The following are “Guidance Rules” we have used in our own marriage mentoring groups that meet in our home together. You have our permission to use and change them in whatever way you need. Make sure you accommodate them for your particular group’s needs.
Marriage Mentoring Group Guidelines:
Please make our meeting times a priority in your planning.
We all need each other and your presence would be greatly missed.
It is our goal to start our times together at the agreed upon time.
(We know there are circumstances that come up occasionally. This isn’t a hard and fast rule; it’s a “guidance” rule.)
We’ll try to end on time —but we also want to give the Holy Spirit the “elbow room” to minister to all.
We won’t be offended if you want to give us a gentle reminder of the time (when you sense it’s necessary).
Come comfortably dressed expecting a casual, enjoyable time.
You may want to bring a Bible, a notebook and pen in case you want to jot anything down.
(But know that we have Bibles, paper and pens and pencils available here if you need them.)
Bring a snack or beverage to share.
(But it isn’t necessary if you have circumstances that prevent it from being convenient to do so.) Make sure you don’t share anything that would embarrass your spouse.
We want to encourage you to be respectful to each other. Do not break confidences to the larger group that would be damaging to your marriage. (But also know that we’re meeting together to help and encourage each other. We can’t do so if we aren’t open and vulnerable with each other when we need help.)
Keep in mind that anything that’s shared here is to be confidential.
Please don’t break confidentiality by telling others outside this group about something that’s been shared in confidence.
The purpose of our coming together is to encourage one another.
We pray that everyone will participate in discussion. It’s our hope that no one will hold back something that the Holy Spirit’s given you to say that we can all benefit from. (Read: Hebrews 10:25; Hebrews 3:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:7.)
On the other hand, we need to be sensitive to keep what we’re sharing reasonably brief.
It’s important not to monopolize the discussions. We want everyone to have a chance to participate. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what you’re to share, and when, and if you’re to do so.
One of our main goals of meeting together is also to be in community with one another.
We’re to pray for one another, encourage one another, “speak the truth in love,” and be open with one another. If you have a broken heart, or a broken spirit, don’t hold it inside. You may deny others the opportunity to minister to you.
If you’re going through a tough time and know you shouldn’t talk about it, please come anyway.
Sometimes we just have a need to be quiet and listen. Just let us know that you need a little extra space and grace, and we’ll agree to give it to you. Just having you with us will mean a lot to the whole group. (We’re meeting to help each other in our marriages in whatever way that’s needed.)
We see our position in this group as being the “host couple.”
We’re not counselors anymore than any of you are. We’re “facilitators” in helping us all grow closer to our spouses and to our Lord. We don’t have the “perfect marriage.” We need help too!
We welcome any help and resources you can bring into the group that can help us to “learn together.”
(Just run it past us so we can fit it into the right framework for the topic we’ll be discussing at that time.)
If you’d like to teach something the Lord’s taught you in your marriage, please let us know.
We’d love to have some of you take charge of our teaching time. We aren’t the only ones who come across great marriage material. It would be a blessing to all of us if you’d take the initiative to do so. (But again, run it past us so we can accommodate the time accordingly.)
Steve and Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote these guidelines.
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Filed under: Marriage Counseling & Mentoring