While missions build wonderful experiences, we should be careful about the stereotypes we carry in the Church.
Bad dating advice is as common as the flu during the winter. I’ve gotten all sorts of awful dating advice, but one takes the cake. “Only marry an RM.” This the worse dating advice one can give a YSA. Not because serving a mission is bad; in fact, every able-bodied young man has been asked to serve a mission. But it is dangerous for many reasons. I will focus on three of them.
*Disclaimer, I loved my mission in New England and I highly recommend serving a mission. I learned so much about marriage and family relationships while teaching others about eternal families. President Hinckley taught that serving a mission is also one of the best ways to prepare for a marriage.
Spirituality can’t be judged by a title, even RM.
When I lived in the Bible Belt, everyone I worked with was a non-member. Something that was odd was how often they would ask me to date either their daughter, sister, or best friend. One time I was confused and told them, “I am a Mormon; you’re Baptist.” The reply was “But you love God.” It struck me, they really cared about someone’s spiritual life.
When I moved back to Utah, I realized that often times the “RM” checkbox replaces caring about someone’s spirituality. Spirituality cannot, and should not, be judged by a title, be it RM, Elders Quorum president or Relief Society president.
Personal spirituality and loyalty to God are the most important attribute and characteristic to look for in your future spouse. Everything in your relationship hinges on this one aspect of their character. If they are not loyal to God, covenants will be broken and heartache will follow.
Rather than judging their spiritual strength off the RM checkbox, find out if they are loyal to God. Ask yourself, do they love Him? Even more than me? Do they honor their covenants and promises? Do they home/visit teach? These are the most important questions.
“Do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so concerned about his physical appearance and his bank account that you overlook his more important qualities. Of course, he should be attractive to you, and he should be able to financially provide for you. But, does he have a strong testimony? Does he live the principles of the gospel and magnify his priesthood? Is he active in his ward and stake? Does he love home and family, and will he be a faithful husband and a good father? These are qualities that really matter.” Ezra Taft Benson