By Herbert Mtowo
Life is much easier when you have some help from those who are further up the trail. Their wisdom and insight will prove to be invaluable in your own journey together. Mentoring is becoming even more important as the majority of the population today has come from homes that experienced divorce. You may have never lived with both a mother and a father. How are you supposed to know what an intact family looks like? Who is going to model for you how to work through conflict if your own parents decided to abandon their marriage? In life we all need to be mentored in areas of life to excel and yield more fruits in those areas. You and me need to realize how important and defining mentor is in a person`s life, if one needs to be mentored in business and other life aspects, am sure marriage and relationship are no exception.
None of us would be where we are today in terms of our happiness or success if it weren’t for role models and their examples who’ve guided us and shown us the way. We can’t learn everything through firsthand experience; it takes too long and the pain and sacrifice to learn every lesson would be too great. A wise person learns from other people’s experiences. A mentor isn’t someone you just look up to, admire and get inspired by. A mentor is meant to advise, check, counsel and train in matters of life, in this case to be advised and trained in relationships and, marriage. So and me need such, wise and trusted counselors or teachers. For the most part, mentors are people who’ve achieved a bit of success in their own lives. They’ve usually had to overcome certain obstacles or hardships, and it’s because of those hardships—and the fact that they overcame them—that they have something to share and that we want to listen. We’re inspired when we see someone who’s overcome the same hardships we struggle with; they give us hope because we tell ourselves, “If they did it, so can I.”
If you haven’t already identified your relationship mentors or if you’d like to add to your list, here’s a home-play assignment to make it easy. Make a list of the family members, friends and acquaintances whose marriages or romantic relationships inspire you. The people you list will become your mentors to help you develop your own romantic relationship. Hang out with them. Study them. Watch them closely with an inquisitive and curious mind. Mirror their emotions and actions, even if it feels unnatural and silly to do so. Ask them questions about what you see and experience while you’re with them.
You already know plenty about you, so for now put you aside as the main topic of conversation and ask your mentors about themselves and their relationships. After all, what’s everyone’s favorite subject? Themselves! People love to talk about their feelings, beliefs, opinions and insights. As you learn how to ask great questions, you’ll receive great answers and therefore great insights
Finding a mentor:
• Look for a couple who has the love that you’d like to have. Look around and see who holds hands.
• Look for a couple who has done what you want to do: Some careers have unique marital pressure: physician, politicians, ministry and clergy couples, CEO’s and entrepreneurs, media or military marriages. Look for a couple that has not just survived in your particular fishbowl, but thrived and found a life rhythm that has served them and their families well.
• Look for a couple who lives in your world somehow. They will be stronger mentors if they live in your neighborhood, are a part of your work world or attend your church. You will be able to see them in a variety of circumstances and they will be there to answer those day-to-day issues and questions that may crop up. A great way to discover a marriage mentor is to join a marriage enrichment class at a church or through community organizations enriching marriages, relationships and families.
• Look for a couple who may share something in common with you.
• Look for a couple who is willing. They don’t have to be perfect—no couple is! They don’t even necessarily need to be trained marriage mentors or marriage educators. They just need to have a strong, stable relationship themselves. Make a list of 2-5 couples that might be willing to mentor you. Start with the one that you feel might be the best fit, call them up and ask them to dinner!
I often hear people talking about their financial, business or academic mentors, but I rarely hear them mention their relationship mentors. I don’t believe that any one mentor can encompass all the talents and wisdom in the areas we need to learn about; we need different mentors for different lessons and we definitely can benefit from relationship mentors both in life and in strengthening our own marriages. Find a mentor or mentors for your relationship or marriage that you will always need for as long as you are on planet earth, make the best of people God planted in your life.