When Tommy and I were preparing for our wedding, one of the top things on our to-do list was finding a best couple.
We had already agreed that we would use a couple (not a man and woman who were not married to each other) and with that couple rule in place, the next big thing was finding the couple.
And that is the road that most couples who are staring down a wedding road have to pass through …finding a best couple.
Replying to a comment left by Reeny in my last blog post Dear Newlywed Wife.., it hit me once again that most of the courting couples today are looking for best couples…not necessarily mentor couples.
Now, it would make a post for another day but personally, I feel that there is a serious need for marriage mentors. Married couples, both young and old, who have a genuine desire to help, mentor and walk with upcoming couples.
Now, most people, married and unmarried, easily go for mentorship in other areas of life like career, sports or business but shy away from mentorship when it comes to marriage. A “we-know-it all” or “it’s our private business” kind of attitude permeates the air when it comes to this area. I find such an attitude weird because, come on, which kid pops out its mama and walks away in a huff, nose stuck in the air with “the fact that I’ve been born means I can take care of myself” attitude? Silly, right?
Of course, not that all upcoming couples take off like that, but majority do. I should know, cos i was one of them. It took a while for me to turn around.
Now, and again from personal experience, only a small number of married couples are willing to take time to nurture and mentor other upcoming ones. True, one of the biggest hindrances to an older couple’s desire to nurture other upcoming ones is the feeling that they are “the least of these”. They feel least qualified because just like everyone else who’s been married longer than a day, they have their own issues and baggage to sort. So they do not necessarily feel like a poster child for a good marriage.
What has helped Tommy and I, in journeying with upcoming and newlyweds is the simple revelation that “God does not call the qualified but qualifies the called”. We have our own gazillion issues; we are NOT perfect…far from it! But we now recognize that it’s not perfection in marriage that qualifies us to mentor others. But it’s a heart that likes and wants to help people. That’s what matters.
Most upcoming couples are not looking for perfect couples to mentor them. They don’t even know how that looks like in the first place. Again from experience, it’s the “weakest” (read human) of them all who are most attractive. The couples who don’t have it all together, the ones who admit they got into a serious domez the previous night and they’d just spent the afternoon trying to make up because they were expecting us. The ones who admit that they fail their children.
The “perfect couples” can be very scary. Really frightening. I mean, i needed someone who was just like me, just abit more mature, someone who would give me hope since Tommy and i were fighting a whole lot of time. I needed someone who would value me and not make me feel bad about my own “imperfect” relationship.
So, if you are a courting couple that is currently staring down a marriage road, what should you be looking for?
Number one; you must think post wedding, not wedding day!
Ideally, look for a couple, people who are married to each other. I say ideally because there might be unique circumstances that prevent you from having a couple who are married to each other. For me, using the “split option” that should be like the very very last resort because I do not see the effectiveness of such an arrangement. Two different people, married to two different people are hardly the ideal when it comes to couple-to-couple mentoring. You must be on the same page.
Maybe due to availability, strength of relationship, maturity, the bride and groom can choose to have a best couple and a mentor couple. We have seen this work. Those that you connect to deeply may not necessarily be the ones standing on your side on your wedding day, for one reason or the other. You can have good friends as your best couple and keep your mentor couple as well. Mentorship is really what you need after your wedding day.
Personally and call me old-fashioned, am appalled by this hippy fad of using an unmarried person to be a best man or woman or as a mentor in marriage. I mean, how will a single person be able to nurture, encourage, prod a married person?
As a courting couple, you also need to find a couple who will celebrate you. Tommy and I loved being around people who encouraged us to spend more with each other… people who complemented us, listened to us, generally treated us as though we had really deep revelation about marriage and relationships. We were attracted to those who cooked for us (this was biiig!), laughed with us and made us feel like the biggest thing after sliced bread. We wanted to feel special and exclusive and our mentors and best couple made us feel like that. They prayed and spoke blessings over us.
You need people who will encourage you. A strong couple that will stand with you in tough times, not throw you out with the bath waters. Young relationships are pretty tricky, very delicate and you need a couple that gets that. There are days for spanking and days for hugging and tears. You cannot be bashed in the head all the time. These are the kind that you open your heart to, those who see beyond your naivety and wisely speak life into relationship.
You need people who will get into your face and tell you the truth. You need an honest couple. This honesty deal may just sneak up on you because the nature of the human being is to look for the easy way out. You may not understand what “honesty” means until it hits you right between your eyes. So please don’t walk out on a good couple because they told you what your parents never told you. As a guy, you need a man who will take one good look at you and recommend a long ice-cold shower…of body and mind. The bride-to-be needs someone who can adjust the hemline and neckline (with scissors and pieces of fabric if necessary) without batting an eyelash. You need a couple that can call you at 7pm and ask where you are, what you are doing and what time you are getting home. You need people who will keep you straight and whip you into shape till you cry in pain. Yep. Really.
You must go for a couple that have a heart and passion for YOUR relationship. Not just any but yours specifically. That is the only way you will flow anyway. You need to “click”, to get each other, be comfortable with each other. If one of you isn’t flowing, e.g the lady isn’t flowing with the other lady or vice versa, you need to talk, see if you need to continue looking. But just understand that relationships are not built overnight. It takes time and effort to find flow. Give the relationship time to grow.
You must see beyond the wedding day. See continuity.
So connect with people that you see yourselves with for a long time to come.