My hope is with each album I learn a little bit more about the songwriting process and I learn how to be more conversational and honest in my writing.
Do you and your spouse have mentors for your marriage? Forging a friendship with a couple who has been married longer than you can be a great way to gain support and insight into married life. It’s important for you and your spouse to connect with another committed couple that’s passionate about marriage–and about guiding the two of you toward lifelong love.
Marriage mentors can help during all of the three seasons in your marriage; we call this the Marriage Mentoring Triad. We look at the triad as three sides of a triangle that make up three major seasons every couple experiences:
Let’s take a deeper look at how your marriage mentors can help you navigate each part of the triad.
It’s important for you and your spouse to connect with another committed couple that’s passionate about marriage.
During the Prepare phase of your marriage, you and your spouse are starry-eyed and full of young love. This is the launching phase of your marriage; maybe you’re engaged or newly married, and you’re just setting out on your adventures together.
Marriage mentoring can be very powerful during this phase of marriage because after you’ve crossed that threshold and the honeymoon is over, you’ll realize marriage isn’t simple. In fact, it can be downright hard, even during the early years.
Having mentors who can provide constructive and helpful perspective on the challenges you’ll face after the wedding will help lighten the emotional load you and your new husband or wife might be feeling. Your mentors can help bring humor back into a situation that might feel tense and unsteady, now that your new reality is sinking in.
Your mentors should be willing to share stories from their early years of marriage and be willing to be vulnerable enough to share both their missteps and victories. You should be able to ask them for their take on things like first conflicts, first holidays, financial management, and clashing family expectations. They’ll help you see that you and your spouse can survive the challenges you’re experiencing because they did, too.
The Repair phase of a marriage is the most difficult to go through, but at some point, every couple has to walk through it–sometimes more than once. If you and your spouse are in the Repair phase after going through some really difficult or traumatic times, you’ll want to seek out a marriage mentor couple who has not only experienced something difficult together, but who has also come out on the other side stronger than before.
Couples who have been through difficult times themselves have a story to tell about their marriage. When you’re in the trenches, you need a loving, experienced couple who knows what you’re going through and has walked in your shoes. The ideal mentoring couple will have gained strength and health in spite of the challenges they faced, and be willing and able to extend help to you and your spouse.
When you’re going through a hard season in your marriage, nothing compares to having a mentoring couple who have faced catastrophe together. Whether you’re dealing with financial disaster, infertility, unresolved conflict, or infidelity, connecting with a couple who has weathered the same kind of blow to their marriage is so helpful. Through the relationship you develop with your mentors, you’ll be able to see that if they made it, so can you.
Often, couples don’t tend to think about the status of their marriages until they’re in a crisis; it happens to the best of us. But what if we considered the state of our marriages when we’re in a good place? The Maximize phase is a great time to bring in marriage mentors who can help us take our marriage from good to great.
If things seem to be going smoothly in your marriage, it can be easy to just maintain status quo and avoid rocking the boat. But why not intentionally look for ways to increase your marital satisfaction–even just by 10% in the next year? Seeing that kind of growth in your relationship could make a world of difference for you both.
During this season, connecting with a mentor couple can help you get inspired to set and meet specific goals for growth in your marriage. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn from your mentors’ mistakes so that you have the chance to avoid making the same ones yourself in the future.
Think of mentoring as an investment for your marriage. Not only will you make lifelong friends and learn a lot along the way; you’ll also nurture the lifelong love you launched when you said, “I do.”
Copyright © 2017 Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, Check-out the SYMBIS Assessment
I mentor several young men right now. These are the women I tell my spiritual sons to avoid:
1. The unbeliever. The Bible is absolutely clear on this point: Christians should not marry unbelievers. Second Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (NASB). Apart from your decision to follow Christ, marriage is the single most important decision you’ll ever make. Don’t blow it by ignoring the obvious. You need a wife who loves Jesus more than she loves you. Put spiritual maturity at the top of your list of qualities you want in a wife.
2. The material girl. One young friend was engaged to a girl from a rich family. He saved up money for months to buy a ring, but when he proposed, she told him he needed to buy a bigger diamond. She pushed her fiance to go into debt for a ring that fit her expectations. She wanted a Tiffany’s lifestyle on his Walmart budget. I warned my friend that he was stepping into serious trouble. Unless you want to live in debt for the rest of your life, do not marry a girl who has dollar signs in her eyes and eight credit cards in her Gucci purse.
3. The Diva. Divas think the world revolves around them, and they don’t think twice about hurting somebody else to prove their point.Their words are harsh and their finger-snapping demands are unreasonable. Some of these women might end up in leadership positions at church, but don’t be fooled by their super-spiritual talk. If you don’t see Christlike humility in the woman you’re dating, back away from her and keep looking.
4. The Delilah. Remember Samson? He was anointed by God with superhuman strength, but he lost his power when a seductive woman figured out his secret and gave her man the world’s most famous haircut. Like Delilah, a woman who hasn’t yielded her sexuality to God will blind you with her charms and break your heart. If the “Christian” woman you met at church dresses provocatively, flirts with other guys, posts sexually inappropriate comments on Facebook, or tells you she’s okay with sex before marriage, get out of that relationship before she traps you.
5. The contentious woman. A young man told me recently that he was engaged to a girl who had had serious resentment in her heart because of past hurts. “Before I would propose, I told my fiancee she had to deal with this,” he explained. This guy realized unresolved bitterness can ruin a marriage. Proverbs 21:9 says, “It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” If the woman you are dating is seething with anger and unforgiveness, your life together will be ruined by arguing, door-slamming, and endless drama. Insist she get prayer and counseling.
6. The controller. Marriage is a 50/50 partnership, and the only way it works is when both husband and wife practice mutual submission</span> (Ephesians 5:21). Just as some guys think they can run a marriage like a dictatorship, some women try to manipulate decisions to get their way. This is why premarital counseling is so important! You don’t want to wait until you’ve been married for two weeks to find out your wife wants to call all the shots.
7. The mama’s girl. It’s normal for a new wife to call her mom regularly for advice and support. It is not normal for her to talk to her mother five times a day about every detail of her marriage, including her sex life.That’s weird. Yet I’ve counseled guys whose wives allowed their mothers (or fathers) total control of their marriages. Genesis 2:24 says a man is to leave his parents and cleave to his wife. Parents should stay in the background of their children’s marriages. If your girlfriend hasn’t cut the apron strings, proceed with caution.
8. The Addict. Many people in the church today struggle with various types of addictions—to alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medicines, or pornography—either because we don’t confront these sins from the pulpit or we don’t offer enough compassionate support to strugglers. Jesus can completely set a person free from these habits, but you don’t want to wait until you’re married to find out your wife isn’t sober. You may still be called to be married, but it is not wise to tie the knot until your girlfriend faces her issues head-on.
Your best rule to follow in choosing a wife is found in Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Look past the outward qualities that the world says are important, and look at the heart.
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma magazine and the director of the Mordecai Project. Originally published by Charisma, 600 Rinehart Rd., Lake Mary, FL 32750. charismamag.com. Used by permission.
“Lately, my husband cries a lot,” my friend Debbie shared. “He’s distraught about how his kids have to deal with so much turmoil and stress living in two homes. My heart just breaks for him. He just wants his kids to be happy and have a normal life. But we can only control what goes on in our house, not the other home.”
I lost count of the number of times I watched my husband, Steve, cry over the situations his kids experienced as children of a divorce he didn’t want. Many times he would wail, “They don’t want to spend time with me anymore,” or “My sons don’t believe that I love them.”
It made me angry—very angry—at his kids. I was furious that his kids would hurt and reject him so purposefully. I wanted to rage at them about what I perceived as their cruel and bratty behavior.
Over the years, Steve’s continuous tears triggered a resentment in me toward his children that exacerbated the stewing and brewing. In time, those negative thoughts turned into negative words and attitudes toward his kids.
One day I realized something. Could my outrage be misplaced? Was there a deeper reason as to why I was so irate? Why did it bother me so much when Steve wept for his children?
After a great deal of soul searching, prayer, and wise words from people I respected, I began to understand the hidden reasons why Steve’s tears caused me such grief. This is what I grew to comprehend:
How I figured out why my husband’s tears caused me such grief.
I craved a daddy who missed me. My parents divorced when I was eight and my whole world crumbled. I lived full time with my mom, and only saw my dad every other weekend. I missed him terribly. But visitation with my dad soon included his new girlfriend and her kids. He never came to any school events and I began to wonder if he missed me. As an adult I now believe my father loved me, and was very sad to have me living in another home. But at the time, I wondered. And it caused a severe blow to my spirit and self-worth.
I longed for a parent who cried over me. My mom focused on discipline, my dad on being the “good guy.” But in my wounded mind, I never got the impression either one of them would weep if I were gone. I was a very lonely, depressed teenager who frequently thought about suicide. My parents’ divorce embedded a self-loathing that plagued me for many years. And I never once believed I was worth crying over.
I now know both of my parents loved me and they parented the best way they knew how. But it took years for me to come to that realization, and to forgive them for some of the poor choices they made.
I resented my husband’s kids for not appreciating all he did for them. As a kid my parents fought about everything—including money. And I was placed smack dab in the middle.
My husband worked very hard to make sure he didn’t do that to his kids. He always paid his child support and extra bills, such as the orthodontist, on time or early. I foolishly expected Steve’s kids to appreciate his integrity and character, which was ridiculous, now that I think back on it. But as a kid, I wanted the security and peace his kids were receiving, so I assumed they should be grateful. And when they weren’t, it made me angry.
My childhood pain and abandonment resurfaced. The bottom line is, every time I watched Steve shed a tear, I wanted to stand up and scream at his kids, “Do you have ANY idea how blessed you are? Do you know how many kids would love to have a good, responsible father who cares? Do you know how many dads don’t show up for a dance recital or prom? Do you know that you have EVERYTHING I wanted?”
As it turned out my anger was more about my inner pain than it was about Steve or his kids. Yes, I hurt because my husband hurt. I sincerely wanted to comfort and encourage him. But I couldn’t help my husband until I took care of the raging little girl residing inside my own heart and mind.
Jesus washed away my sin. He didn’t wash away my brain. I had to discover that my twisted thinking and pain had to be handed over to him. Jesus is always willing to heal my throbbing heart. My job is to acknowledge and admit the wounds, and how they are still affecting my life and my marriage. Then I must lay them at the foot of the cross, trusting that Jesus’ healing power will teach me to overcome a haunting past.
This is the abundant life Christ paid for on the cross. This is true freedom.
Copyright © 2016 Laura Petherbridge. All rights reserved.
Laura Petherbridge is an international author and speaker. She is the author of 101 Tips for The Smart Stepmom—Expert Advice from One Stepmom to Another; When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”—Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce; The Smart Stepmom, co-authored with Ron Deal; and Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. Her website is TheSmartStepmom.com
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