Lately it seems that every chance I get to fully embarrass myself, I inadvertently dive right in. My friend Meagan and I started a new #staymarried group a couple of weeks ago. The first night was amazing! We met some great people and both of us really felt like we got off to a good start. Then, the next morning as I was helping my three year old in the bathroom, I closed the door and saw something that mortified me so greatly that I started laughing and crying at the same time. My bra, MY HUGE BLACK nothing-sexy-about-it BRA, had been hanging on the back of the door since the night before. My house had been filled with people, most of whom I was meeting for the first time, some of whom I remember definitely used the bathroom. If you’re reading this and you are coming to my group this week, I promise not to subject you to such horror again if you will promise to pretend you didn’t see it. Kill me now.
The bra display should have met my quotient for mortification for the year, but I guess I’m an “above and beyond” type of gal. Tony and I got to attend a portion of a day-long conference hosted by social scientists and relationship experts Les and Leslie Parrott this weekend called “Becoming Soul Mates.” I’ve been in touch with the Parrotts and they have been great encouragers of #staymarried – even offering an autographed copy of their latest book The Good Fight to help us celebrate our first year of blogging. But, I had yet to meet them in person. I was quite the excited fan-girl and asked if they wouldn’t mind taking a picture with Tony and I. They were gracious and as Tony asked the closest stranger nearby to take the shot and showed him how to use his camera, I huddled up next to Leslie with her husband Les on the other side of her. That’s when it happened. My left hand was on my pregnant belly focused on the crazy baby kicks I was feeling when I was suddenly very aware of where my right hand was… on Leslie Parrott’s behind! Flustered, I slowly removed my hand and said quietly to her, “I am so sorry. I just realized my hand was on your tush.” Again with the crying-laughing! For the love.
Before the inappropriate touching incident, I was getting a lot out of this conference. Les and Leslie are fun and funny and really easy to relate to. They had been sharing some great stuff about managing your time as a married couple, about connecting in new and different ways, about purposefully finding and adding more humor to your relationship. This conference was a gold mine for someone like me. My favorite part was a luncheon where they shared their vision for mentoring married couples.
Tony and I believe strongly in the mentoring model. Our own marriage mentors have become great friends of ours and we attribute so much of the solid foundation we believe we have to the time they invested in us in our first year of marriage. I was eager to learn more, but I’ll be honest, I went for the sake of passing the information on to you rather than considering becoming a mentor myself. I mean, I’ve only been married for six years. All of the stuff we share on #staymarried – the helpful stuff, anyway – comes from other sources, not from ourselves. We should probably be married for at least 10, maybe 15 years and really go through some truly awful stuff before we are qualified to mentor anyone else. I was just there as your proxy, taking in the wisdom and ready to share it with you. Then, with one quick illustration, Les Parrott changed my mind.
He shared that a lot of people do not feel qualified to mentor another couple. Then he asked us a question…
“If a friend from out of state called and told you they would be visiting Seattle and asked you what they should see and do while they were in town, would you say to them ‘Woah! I’m not a travel agent. I’m not qualified to help you with that.’ Or, would you welcome them to your city and share some of your favorite things just based on your own experience?”
Marriage mentors, it turns out, are not meant to be professionals. They just need to be relatively happy in their own marriage and a little bit further down the road than the couple they are mentoring. Then Les and Leslie asked us these questions that they use to filter people who might want to become mentors. Go ahead, take this self-assessment:
Marriage Mentor 30-Second Self Assessment
1. Are you relatively happy in your marriage?
2. Do you both share a motivation to become trained as Marriage Mentors?
3. Are you able to laugh and learn from your mistakes?
4. Are you invested in growing your own marriage?
5. Are you committed to your spouse?
6. Are you willing to share some of your time to help another couple?
Did you answer “yes” to any of these? Did you answer “yes” to all six? Then you have what it takes to be a marriage mentor. Despite my original reticence, so do I! But, I still wasn’t sure, so I continued to listen. They began to share that 84% of couples report wanting to have a mentor couple walk with them, but only 22% say they have one. Research also shows that couples who have marriage mentors are happier and healthier. Not only that, but the couple who acts as the mentors receive a great deal in return. The Parrotts call this the Boomerang Effect.
The Boomerang Effect
It turns out, something wonderful happens when a more mature couple reaches out to a new couple. By helping another couple form and live out their dreams, one’s own dreams for marriage are reawakened and fulfilled.
Once you take the time to listen to a questioning couple, your own “answers” become clearer. You will also be refreshed by this relationship. Almost by osmosis, the vim and vigor for marriage that a new couple enjoys will begin to rub off on you. Simply being around their energetic spirits will revive and rejuvenate your marriage. There is also an overwhelming sense of having done good, of helping a new couple build a love that will last a lifetime.
It’s Our Turn!
Learning that so many couples are longing for this mentoring relationship, that Tony and I can be embarrassingly imperfect and we don’t have to be married for a century to qualify, and that our own marriage could improve, how could we say no? We have decided that training to become mentors is a great next step for us. We will be taking the training provided by Les and Leslie, which they have made so unbelievably easy that it will fit right into our at home date nights! We are excited for a chance to invest ourselves into something new and to do it together. Watch this video to learn a little more…
Today I’m feeling thankful that Tony and I have decided together that loving each other on purpose is just the beginning. Loving on purpose also means having a purpose for our marriage, and in this season, part of that purpose will be to share the love we have with another couple. I don’t imagine I’ll stop embarrassing myself any time soon, but I’m not going to let that prevent me from offering my life, my time, my love to the cause of helping other couples #staymarried.
You are reading Day 29 in our 31 Days of Loving on Purpose series. To find out more about how you can get involved in Marriage Mentoring, check out this site. If you liked this post, you might also like to read Finding a Marriage Mentor and Becoming a Marriage Mentor.
Thanks for stopping by!
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