Why Marrying an RM Isn't My Top Priority

When I was in Young Women's, I was taught repeatedly that I should try really hard to marry a returned missionary. For the longest time, it was my number one priority for a trait in my future spouse. We made lists a few times for mutual activities about what traits we wanted in our future husbands. At the top of my lists I always wrote, "Returned Missionary." Well, my priorities have changed since then. 

Sometimes, young men can't serve missions. There are many reasons why they can't, and one of those reasons is because of a mental illness. Missions are extremely taxing emotionally and mentally. The Church recognizes this and understands that not every young man or young woman is healthy enough to handle the strain. I wasn't, and that's why I had to come home. For awhile I thought it was some sort of punishment, some sort of negative consequence for struggling. But I've come to realize that it was all in my best interest. The Brethren care about my health. They want me to be happy and healthy. When it was clear that I was no longer healthy, they did what was best for me. If I had a life threatening cancer, a debilitating injury, or anything of the sorts, I would not be expected to stay (or serve), and neither would anyone else. A mental illness is just as legitimate of a reason to not be able to serve a mission as any other kind of illness is. 

Now, just because a young man is not mentally healthy enough to serve a mission does not seem them undeserving of marriage. It does not make them unworthy priesthood holders. It does not make them worth less than any returned missionary. Recently, I've had correspondence with several young men who have expressed their challenges with dating because it seems like girls only want to date returned missionaries. I was once one of those girls. It was extremely unfair of me. 

But nowadays, my top priority concerning who I marry is this: are they worthy priesthood holders? And along with that, do they love God more than anything else in this world? If so, that is enough for me. Now, of course I support missions. I support missionaries. I fully believe that young men should do all they can to serve a mission. However, if it's not the right thing for them to do for whatever reason, that's okay. Being a returned missionary doesn't equal salvation. Salvation comes through consistent hard work and keeping the commandments. Missions supplement this, but are not the whole of it. 

My fellow single adult women, don't treat a man poorly because he didn't serve a mission. Young women, reevaluate those lists you make in mutual. Don't be blinded by the fact that a man didn't serve a mission so much that you don't get to know who he really is. A little black name tag doesn't define who a man really is and what he is really like, no matter how much you think it does. That little black tag is nothing in comparison to the size of his heart.