Newlywed mentoring – what should a newlywed couple look for when looking for a marriage mentor?
Is your newlywed boat rocking?
Or perhaps chugging at a much slower – and bumpier – pace than you would like?
Navigating to calmer shores if you started with a storm, is possible but requires a willingness to work.
My husband and I are acquainted with newlywed storms, having weathered a few as a new couple.
Today, I want to share the lessons we learned in the early years of marriage. Because it’s easy to throw in the towel when going through a stormy patch and my desire for you is that you would keep rowing so you don’t stall in the middle of a storm.
For a newlywed couple to navigate the storms of early marriage three things must be present;
Today, we’ll focus on marriage mentoring and I’ll share 9 things I learned about mentoring
1. Mentors do not take the place of God
I made the mistake of putting our mentors ahead of God.
I wanted them to fix and make right the wrong in our marriage; I found myself getting frustrated when their counsel was hard to put to practice.
Instead of seeking God for ourselves, I wanted our mentors to show me everything. Eventually, I learned that the job of a mentor is (or should be) to direct a couple to God.
Mentors can translate a few things based on experience, offer how-tos and presence but a change of heart is Gods forte, and we should never ask or expect of mentors to do what only God can.
2. Marriage mentors don’t read minds
The best mentoring happens when the newlywed couple go out of their way not just to seek guidance but also to receive and implement it.
It happens when they work hard to get over their natural pride, fear or passivity, which tells them only to share a brushed-up version of their lives.
For a newlywed couple to be helped, both have, to be honest about their problems. Sharing your private travails is difficult, but protecting them is costlier.
3. Newlywed mentoring is not replacement for hard work (by the couple)
You can sit and chat over coffee and glean amazing insights. But implementing the advice and getting the work done? That’s your job, not your mentor’s.
There was this time we sat down with our mentors, and after the meeting we came to the mutual conclusion that we did not feel heard. “I don’t think they really understood us today.” Which was followed another thought. “But it’s probably not their job to understand all of our problems.”
It was revolutionary thought at that time, which eventually led me down the path of owning our marriage problems and beginning to work on them like it was dependent on me, not on our mentors.
4. Marriage mentors ought to pray harder than they counsel
I had no idea how much my mentors prayed until I started started working with newlywed wives.
It was then I figured out it’s not a mentors eloquence, experience or knowledge that helps a newlywed couple overcome challenges but the spirit of God working in the hearts of the couple.
A marriage mentor is privileged with a first-row seat of a couple’s problems; they have the seat, not to spectate or offer human wisdom, but for the purposes of deep intercession.
Life changing marriage mentoring is bathed with more prayer than talk, more knee-sessions than coffee-sessions.
A mentor may not always be there to help with every bit of trial but as they keep praying, God is listening and prayer is the most important thing a newlywed couple needs.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12
5. Mentoring does not always end the blame game
When going through a stormy season, most newlywed spouses blame everyone and everything but themselves. A wife will imagine the husband needs a touch from heaven more than she does.
And while her perspective might be accurate, she nonetheless she has to ask herself a few questions too.
Like, who is unhappy now? Who needs joy? Who needs peace? Who needs to walk in faith and not fear? Who needs to love unconditionally? (unconditional love doesn’t mean without boundaries)
Then that’s the person that needs to change.
6. A husband might struggle with marriage mentoring, at first
Unlike women, men dislike putting their hearts out there. They don’t enjoy asking for direction. Or being corrected. This is particularly true if a husband is struggling.
I am not saying a man is right. But it does help a wife to understand why her husband doesn’t enjoy two hours of picking apart marriage issues with another man.
As his wife, you don’t have to insist that he likes it. Only desire that he commits anyway.
7. If you don’t have newlywed mentoring, God is still enough
He was sufficient before you found your friends, he was enough before you found your husband and He will be enough when no one is around.
When my husband and I moved to the United States from Kenya years ago, my biggest area of worry was our marriage. We were 3-years into marriage and enjoyed a very close relationship with our mentors.
With them gone, I worried for our marriage. I was concerned about finding other peer couples, a good church, a good place to life.
A few months of worry and God revealed my over-reliance on others; I seemed to need people more than I needed Him. Now I am so glad for the stripping.
You don’t have to move thousands of miles from your support systems to understand the place of God in marriage. You only need to let God be God and people be people.
Indeed, we should seek mentors, but if they are not to be found we are still without excuse; we can create a great marriage because we have the Author of marriage with us.We should seek mentors, but if they are not to be found we are still without excuse; we can create a great marriage because we have the Author of marriage with us.
He will grow us, convict us, revive us and refresh us as we seek Him.
Keep going to church, keep praying, keep reading the word, keep researching good marriage material, keep seeking relationships, keep doing your part and God will do His.
8. Great mentors are found within your existing circle of relationships (e.g. church)
Emptying your heart to a stranger can feel weird. Since mentoring is mostly informal and very hands-on (or life-on), you need to be comfortable in the relationship, to begin with.
And from experience (both as a mentor and mentee), people work hard to present their best sides so it’s easy to fool someone who doesn’t know you very well but not so easy to fool someone who knows you.
Consequently, the best time to develop marriage mentors is when you don’t need guidance. A newlywed couple should seek friendships with other couples, as part of their life. Check out this post why married couples need married friends
Connect with people for who they are, not just for what they can do for you. And when you finally need help, you won’t have to look far.
9. Family might be biased
Obviously, parents are excellent at their thing – being parents. Brothers and sisters and cousins and besties are good at their thing too – being family.
So don’t ask them to stop being themselves and provide unbiased guidance. Certainly, it’s possible for family to root for you and your spouse aka give unbiased advice, but the truth is that we tend to be biased towards what we love.
Tommy and I keep our family out of our marriage details, not because we think they’d give bad advice but because long after the trouble is gone and we have changed, the record will still be playing in their head. We want to protect our marriage.
Join me next week as we talk about Patience and Friendship! Update – Click here to read the post How friendship and patience can help a marriage in turmoil
So, let’s talk! Do you have marriage mentors? Anything else you can add as far as newlywed mentoring is concerned? If you don’t have mentors, how are you growing and building your marriage? Lets talk in the comments!
Tired of the fussing, fighting and distance? Want to restore joy, healing and happiness to your marriage? Or maybe you just want to love better, create the marriage of your dreams, God’s way. My book Blues to Bliss: Creating Your Happily Ever After In The Early Years will set you on that road. Buy it here Amazon Paperback I Kindle I Barnes & Noble I PDF
Photo by Jennifer Murray from Pexels