Dear 100 Hour Board,
Yesterday (Tuesday, Oct 18) you answered the question asking if a soon-to-be missionary's girlfriend would wait for him. All of the answers were a pretty resounding "No!"
It made me wonder if there were any personal experiences behind those answers. The whole "waiting for a missionary" thing is a very unique part of BYU culture and I find everything about it fascinating. Also, I'm a lover of good stories.
So! I'd like to hear some waiting stories. I'll take anything about waiting for a missionary. It doesn't matter if it worked out or not, if the waiting was for an Elder or a Sister, even whether the waiting is over or is currently happening. Plus, it doesn't even have to be your own personal story. It could be a friend's.
So, Board Writers, what's your story?
I left a girl behind when I left on my mission, and while we both said the standard "I don't expect you to wait"/"I'm going to date around" platitudes, we both secretly hoped things would work out in the long run. (Disclaimer: Neither of us had been in a serious relationship before.) She wrote me pretty faithfully for 18 months, which gave me reason to hope. She didn't write at all for those last six months, and I wrote to her a handful of times. When my parents came to pick me up at the mission home, I found out that the reason she hadn't written to me for six months was because she'd gotten engaged. She'd even sent a wedding invitation to my sister, since the two of them had become friends over the last two years. Cue very sad tears from Elder D.A.R.E., etc. It wasn't unexpected, but I had hoped that I might be the one to beat the odds.
A year later, I was dating another woman, except this time, the roles were reversed. She'd sent off a missionary a year and a half earlier, and while she hadn't promised him anything, she was hoping to be the one to beat the odds, too. I kept trying to convince her that waiting for someone that might be interested in a few months didn't make much sense when compared with having someone who definitely was interested right in front of her, but it ended up being a losing battle. That, coupled with the conversation we had where she told me that one big advantage her missionary had over me was his desire to be a doctor versus my desire to be a high school teacher was enough to convince me that we didn't need to continue our relationship any longer. (She went on a date or two with the missionary when he got home a few months later, but actually ended up marrying his roommate.)
So I've been burned on both sides of the waiting game. I know it works well for some people (former writers Waldorf and Sauron are two such examples), but it's much, much more likely that it doesn't. In my case, I'm very glad it didn't, because as nice as those first two women are, neither of them can hold a candle to the woman I married. And I'm not just saying that because she reads the Board. (Okay, maybe just a little bit. Hi, sweetie!)
I can only think of two couples off-hand who successfully waited during a mission (though one couple was my parents, so, way to go, parents!).
Before I left on my mission I'd been dating someone fairly seriously for well over a year. Actually, deciding to go on a mission just came out of nowhere, so, that was a surprise. After I got my call we said all kinds of great things about waiting for each other.
Less than a month before I actually left, however, we got into a fight (him not wanting me to go, me still going) and I decided to go on a 10 day vacation with my auntie and uncle. I came home and found out he'd met a girl online while I was gone. I told him I still wasn't staying and he eloped with that girl three weeks later (which happened to be the day I gave my farewell address at my ward).
I didn't even have to make it to the MTC before my boyfriend decided not to wait.
I found out that he'd eloped after I was already on my mission. I got an e-mail from my mom right before my companion and I went shopping. I was trying to hold myself together (we had dated a very long time) and just wanted comfort food (in this case, Lucky Charms), but there was no sugary cereal to be found. I sat down in the middle of the cereal aisle and sobbed.
It was awesome. Also sad at the time. But now it's just a funny story.
-Marguerite St. Just