Find Your Own Marriage Mentoring

Page Highlights: Video with Dr. Gary Chapman with new idea on marriage mentoring

Time for some marriage research. But no need to go to the library.

One of the best ways to learn about marriage is to look to marriage role models.

The Exercise:

  • Each of you think of someone you know who has a successful marriage…not just a long one, but what you consider a good marriage. Hopefully, each of you has parents as role models. But go outside of immediate family for this exercise. Each of you go separately & talk to the husband or wife and ask them about their marriage. Your asking will be a compliment. Come back together and compare notes. What did you learn about marriage from your research?
  • Each of you describe a person or persons whom you consider to be a exceptional father or mother, or husband or wife. Of course, explain your choices. What makes them great in your estimation?
  • Describe a really bad marriage that you are aware of. What makes it bad? Where did it go wrong? How will yours be different? You may want to use the watch a movie exercise also.
  • Here’s a little different approach to getting help from marriage mentors. Watch the short video with Dr. Gary Chapman to see the idea. I really like this!




Many churches are now using marriage mentoring programs to help engaged couples prepare for marriage.

Basically, they pair you up with a couple who has a healthy marriage and you spend time with them asking questions and learning from their experiences.

In a good program, the mentoring couples have received training in mentoring

and the use of specialized marriage preparation tools.

If you are interested, check with a local church to see if they have a marriage mentoring program or can get you contact with one that does.

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21 comments to Find Your Own Marriage Mentoring

  • Sese Bennett and Heather Horner

    We discuss this topic quite frequently. On both sides of the spectrum, we try to analyze the workings of good and bad marriages. We know many couples that fall into both catagories. The difference it seems is not the core value of love, but the break down of communication and the couples turning to self fulling ends rather than working to grow the relationship.

  • Christopher and Bethany

    With both of us having plenty of examples on the good and bad marriages from people that we know, it was good to take a look at those relationships and help us pinpoint key pieces that will help us to understand what it is that can make a good marriage and also to help us with seeing the bad things as well in order for us to work through them without things getting out of hand.

  • Connie Noward and Barry Thiessen

    I want to answer the question on who I feel is an exeptional father to his children. It would have to be my brother Joey. I have watched him over the years and have admired him so much considering he has done everything different than our own dad did. He is always there for his children and is loving and what I always felt a father should be. He above all set a prime example of good morals and values and has never waivered on these things with his children.
    I (Barry) have always admired my Uncle Mike and Aunt Janet’s marriage. I know that they loved each other very much. I saw my Uncle Mike’s love most in the last years of Janet’s life when she was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was there for her through every stage of the disease as it progressed, until her passing.

  • Michael and Terry

    We know the excercise indicates to talk to a couple outside of the immediate family, however, Michael’s parents have been married for over 40 years…and are still much in love. We have both had discussions with each parent seperately about what makes their marriage successful and realize that respect, communication and having the same goals is part of the foundation. Not to mention have fun with each other and never forget why you fell in love with each other no matter how long youve been together.

  • Taryn & Andy

    Our favorite part about this exercise was the video above. The advice to find a mentor that can help you as a couple, not just based upon family relationships or looking for an older mentor, instead looking for someone who can relate and guide you really was interesting. Of course, this section spurred lots of conversations about what we think it a solid, loving marriage.

  • Brad and Kim

    With both of us coming from divorced parents, we have talked about what it was that didn’t work for our parents versus what we see in marriages that have stood the test of time (my grandparents are on 53 years and going!). We have also frequently discussed what we see in our own relationship and how to avoid the negative things and try to accentuate the positive things. That definitely helps us to learn where we would like to take our relationship going forward.

  • Katie and John

    Mentors are good. Enough said! It’s always good to have advice from someone who is been in your shoes.

  • Dustin and Katie

    We both have very different parents. Katie’s parents are our role models when it comes to marriage. They are still happily married after 22 years. Meanwhile Dustin’s parents are the exact opposite of what we want in our marriage. They are separated and not very fond of each other.

  • Lindsey and Rhett

    We both come from divorced parents and have learned a lot from their experiences. While we still carry a strong genetic makeup of each of our parents, we try to tame the negative personality traits that may lead to divorce in the long run (i.e what Rhett perceives as Lindsey nagging about him being lazy). We also have great role models in our lives such as our grandparents. Even though they are deceased, they lived a long time and with happy marriages. There are many stressors in life and it is easy to forget to compliment and appreciate one another but everyday we try to focus on why we fell in love in the first place…even when we are at our angriest, it helps to bring us back down and realize what is most important in life!

  • Kelly and Larry

    We both were fortunate to have parents with great marriages. Larry’s parents were very respectful of each other and communicate well. Kelly’s parents communicated well as well as think about choices they made concerning their marriage (where to live, career goals, and family) choosing to value each other’s opinions and make decisions together strengthened their marriage. We also know of a couple who do not have what we consider a successful marriage, and it boils down to now showing respect for each other as far as finances. We hope and plan to have marriages like our parents.

  • Raychel and Peter

    Peter and I believe that an example of a successful marriage is that of my sister Sarah and her husband Travis. What makes their marriage so successful is because while they are very different, they respect and support those differences. Most importantly however is how they dedicate a lot of time to sharing in activities they both enjoy such as going to the gym, swimming, going to dinner, and seeing movies. They seem to also share both domestic and work roles evenly as they both have important and fairly equal paying jobs and work together getting chores around their home done. Sarah and Travis have been married since January 1, 2012 though they have dated from their senior year of high school in 2004. They have grown with each other and have not lost their spark and appreciation for one another which is lovely.

  • D & S

    We have discussed these topic many times. We know that we are very fortunate to have found each other when we did. We don’t want to take it for granted. Really enjoyed the article about Pastor Griggs’ 35 years. He had a lot of great advice.

  • Brooke & Lucas

    We agree that the key to a strong marriage and being great parents is balance. The people we know who are great parents know how to balance being an authority figure as well as a friend to their children. In marriage (and any relationship for that matter), it is important to be respectful of one another and have open lines of communication. In the “bad” marriages we see a lack of compatibility and lack of communication. Some of our friends tend to discuss their marital problems with us instead of their partner. Or it simply boils down to the two people in the relationship want different things in life and got married for the wrong reasons.

  • Alex & Allison

    Allison & I have friends who are very good mentors to us, they are just a few years ahead of us on the road of life having already graduated and started their family. Whenever there are any issues between Allison and myself that we need advice on they are able to provide solid christian insight to our lives. And since they can vividly remember all the poor advice or mistakes better than couples who are more set in their ways we have found they make very good mentors. As for poor examples of marriage, we have been exposed to that in our extended family as well as among many of our friends who made poor choices in spouses.

  • David and Kara

    We took this time to discuss the marriages of a few close friends, and something they all had in common was that they took time for themselves as a couple. They tried to have an activity they enjoyed together that they made time for. They also continued to go on dates and do things to make each other feel special. It’s nice to have a few older couples as friends because we can use them as mentors as we begin our marriage. We’ve also seen some close to us have bad marriages. These seemed to stem from trust issues as well as not having a relationship outside of their children. These also seemed as though one person in the marriage had more authority and the other may have felt like they weren’t valued.

  • Rachel and Aaron

    Most times, my fiancé and I discuss this topic, we think about how not to be like the bad marriages we see. We make a valid effort to see what they do that we wouldn’t like and then try to build on that topic. Most bad marriages I see, one of the key factors in them is the communication. These couples have hardly any communication skills. While we are not perfect it is still very important to communicate with one another. And realize that what your spouse says is not always going to be what you want to hear.

  • Aleah & Brandon

    We are lucky to have multiple examples of great marriages around us. We have both been able to observe this from a younger age as well. We have had a close friend get divorced very early in marriage due to not having a great relationship before marriage, and expecting marriage to change things for the better. We both agreed that if we ever have issues in the marriage, that we will seek professional help, and work on the relationship – not expecting anything outside the relationship to fix it, like having kids.

  • Nancy and Vinh

    We are lucky that we both have parents that are in happy marriages. His grandparents have been married for 56 years. We both agreed that if either of us are unhappy that we need to voice it so it can be fixed. Again, we both think the key to a happy marriage is communication.

  • Mignon and Jaxon

    We have both been fortunate to have grown up surrounded by strong and happy marriages. We have seen many of our friends and family members find their people and develop great relationships. We have also each individually witnessed marriages that weren’t so strong, and even ones that we both agree were too unstable to save. Luckily, we both notice the same things. We notice what is working, what isn’t working, and we agree on what actions should be taken in most marital disputes. We have learned a lot from watching other people deal with situations that we could be faced with someday. As a side note, we really enjoyed reading your story and the advice that you have developed from your experience.

  • Bethany and Jesse

    We’ve discussed aspects of this exercise before. This just helped us identify some key things that will not be good for marriage and that we’d like to avoid. Along with pointing out aspects of certain relationships and marriages we do like and expect from each other in our own marriage. The biggest thing being respect. Secondly, still enjoying time with each other. I think people get so used to a routine they forget to still pursue hobbies and things you enjoy doing as a couple. Jesse and I would like to pick out something new to do together that we can continue to do.

  • Maelee and Jake

    He has a close knit family, while I’m the child of a messy marriage that led to divorce, and never had a good marriage to look up to. Due to this, sometimes it’s easier for me to see the bad in relationships than it is to see the good. But this struggle is something we’ve been working through for awhile, and being around his cohesive family has helped me. As I’ve grown closer to them, my view of relationships has improved, but we want to find an older couple that we can learn from, in addition to his parents.

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