It’s exciting and mildly terrifying to start this path of marriage. I love my parents, but wish we had someone to talk to who wouldn’t try to parent us, and who could also be more personal than professional counseling.
A young couple embarking on the journey of marriage would benefit greatly from having an older couple to walk with them. This is the role of a mentor.
Certainly parents and friends can serve a helpful function to a young couple. However, these relationships cannot always provide the objective perspective the couple needs. Sometimes issues might be dismissed as “normal,” or become so emotionally charged it leaves everyone feeling drained.
Likewise, professional counseling has its place, and premarital counseling and marriage therapy are highly recommended. A professional therapist is able to thoroughly assess the relationship and equip the couple with proven tools to strengthen their marriage. At the same time, and by definition, professional counseling is more professional than personal. Typically, one does not go on a double date with his or her therapist.
A mentoring relationship can offer both objectivity and a personal touch. Double dates would be the norm here.
Mentors offer their lived experience as the primary means of passing on knowledge and wisdom. The key is being relational.
Mentoring is not about being perfect or having all the answers. Nor is it a step program to teach or primarily about holding the young couple accountable. Wisdom is passed on in relationship by simply doing life together.
Over a cup a coffee or a picnic at a local park, the young couple would learn by watching how you interact and communicate with each other, how you handle conflict and parenting issues, how you balance work and life, and the like.
As it has been said, more is caught than taught. Much of the needed learning will happen by simply being in relationship with each other, and deeper questions will often arise naturally.
If you need help jumpstarting the deeper conversations, Focus on the Family has a Marriage Mentoring Discussion Guide with many helpful and thought-provoking questions. It is part of their mentoring series, which offers a much fuller discussion on marriage mentoring.
When a young couple asks you to serve as their mentor, please consider it. “The harvest is great, but the workers are few” seems especially true here.
Your investment into a young couple will not only bless them for generations to come, but will also bless your own marriage.