By Jayna Richardson

After thirty years of listening to couples and working with pastors, FamilyLife Canada recognized a common gap in marriage ministry. Many churches offer both pre­-marital counselling and crisis intervention, but little is offered for those in between who could use encouragement, wise input, and practical help. That’s where Marriage Mentoring comes in!

More than 2,000 people have gone through FamilyLife Canada’s Marriage Mentoring training, which is a three-hour training, available online. After completing the training, a couple is ready to mentor another couple, meeting once a month for a year. During these approximately ninety-minute meetings, they lead the mentee couple in having guided conversations on essential topics using FamilyLife Canada’s Conversation Guide. 

The curriculum tackles issues that especially trip up marriages in the early years. Couples often think their challenges are unique and can feel alone in their struggles. Through a series of 14 focused conversations, marriage mentoring normalizes those issues and knits couples more closely into church community. 

One couple named Mark and Val were struggling in their marriage; they’d have arguments that went on for days and really felt they were drifting apart. They signed up to be mentored by a couple who had gone through the Marriage Mentoring training and met with them over the course of a year. They put into practice the things they were learning. They started praying together at night and learned ways to resolve their conflicts. And their marriage improved so drastically that they decided they wanted to pass on what they learned to other couples. So they went through Marriage Mentoring training and are now mentoring other couples, and they even serve in a mentoring ministry within their local church.

One mentor couple said, “We have been encouraged by the process of mentoring to realize that our marriage itself is a tool in God’s hands.”

A mentee couple said, “We got wisdom from a couple who are more seasoned in marriage. We will cherish the lessons we learned and the friendships we obtained!”

Who is qualified to become a mentor? As the FamilyLife Canada team says, “If you have a healthy marriage and a heart for others, your life experience qualifies you to be a mentor. You don’t need a perfect marriage, just a willingness to share your story with another couple and listen to theirs.”

Marriage Mentoring has caught on in other places around the world too, including the United States, New Zealand, and China. This simple concept of couples mentoring other couples is being used by God in powerful ways to strengthen marriages everywhere.

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