Read an Excerpt
Marriage Mentor Training Manual for Wives
Should We Do This Training in a Group or on Our Own?
Because we want to eliminate any hurdles that may exist in getting a marriage mentoring ministry off the ground, we have designed our training program to be flexible --- so that it can be implemented in a small church of just a few dozen to a megachurch with thousands, by individual couples in the comfort of their own home or in a group of any size. This session of the manual will elaborate on how the training can be used best in either an individual couple or group setting.
If you are doing the training as an individual couple,
proceed to the section titled 'How Marriage Mentors Learn Best' on the next page. If you are doing the training in a group setting, we suggest that you spend a few minutes introducing yourselves to the rest of the couples and, depending on the time available, answering at least one of the following questions:
* How did the two of you meet?
* How did you get engaged? Describe the proposal.
* Why are you interested in marriage mentoring?
How Marriage Mentors Learn Best
We have taught university courses for nearly two decades. And because our university takes teaching seriously, we often are required to attend workshops on 'pedagogy' (pronounced ped-a-go-gee), a five-dollar word meaning 'methods of instruction.' As professors, we want to know how our students best learn a particular subject, so we in turn can use techniques and tools to help them internalize it and be able to use their new knowledge effectively.
We've given that same serious attention to exploring how you, as marriage mentors, will absorb, retain, and practice the information you'll be learning in this program. We conducted research on mentors-in-training. We've done pre- and post-tests to know what works and what doesn't. We've even conducted research with control groups to know if a particular piece of training makes any difference.
We say all this to let you know that this program is designed with great intention. And as you will soon see, it relies heavily on interaction. Sure, you will read a bit of content, complete a few self-tests, and view some real-live mentors on the training DVD. But much of your learning will take place as you talk with each other --- husband and wife. Indeed, you'll learn more from what you say to each other than you will from any lecture, workshop, or seminar on this subject.
Why Do We Need Two Training Manuals?
You may be thinking, This is a couple's training program. Can't we just share a manual? It's a fair question. But let us tell you why having two manuals --- his and hers --- is essential for this training.
First, you will see that each manual has a session specific to that manual.
This is where we speak directly to husbands and directly to wives about what they uniquely bring to the table of marriage mentoring. Each of us is hardwired differently for this task, and to be effective we need to give serious attention to our gender differences as marriage mentors --- so that we might use them to our advantage with our mentorees.
Second, even if these unique sections were not included, it's important to complete many of the exercises on your own --- before you explore them with your spouse. If you were to see your spouse's answers to particular questions before you answer the same questions yourself, it would influence your response and drain energy and authenticity from your training sessions.
Allow us to illustrate our point by having you do a brief exercise right now.
Note: Before beginning the exercise, become familiar with our simple system of symbols for types of exercises throughout the manual:
q = An exercise to complete on your own qq = An exercise to complete with your spouse,
typically a discussion of an on-your-own exercise qqq = An exercise to complete couple to couple or in a larger group
Exploring Potential Fears of Marriage Mentoring (5 minutes) q Complete the following two sentence-stems as best as you can --- without consulting your husband to do so.
In beginning this training program on marriage mentoring, my greatest fear is . . .
In beginning this training program on marriage mentoring, my husband's greatest fear is . . .
qq Once you both have taken a minute to complete these sentences,
compare notes. Are the answers your husband gave ones you would have predicted? Do you now know something new about each other that you didn't know just five minutes ago?
You get the point. This workbook will have dozens of opportunities for the two of you to talk with each other; and to make these conversations all they can be, you'll each need your own gender-specific training manual.
Of course, beyond two separate manuals from which to work, there are other ways to ensure you get as much out of this training as possible. We offer suggestions for doing just that in the next section.
George, age ninety-two, and Jane, age eighty-nine, are all excited about their decision to get married. While out for a stroll to discuss wedding plans, they happen to pass a drugstore and stop in. George asks to speak to the owner.
'We're about to get married,' George informs him. 'Do you sell heart medication?'
'Of course we do,' the owner replies.
'How about support hose to help with poor circulation?'
'What about medicine for rheumatism, osteoporosis, and arthritis?'
'All kinds,' says the owner with confidence.
'How about waterproof furniture covers and Depends?'
'Hearing aids, denture supplies, and reading glasses?' the groom-to-be asks.
'What about eyedrops, sleeping pills, Geritol, and Ensure?'
'Do you sell wheelchairs, walkers, and canes?'
'All kinds and sizes,' the owner replies. 'But why all these questions?'
George smiles and proudly announces, 'We'd like to use your store as our bridal registry.'
Who can blame them? They're simply preparing, in very practical terms,
for their journey together. And that's what we want to do next: prepare you for where you're going as a marriage mentor couple,
equipping you with what you'll need to make this training experience the best it can be.
We'll begin with a quick overview of where we're headed, then a look at what's required of you, followed by some simple suggestions for maximizing your experience, and a final note on how to use each of the marriage mentoring resources available to you.
Where We're Headed
Before beginning a new journey, it's always helpful to chart the course. So let's survey the territory ahead.
Here, in session 1, we are merely giving you a few suggestions on how to use these marriage mentoring resources effectively.
In session 2, we paint a big picture of marriage mentoring. In other words,
we make sure you understand 'the concept' and how it works.
In session 3, we roll up our proverbial sleeves and take a good look at how your gender --- as a woman --- impacts the marriage mentoring process. You see, what you bring to this process, by virtue of your biology, is different from what your husband brings to it.
In sessions 4 -- 9, we teach you the time-tested skills you'll need as you work with your mentorees. These skills are universal, applicable to any and every age and stage of marriage, whether you are mentoring newlyweds or couples in distress.