The concept of mentoring has been around for centuries. It’s all about sharing knowledge, life skills and personal experiences to guide another person towards reaching their full potential. It’s about investing your time and talents to make a positive difference in the life of another. In a nutshell it’s discipleship at its best.
Marriage mentoring is exactly the same – except you’re doing it as a couple, and you’re doing it with a couple.
“If Churches would become marriage mentor centres, it would create a revolution in our society” (John Ortberg)
Pastors can’t be all things to all people, but the Church as a whole can provide the space and the support that is needed to help couples thrive today. Imagine a church that has a network of trained marriage mentors offering practical help to their local community.
So what are the benefits
1. It’s proven to increase marriage satisfaction.
“69% of couples involved in marriage mentoring indicate the quality of their own relationship improves” (Dr Edward Gray, TWOgether Pittsburgh)
Every couple that has gone through our mentoring programme has loved the benefits. The quality of their communication has improved, their parenting has been more effective, their decision making has been more cohesive, they’ve handled conflict more constructively, and their future has looked more optimistic and hopeful.
2. It reduces divorce
“Couples on the brink of divorce who enrol in marriage education with follow-up mentoring increase their chances of staying together from virtually 0% to 70%.” (Marriage Savers).
The Vanier Institute goes further by saying that “marriages overall have a 59% success rate. Couples undergoing marriage preparation or pre-marriage counselling and mentoring have a success rate of 80-90%”.
So marriage mentoring can increase the likelihood of couples staying together by 44%!
3. It benefits both mentors and mentees
When Andy and I mentored couples, we experienced first-hand the benefit to our own marriage. We had to be pro-active in dealing with our own ‘stuff’ because we were going to be talking about it with a younger couple the following week. The teacher always learns more than the pupil!
Mentors also enjoy engaging in an activity together that brings them shared meaning. And we know from the Gottman Institute that having shared meaning is imperative to creating a satisfying fulfilling marriage.
4. Mentoring addresses common challenges to marriage
Many younger couples today are coming from families whose parents are divorced and so a lack of good role models is a challenge. I had first-hand experience of this; my Mum divorced twice before I was 14, and then my guardians divorced when I was 17. I never saw a good picture of marriage until I went to University where I was placed in a church family; it was through those interactions that I got to see what a healthy vibrant marriage looked like.
And this is a benefit of mentoring – it helps provide good roles models. Not perfect ones.
Our young people need older couples who are willing to be authentic and vulnerable, to share their struggles and their successes, and to normalise the difficulties of married life.
“50% of couples will experience serious problems in their first year of marriage.” (Vanier Institute)
That statistic alone can bring huge relief for many young couples. Understanding that a little disillusionment is normal is encouraging in itself.
Imagine if you’d been mentored for a year in the early stages of your marriage. How do you think you would have navigated those seasons if you’d had an older wiser couple meeting with you monthly, praying for you, guiding you through topics and asking questions that brought insight and understanding?
Mentoring can help meet the current needs and desires of couples to have a successful marriage.
5. The return is massive
Time is our most valuable resource and we all want a good return for our investment. Marriage Mentoring does exactly that. For your investment of 2 hours a month for 12 months, that’s just 24 hours of your life, you can change the trajectory of a relationship.
I don’t think I’ve ever known a better return than that!
One day of your life has the potential to equip a young couple for a lifetime.
If you want to learn more about Marriage Mentoring check it out here.