How to Not Insult Couples: Mentoring Change

One time we were meeting with a couple that knew they weren’t doing well, but they didn’t know what to change. We asked them how much time they spent with each other. Did they go out on dates?

They said that with the kids and the expense of babysitters, they didn’t go out much. We suggested that they go out on a date, even if it was an inexpensive date. We asked them if there was someone who could take the kids for a couple of hours. They said they sometimes trade babysitting with another couple. So, they agreed.

We got back together with them and asked them how their date went. They replied that they didn’t go out. They just couldn’t get it arranged. This happened several times.

Has that ever happened to you? You give someone some great advice and they don’t take it?

Worse, you give them some advice and they are insulted.

Once, I told a guy that he should tone down the criticism of his wife. He looked at me with daggers in his eyes. He said, “I’m not criticizing my wife. She needs to step up her game!”

He was insulted. Probably not my best move.

I’ve come to understand that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about mentoring change in couples.

There is a process to how people change. As marriage mentors, if we don’t recognize where they are in that process, we risk being ineffective at best and insulting at worse.

My next series of posts are going to dive into this topic. How do we become effective at helping couples to change?

I’m going to go into how couples change. There is a process that is both Biblical based and psychologically sound. I’m going to spend some time on what this process looks like, how to recognize pre-decision vs post decision and how to recognize the 3 main behaviors that couples demonstrate.

Tips for Marriage Mentors:

  • Understand the change process – this is very important if you are mentoring change in couples.
  • Recognize where someone is at – Become adept at recognizing if someone has decided to change. This is important so you can know tactics that you can take.
  • Apply the right tactics at the right time – I’ll get into how to do this in another post.

Other posts in this series with more tips:

The Change Process

How to Recognize Pre VS Post Decision

Pre-Decision – 3 Ways to Help