*By Omobola Oludele
One piece of advice that rings out loudly from very many Nigerian pulpits during wedding ceremonies is that Christian couples should avoid a third party at all cost in their relationships. They are instructed to settle their differences and deal with whatever life presents without involving any third party. Apart from being wrong, I consider this injurious to homes. At the risk of sounding like Christian homes cannot succeed without mentors, I dare say that the benefits of having Christian mentors far outweigh not having them. The bible equally encourages older women to teach younger women how to relate with their husbands and the young men must be taught how to live wisely. Titus 2:7.
Mentoring is of utmost importance in Christian marriages because like every other relationship, marriage needs to be nurtured to growth. After the pomp and the pageantry of wedding celebration, couples will have to face the reality of married life including the demands, challenges and joys that come with it. Each partner has roles to play and these cannot be learnt in a day, not even in an entire period of being single. In fact, marriage is a lifelong school and it requires hard work. The lessons that will be needed in building a successful marriage transcends what a man or woman can acquire before entering the institution. As a matter of fact, many of the tips and lessons will have to be picked from various means and avenues as the marriage grows. This is why it is important to work along with Godly men and women of like minds who are constantly working with and hearing from the Holy Spirit, remembering always that “As iron sharpens iron so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17.”
The benefits of mentoring in Christian marriages are manifold and goes beyond what can be captured in a short write up. However, we would like to consider these benefits briefly as they relate to the mentors, mentees and the church. Couple mentors cannot afford to trade their marriage relationships for anything because they are very aware that certain destinies are tied to theirs. They understand that younger couples look up to them for guidance and as examples, and the words of Mark 9:42 rings constantly in their hearing that “if anyone causes one of these little ones-those who believe in me- to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea” .Mentoring younger couples will put the mentors on their toe to keep getting better in their own relationship while seeing the younger couples grow in the expression of love will serve as a persistent reminder of how they started and the need to constantly refresh their love.
The mentees, on the other hand, have an example in their mentors, and a close one at that, of the fact that marriages can be healthy and enjoyable. They can learn from the mentors’ firsthand experience that couples do not have to be overcome by the challenges that they face, the challenges should rather strengthen their bond of love. It is also very relieving to know that some people have experienced the kinds of challenges you have and they have scaled through them. This also goes for successes and breakthroughs. It may be a bit difficult for young couples to be able to manage financial successes as much as it is the case with challenges, couples will find help by relating with mentors in this regard.
It is common knowledge that the family is nucleus of the society, and in this context, the church. Therefore, the church of Christ also will benefit from couple or family mentorship as the case maybe. Many Christian homes are breaking now not only because of unequal yoking in marriage but because of lack of knowledge, guidance and help, when needed. Unfortunately, there is an unwritten culture of silence in Africa and, by extension, the church. Nobody wants to be seen as having problems in their home, it is even worse when the people involved are respected members of a local church. Christian couples suffer in silence over issues that would have been resolved by the help of the Holy Spirit and the counsel and experience of older couples. Marriage mentorship will go a long way in saving the face of the church from the ridicule that is rocking and wrecking the world and the church inclusive. Proverbs 11:14 says “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (See also Proverbs 15:22 & 24:6).
*Omobola Oludele is a child of God who is interested in helping people build a better relationship with God and with one another. She has a passion for helping couples make their marriages better and guiding younger people in making right life choices. She teaches bible study classes and delivers lectures as often as the opportunity presents among christian young people. Her first and second degrees are in English Language and she is currently a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology Akure. She has been happily married to Shola Oludele since 2002 and they are blessed with children.