Three years into our marriage we were upside down financially. We had purchased our first home, had two car payments and as many credit cards as my youth pastor salary would allow. We were living paycheck to paycheck. We argued everyday about money. We were stressed about money. Trisha knew we needed help. I was too proud to admit it.
One night we were on our way to our senior pastor’s house for dinner. As we were pulling into the driveway, Trisha said to me, “Just so you know, I took Mark and Rhonda all of our finances today and they are going to help us build a budget tonight after dinner.” I was furious. The last thing I wanted was someone poking around our finances. I didn’t want to be vulnerable. I didn’t want to be held accountable. I didn’t want anyone to know I didn’t have it all together. As a twenty-five year old husband and father of two, the truth was I needed help…but didn’t want to admit it. I’ve learned from that mistake.
That experience taught us a lesson, not just for our marriage, but for every marriage. The one thing every marriage needs is a mentor. Every single marriage needs another couple building into it. Every marriage needs a mentoring couple. Here is the process we’ve gone through to find a mentor.
1. Admit you don’t have it all together.
Why are we so hesitant to admit we need help? So many of our problems, mistakes and issues get repeated day after day, week after week, year after year simply because we pretend like we’re okay when we are not okay. Pride won’t improve your marriage. Humility will. The first step in this process is simply saying, “We need help.”
2. Invite a couple you admire into your world.
Whose marriage do you look up to? Who in your life is a stage of life ahead of you; has kids that have turned out well; seem to love each other late in life? God has probably strategically placed a couple in your life that would be honored to be invited into that space. Maybe it’s finances…maybe it’s parenting…maybe it’s business…maybe it’s conflict resolution. You can’t change beyond your own wisdom and experience.
3. Be vulnerable and share your junk.
It does no good to invite a couple to mentor you if you withhold the dark parts of your marriage. Sharing the parts of your marriage that are broken and frustrating is the only way to improve and find healing. Transparency is the key to transformation. Be vulnerable and watch God show up.
The book of James says, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other, that you may be healed.”
Your marriage doesn’t have to be the same this time next year…but the odds are that it will be the same unless you do something differently.