There is a thread of mentorship woven throughout the Scriptures, as the church is encouraged, time and time again, to imitate mature believers, following their example:
1 Corinthians 11:1: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
Hebrews 13:7: Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.
Philippians 3:17: Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.
This thread of mentorship calls us to keep our eyes on those who chase Christ well so that we may chase Christ well.
Now, what if we allowed this same thread to be woven into the fabric of our family?
One way to embrace discipleship in the home is to celebrate a vision of Marriage Mentors.
There are few more effective ways to lay a Gospel-centered foundation from the beginning or to avoid the most common landmines of marriage than to have Marriage Mentors. These mentors are those mature married couples who have run the race with the Lord well for decades and are, therefore, equipped to give Spirit-led guidance, prayers, encouragement, correction, and wise counsel to a younger married couple.
When my wife and I were engaged, I would often find myself talking with Christian men who had been married for years. I began to be more intentional in these conversations, asking them for any wise counsel or biblical advice they may have for me as I prepared for the marriage journey. Many would simply make light of the conversation or side-step the question with a joke, like, "Just say, 'Yes Mam,' and you'll be fine." However, others, would take the time to give thoughtful responses or even prayers.
I've continued this for the past ten years, purposefully meeting with people every month or so in hopes of learning from their journeys. In fact, just last night, my wife and I had the chance to talk with one couple who have been married for 30 years. They shared about their toughest years, best years, and what they've learned along the way.
What a blessing to enjoy such a vantage point; like a child who watches the parade from his father's shoulders, taking in the entire procession, rather than the boy who watches through the hole in the fence, catching but a glimpse of the parade, just as it is passing by!
If we are to ever imitate mature believers or follow the example of a Gospel Marriage, we have to be intentional; we have to live in community with families like these. Then, as we share our challenges, prayers, victories, and questions, we begin to see the thread of mentorship woven into the fabric of our marriages, creating an image, not just of mature marriages, but of Christ and the Gospel as well.