missionary. Don't go writing her (him) about how much you love her (him) and how much you want to see them and hug them and kiss them and blah blah blah. It sounds silly, but it is really a fight that I've had to fight often when writing my missionary. They are on the Lord's errand; you can either be a walking stick in their hand, or a load on their back. I recommend being the stick.

ldslivin said...

11:44 PM
on Aug 11, 2014

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I have a question? I have feelings for a missionary that is assigned to my ward but i cant find a way to let her know i have feelings for her without causing any problems because she is on her mission.Any advice?
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