When Tammy and I first married, we quickly found that there were at least 4 things your marriage needs.
We both knew that we would need outside help to have the marriage that we hoped for.
- Our birth families were good to and for us, but we wanted our marriage to be more and deeper than what we saw while we were growing up.
- We knew that those dreams for a better marriage would only be a distant fantasy unless we could find older, wiser couples to help us out.
Through the years, the churches we attended helped fill that need.
We have tried to be intentional about:
- Watching other couples for what we liked and didn’t like in their relationships.
- Creating times to be with and talk to older couples that we admired.
- Asking for and carefully listening to advice.
- Doing our best to apply and use the insights we gained.
While we have made LOTS of mistakes, and struggled in many ways, our life as a couple has been MUCH better with the help of mentors than it would have been without them.
Like us, here are 4 things your marriage needs:
- Your marriage needs inspiration during the tough times.
Of all your relationship’s needs, perhaps the greatest need is for HOPE:
- When times get hard
- When you doubt yourself and each other
- When you stumble with life’s hurts and disappointments
A carefully chosen mentor can help you through all of these because they too have been through them. They can tell you why and how to endure them.
Sometimes, the quickest path to hope comes from separating “facts” from “feelings.” “Feelings” of anger, resentment, fear, despair, etc. may or my not be rooted in actual “facts.” A good mentor couple can be a BIG help with this.
- Your marriage needs your assumptions to be challenged.
Good mentors help you rethink what you think you know about:
- Your marriage
- Your circumstances
Our greatest blind spots lie in the areas where:
- We think we have everything figured out and under control
- We don’t even know that a problem is beginning
- We don’t know the range of possibilities
- Your marriage needs help setting goals.
Are your expectations too high or too low in a specific instance? Is what you want even achievable? If your marriage achieves what you envision, will it be worth the emotional, time and financial resources it will cost?
An experienced mentor couple that knows and loves you can help you sort these things out.
- Your marriage needs perspective beyond yourself.
Most people tend to struggle with what a friend of mine used to call “navel gazing.” That’s when we find ourselves too focused on self and not focused enough on the larger picture of life as a whole.
Having an on-going relationship with a more experienced couple can help open your eyes to the larger pictures of:
- Your marriage
- Your kids
- Your frustrations
- Your joys
- Even how you view the world at large
Mark Merrill recently made these suggestions regarding how to get the most from the time spent with marriage mentors:
- Don’t ask them for permission or to make decisions for you. Stay focused on asking for their advice.
- Don’t go off on tangents. Keep your questions relevant and specific.
- Don’t ask questions about things you already know are the right thing to do.
Mark also listed some questions you might like to ask your chosen marriage mentor:
- What do you know now that you wish you knew and believed about marriage when you started?
- What practical steps have you taken to make your marriage stronger?
- Who or what has influenced your marriage for the better?
- What are your priorities in your marriage?
- What unimportant things have you overemphasized in your marriage?
- What important things have you underemphasized in your marriage?
- Do you have any specific advice for me as you see me interact with my spouse?
A good mentor couple isn’t one that lacks mistakes. What makes them qualified to help you is that they have learned from their own experiences:
- Where things went well for them
- Where things jumped the track between them
- What they did about both types of circumstances
What makes them valuable is that they are willing to invest their thoughts, time and efforts into you.
Look for mentors that can relate to where you’re at and where you want to be as a couple. When you find such people, go out of your way to make it easy and fun for them to share their experiences and wisdom with you.
A good mentor couple will help you navigate these 4 things your marriage needs.
And, as I’ve said before, they very best place to look for good marriage mentors is within the fellowship of a good, Bible-based church!
“5 Reasons You Need Marriage Mentors”