I would like to begin this blog by saying NO marriage is perfect! Those who are just starting out and are in the Spring season of their marriage may think their relationship is perfect, but that is just not possible. If you did have a perfect marriage, what negative experiences would you have to help others struggling in similar situations? Through my own marital challenges, I have been able to support other couples that express similar struggles. The following are mentoring myths that may stop you from encouraging other couples:
You Must be An Expert
Mentors do not have to be professionals because they are experts based on their own experiences. Wherever God takes you, he will provide you with wisdom, courage, guidance, and discernment as you help others. God is great about leading us in talking with couples. There have been many aha moments when I noticed that my words were not mine, but of the Holy Spirit. One may question their ability by asking, “what do we have to offer to anybody”? Let God guide you and trust in Him during the process.
Mentoring Can Be a Scary Thing
Mentors believe that they must have a perfect marriage, otherwise how can they guide others towards healthier and positive interactions. Mentoring cannot be done by someone in a perfect marriage because it does not exist. It must be done by couples who are committed to growing in their relationship. Mentors are successful when they share some of their own past struggles and how God helped them through these challenges and difficulties. Mentors can provide a sense of hope for a couple who are unable to see their way forward. Providing a sense of hope is crucial, therefore always speak hope and love into lives because there is always hope in God. Mentors must be transparent and talk not only about your high points, but also about your low points. Other couples will learn so much more when listening about your struggles and how you managed through the storm. Mentors can share what God has done to help them in their relationship and encourage other couples that God can do the same for them. Modeling a healthy relationship is important but does not mean that is it a perfect one.
You’re Responsible for Their Marriage
Mentors are not responsible for a couple’s well-being. In my profession as a marriage counselor, this is something that I struggle with from time to time. I must constantly remind myself that I can lead a couple towards healthier patterns and positive interactions, but at the end of the day, it is their job to utilize the tools. Couples are responsible to apply what is learned. A mentor’s gift is not to fix whatever’s going on in the marriage, but to be present and walk alongside a couple’s journey. Mentors should not take on the burden of responsibility for another couple’s marriage, just as they shouldn’t accept the glory for “saving” a relationship. Please always remember, God is amazing and with Him all things are possible. We must live with Him in Faith and Works.