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Building Healthy Marriages Through 12 Conversations About Marriages That Work

Dr. Edward Gray, LMFT

Denver 2007 Smart Marriages Conference

Harding University 901-681-9200

[email protected]

And do you promise to be best friends forever, or as long as you feel like it?

Growing Strong Marriages • WHEN YOU LEARN TO DRIVE A CAR . . . • WHEN YOU PURSUE A CAREER. . . • WHEN YOU TRAVEL TO A NEW COUNTRY. . . • WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST CHILD . . . • WHEN YOU GET MARRIED . . . someone performs the ceremony, but who helps you build and grow your marriage?

First Marriage Divorce Statistics • 1/5 of all first marriages are disrupted by either separation or divorce in the first five years. • After 10 years, 1/3 of all first marriages are disrupted by either separation or divorce. Published by the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

From Bramlett, MD and Mosher, WD. Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 23(22). 2002.

We Need to Mentor Marriages Especially at Stress Points in the Marital Life Cycle

Marriage Satisfaction Across the Ages & Stages of the Life Cycle x x

x x


x x

Without Children

Preschool Children

School-Age Children

Adolescent Children

x Launching Children

Empty Nest


Transition Points of Marriage • • • • • • • •

Engaged & decision to marry newlywed the birth of a first child children entering school preteens becoming teenagers launching adult children from the nest couples entering midlife and retirement remarriage

Mentor - Greek Mythology •Mentor was the son of Alcumus and, in his old age, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War he placed Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, and of his palace. •Mentor was a trusted friend, wise advisor - teacher, an experienced person. •Odysseus entrusted his son to the wisdom, experience, and guidance of Mentor. •We want train marriage mentors for the sons & daughters in our communities. We want to help them as they adjust to new stages in their marriages with marriage “Mentors.”

Proactive Strategies • Ounce of prevention / mentoring is worth a pound of cure / counseling.

Mentors - A Travel Guide for Marriage • Planning a great trip • Avoiding tourist traps/problems • Remember one of your vacations? Someone who has been there before who tells you helpful stories can be a tremendous help. ( Durango - Narrow Gauge Railroad)

“The Marriage Movement” • Diane Solee - 1996 founded the Coalition for Marriage, Family, & Couples Education -- Denver 2007 • www.SmartMarriages.com • Grassroots marriage movement: concerned citizens, therapists, social workers, teachers, researchers, legislators. . . • 2006 $ 135,000,000 + in Federal grants from the ACF (Administration for Children and Families) – Community marriage initiatives – Marriage education programs – Parenting education

“The Marriage Movement” • 1950s - the beginnings of Marriage and Family Therapy - paradigm of systemic care - a sort of revolution in the care of individuals in the context of their relationships • 1990s - new emphasis on outreach, prevention and education for healthy relationships • Researchers - John Gottman, Howard Markman & Scott Stanley -PREP, David Olsen - Prepare Enrich

A Short History of Marriage Mentoring: 12 Conversations Memphis, TN-Community Marriage Initiative 2004 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Community Marriage Policy - signing Premarital Counseling Training Marriage Education Programs Marriage Mentoring Program: 12 Conversations Mentoring for Dating Couples: 12 Conversations Military Version: 12 Conversations International Version: 12 Conversations Spanish Edition: 12 Conversations

Why do a military version? • Unique nature of military marriages • Mentoring is part of the military culture • Current demands on military marriage

• Military couples face unique relationship challenges, such as: • • • • •

Frequent moves and separations Loss of friends due to moves, death Losing a job because of a spouse’s move Parental absences due to deployment, etc. Stress of Deployment

National Healthy Marriage Resource Center Copyright 2005

Deployment creates challenges for couples in their marriage: • loss of emotional support, • increased care-giving and household responsibilities for the at-home spouse • significant readjustment to marital roles upon reunion. • spouse at home may face increased loneliness, depression, anxiety, anger, and physical illness. • Deployed personnel often feel guilty for leaving their families and may have similar reactions to separation (e.g., depression, anxiety, and loneliness).

Combat Issues and Marriage • Combat experience is related to increased marital problems. One study found a 62% increase in the risk of divorce for combat veterans. • Combat is also associated with subsequent antisocial behavior, such as aggression, which influences marital problems. • A supportive spouse makes a difference in how well a combat veteran readjusts after war. PTSD victims who made the most progress talked a lot about their experiences with supportive others, especially a spouse or intimate friend.

Types of Marriage Education / Growth Programs Counseling Focus - Formal - High Structure • •

• •

Inventory-Driven / Relationship Analysis / Exercises Prepare/Enrich, Prepare to Last, FOCCUS, Relate Classes / Workshops PICK, Active Relationships, Third Option, Retrovaille, PAIRS, Family Wellness, Connections, Dynamic Marriage, Ultimate Relationships Lay Counseling-Determine Needs-Address Problems, Teach Skills Parrotts, Ruhnke, Benson, McLain Narrative / Life Experiences - Stories - Shared Wisdom Marriage Mentoring: 12 Conversations & Mentoring for Dating Couples

Friendship Focus - Informal - Low Structure 2007 Dr. Ed Gray, Harding Graduate School, 1000 Cherry Rd. Memphis, TN 38117 901-681-9200 www.12Conversations.com

Types of Marriage Growth “Transportation” Counseling Focus - Formal - High Structure Truck / inventories

Bus / classes workshops

Pickup truck / lay counselors

Sports car Story tellers 12 Conversations

Friendship Focus - Informal - Low Structure

Design of MM: 12 Conversations •Successful role models Vs. assessment / counseling model •Narrative / stories of marriage growth Vs. teaching / lecture •Emphasis on oral tradition Vs. psychological experts •Simplified mentor training for mentor couples •Beta testing of questions . . .

Marriage mentoring is: • Supportive friendship like a caring aunt/uncle. • Sharing time, care, and marriage experience. • Sharing stories of how you have grown as a couple. • Encouraging a couple to be successful in their marriage. • Serving as a role model of a happy, successful marriage.

Marriage mentoring is not: • • • •

Counseling or teaching a marriage course. Taking sides or fixing couples. Parenting couples. “Telling all” or relating discouraging stories from marriage. • Telling jokes about a spouse or making comments at his or her expense.

Mentors are. . . 1. NOT in a perfect marriage. 2. NOT trained to be counselors. 3. NOT to take responsibility for solving the mentored couple’s problems. 4. NOT to have “THE” answers. 5. Sharing our happiness 6. Sharing our commitment 7. Giving to others - a form of sacrifice 8. Connecting with community. . .

Our Concept of Mentoring • Proactive - start marriage encouragement, support, & conversations before there are major problems • Simple - for the average healthy couple in the community to do with minimal training necessary • Fun - eating and sharing stories with an encouraging purpose - Engaging men. . . “Guy-Friendly Marriage Activity” • Practical - support for couples as they face new stages & adjustments in marriage - especially at new stages & transition points • Respectful - of cultures - less focus on just “middle class” marriage. What is a good marriage in your culture/background? Stories from successful couples will reveal that.

Our Concept for Mentoring • Application among various cultures/contexts Mentors bring their cultural contexts to their mentees. (Sample Conversation 7)

• Individualistic or Sociocentric cultures • Wisdom - application among diverse cultures/contexts. Show me by your life what works. . . • Encouragement - story telling model - the power of example & memories. Older and younger couples learning from one another as they intentionally grow their marriage relationships. • Friendship - a couple who cares what is happening to

How the 12 Conversations Program Works. . . • Mentor couples meet once a month for about an hour and a half of conversation. (Like a “doubledate with an intentional purpose.) Engaged couples may meet more often due to their wedding date. • Informal settings - relaxed & comfortable - such as a home, a favorite cafe, or a coffee shop. • 12 Conversations topics • This is a friendship / relationship, not a “class” or evaluation. This is a mutual story telling, narrative approach. • We remember stories.

Sharing Stories • When sharing a lesson that you have learned, a negative event, or a mistake that was made, genuinely share what you did wrong. • Do not point out what your spouse did wrong. “Ed’s Lesson Learned” • Successful story sharing, just as healthy communicating, means those involved speak for themselves, not for the other person.

The 12 Topics Are: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Thankfulness Healthy Marriage Habits: Showing Our Love for Each Other In-law Relationships: Making Our Life Together Recreation & Playfulness Money in Marriage Communication Problem Solving Balancing Acts: Marriage, Family, Community, and Work Children Friendship, Closeness, and Intimacy Planning for Our Future Celebrating the Holidays

Types of Marriage “Helpers” •Mentors –Vitamins for marriage

•Counselors –Penicillin/medicine for marriage

•Attorneys • Surgery/amputation for marriage - To be avoided wherever possible

Survey Assessment - Pre & Post Training Manual - page 10-14 •

Research - Grant evaluation / progress of couples

The Beginning of the Marriage Mentor Training Workshop page 13

Pause DVD for a 2-3 Minute Exercise

• Think of a couple in your life who has been a good role model of a healthy, happy marriage. (Terry & Susan) • Turn to the person next to you and share who this is and what you like about their marriage.

The Purpose of Marriage Mentoring: 12 Conversations •

• •

To encourage couple friendships that will provide support to the couple in their marriage. To help couples talk about the normal and predictable challenges of marriage & adjustments To affirm the strengths of couples as they grow in their marriage relationship.

The Power of Stories • The heart of 12 Conversations is the mutual telling of stories by both couples. • “Show me what has worked in your life Don’t just tell me to read a book - let me read your life. . .”

Sharing Stories • Mentors can decide in advance as a couple some of the stories they want to share. • Tactfully describe your mistakes, as well as discoveries of what worked. • “We also went through something like that. Here’s what got in the way of our solving the problem and here’s what helped us . . .”

How long should a mentor couple be married? •

. . . long enough to have good experience with life challenges, successes, conflicts, mistakes, and current life issues. They need to be successfully making changes as a couple to their current stage of marriage. Part of being a good mentor couple is “. . . having been there, done that successfully, or having recovered sufficiently.”

What Does It Take to be a Marriage Mentor? (An Assessment Inventory Exercise) page • •

• •

16 & 17 Do you enjoy your marriage? Do you look forward to meeting and being with other couples? Are you committed to your marriage and do you believe in its rewards? Are there things you have learned from other couples about marriage? Are you adjusting reasonably well in your marriage? (International Edition)

The Untapped Goldmine • • • •

Marriage wisdom in our communities. The power of example. The fun of memories & stories. Beta tested questions. . . “No marriage book to read. . . All my husband has to do is show up eat, and tell stories. . . That sounds fun, Count us in. . .”

Who are Marriage Mentors and what do they do? • . . . committed to each other and to the success of their marriage. • . . . willing to share their own journey and what they have learned along the way with another couple. • . . . offer their encouragement, support, hope, and empathy.

What is the Mentors’ Commitment? • 12 Conversations over a 12 month period or other set time frame. • 1.5 hours on a “Double Date” with a purpose. • Provide the snacks, dessert, or dinner for the mentee couple. • Share your stories to encourage a younger couple to grow a satisfying, lifelong marriage

What are some tips to remember during mentoring conversations? Page 19 • Start each meeting as you would any conversation. Exchange pleasantries and inquire what each other has been doing today or this week.

What are some tips to remember during mentoring conversations? • Be active in your listening. Ask your mentee couple “questions of interest” as they share their stories. Remember this is a “two-way” conversation. • Be aware as a mentor couple when you are sharing to stay on the topic rather than “chasing rabbits.” Reader’s Digest Version.

What are some tips to remember during mentoring conversations? • Watch for body language and facial expressions that indicate good engagement or that perhaps it is time to move on with the topic. • Be sure to take turns telling stories. Energy decreases in the conversation if one party dominates, whether a couple or an individual. Encourage a quieter spouse by asking if there is anything they would add to the story.

What are some tips to remember during mentoring conversations? • Keep questions discreetly in front of you. Often it is possible to work questions into the conversation instead of having to artificially move from one to the next. • Some couples find it helpful to ask the mentees if there is a question with which they would like to start. Other mentor couples find it helpful to simply volunteer a story in response to one of the questions in order to get the mentoring conversation started.

What are some tips for the mentoring relationship between conversations? • Mentors can nurture the mentoring relationship by: – Sending notes of encouragement or calling – Forwarding websites and information about upcoming marriage enrichment programs and events. – Keeping in touch by telephone or e-mail. – Passing along magazine or newspaper articles about marriage that you think your mentee couple might enjoy.

Mentor Skill Development Exercise page 20 Traits of Mentors & Marriage Success - 10 minutes • • •

Mentor Traits: Authenticity, Consistency, Humility, & Caring When you were newlywed, who had confidence that you would have a successful marriage? How did they communicate that optimism to you? What is one thing they did that was supportive, encouraging, or reassuring.

Mentor Skill Development Note the appropriate roles for mentors: • Advocate for marriage • Role model • Peer • Coach • Friend

Mentor Skill Development Note the inappropriate roles for mentors: • Parent • Rescuer • Judge • Therapist • Expert • Enforcer • Referee

Characteristics of the Mentoring Relationship • Investment - time, energy and attention to this relationship. Offer a window into your own marriage relationship through your stories as you respond to questions from the couple discussion guide. • Service - personal sharing by mentors is done in the service of the mentored couple’s growth, adjustment, and welfare; not simply to fulfill the mentors’ desire to have an audience for their own stories.

Characteristics of the Mentoring Relationship • Safety/Security - provide an atmosphere that reduces anxiety and promotes the freedom of the mentees to share their stories. Mentors should model self-disclosure, respect, and acceptance of the mentees. • Responsiveness - be consistent in scheduling meetings and demonstrate willingness to support and assist their mentee couple.

Characteristics of the Mentoring Relationship • Empowerment - encourage the mentored couple in their confidence and competence through sharing information, experiences, and wisdom. • Accountability - follow up to ensure that mentees are benefiting from and enjoying the mentoring conversations.

Test drive: Getting started with Conversation #1 of the Mentoring Program • Imagine this is a first meeting with your mentee couple. Get together with another couple nearby and share stories from several of the questions provided in your handout. • This first mentoring conversation entitled “Thankfulness” focuses on the beginning of your relationship, appreciation of your spouse, and events leading to your marriage. Be sure to take turns sharing your stories.

Keeping the Mentoring Relationship Positive • Keeping boundaries–Distinguish your own feelings, experiences and needs from those of the mentee. Do not impose your own perspective. Validate the mentee’s perspective and allow mentees to find their own way of doing things. • Maintaining privacy – Respect and protect the privacy of the mentored couple; Do not disclose personal information about the mentored couple (intentionally or unintentionally). You may tell your own marriage stories; do not share your mentees’ stories with other people.

Keeping the Mentoring Relationship Positive • Reasonable Involvement – Do not intrude into the lives of the mentored couple; Maintain respect for their lives. • Flexibility –Realize that your story is not the only right or best way to do something and that anything else is wrong or inferior. • Respecting commitment –Follow through with meeting for conversations with the mentored couple. Avoid being too busy to make your conversation times.

Keeping the Mentoring Relationship Positive • Support the marriage relationship – Do not show favoritism or side with one mentee against his or her spouse. • Appropriate limits–Maintain appropriate limits on your time, availability, friendship, and self-disclosure

Sexual Matters • Normalizing male/female differences is important. • In many cultures husbands initiate sexual intimacy to feel close to their mate. . . • and wives on the other hand initiate sex as a result of already feeling close to their mate through communication and friendship. . . • In other cultures sex is about fulfilling a duty or providing children a symbol of blessing.

Sexual Matters • Conversation Ten: Friendship, Closeness, and Intimacy. • Good sexual adjustment in marriage occurs when there is a healthy level of friendship and closeness in the couple relationship. • Some couples have anxieties about sexual issues and their sex life. • Some cultures will not talk openly or at all about their sex life. Be respectful of your couple.

Sexual Matters • Depending on cultural perspectives . . . The mentor couple needs to discuss with each other their own comfort zone in what stories they are open to sharing before engaging in Conversation 10 with their mentee couple. • As is culturally appropriate, mentors’ sensitivity to discussing sexuality as a normal and expected part of marital adjustment provides powerful role modeling.

Workshop Training Manual: Other Topics Communication Do’s and Don’t’s Needs that may extend beyond the scope of mentoring If a Mentee Couple has a Crisis. . . Ending the Mentoring Relationship Quarterly Mentor Meetings Year End Celebration

Needs That May Extend Beyond the Scope of Mentoring - page 26 • Sometimes problems may arise that are beyond the scope of this mentoring relationship.

Needs That May Extend Beyond the Scope of Mentoring If the problems listed below are difficulties for the mentee couple, they should be referred to the mentoring coordinator for assistance and resources. 1. Mental health problems 2. Addictions/Compulsions • • •

Substance abuse Sexual addictions (pornography, internet or phone sex, affair, etc.) Gambling

Needs That May Extend Beyond the Scope of Mentoring 3. Domestic violence

4. Severe or persistent financial problems 5. Infidelity

Tips for Responding to a Crisis -

page 27


Listen effectively. Give your full attention. Make sure you understand what is being communicated. Provide a supportive presence.


Be nonjudgmental. People in trouble need an ally, not an evaluation.

Tips for Responding to a Crisis 3.

Clarify the essential dilemma. Identify the problem, the meaning the person is making of the problem, and what is needed to resolve the problem.

4. Set specific goals. Agree on who will take what action toward achieving them. 5.

Determine available resources and how to mobilize them. Refer your couple to the marriage mentor coordinator.

Tips for Responding to a Crisis 6.

Determine your availability and assistance. Share what you can do for your couple.


Provide nurturing, support, and TLC. People need comfort during difficult times.


Check in on a regular basis. See how things are going.


Offer hope, encouragement, and praise. Expect a successful outcome.

Ending the Mentoring Relationship • During the last mentoring conversation, ask the couple to share with you their experience of the mentoring relationship. • Ask them for their ideas about how they will continue growing their marriage once the mentoring relationship ends.

Ending the Mentoring Relationship • Questions to explore include: – “How has our mentoring relationship benefited you?” – “In what ways has our time together enhanced your marriage relationship?” – “What is one important thing you have learned about marriage as a result of our spending time together?” – “What will you do to continue strengthening and growing your marriage?”

Ending the Mentoring Relationship • When the steering committee plans the celebration event at the end of the year of mentoring, be sure to sit with your mentee couple. Share an enjoyable experience from mentoring and recall stories and strengths of your marriage relationships.

Ending the Mentoring Relationship • Continue to call your mentee couple and encourage them that they will be blessed with a long and satisfying marriage. Perhaps one day they will bless others by becoming a mentor couple.

For Additional Information Train the Trainer Workshops Contact: Dr. Ed Gray 1000 Cherry Road Memphis, TN 38117 www.12Conversations.com Email: [email protected] Phone: 901-681-9200.

Overview of the Twelve Conversations •The topics deepen as the relationship grows between the couples. •Open questions encourage experiences and stories to be told.

Initial Meeting During the initial meeting you will:

• Discuss the role of confidentiality about the mentoring conversations. • Create a nonjudgmental setting in which they can tell their stories.

Initial Meeting • Between meetings, both couples will find it helpful to discuss “A Step Beyond the Mentoring Conversation” and to look over the scriptures and questions for the next meeting.

Sample Questions from the Conversations Conversation 1 – Thankfulness • How did you and your spouse meet? • What are some special stories about your marriage proposal, engagement, wedding plans and wedding day? • What couples have been good examples for you of happy marriages? What have you liked about these marriages?

Conversation 2 – Healthy Marriage Habits • How do you show your love for each other in little ways and big ways? • How do you divide tasks and household chores?

Conversation 3 – Leaving and Cleaving: Making Our Life Together

• How did marriage change your relationship with your parents? • How are your families similar? How are they different?

Conversation 4 – Joy & Happiness • What activities do you enjoy as a couple to keep joy and happiness in your relationship? • What are some low-cost or free entertainment ideas you have discovered over the course of your marriage? • Who initiates and plans your dates as a couple? How regularly do you date?

Conversation 5 – Money in Marriage • How are you different and/or similar from one another on the following items. – – – – – –

Save for a rainy day vs. spend it now while we have it Money as security Money as entertainment-“Why have it if you don’t enjoy it?” Money as a duty / gift to be shared with others Money as status and power Coupons-bargains vs. convenience-buy it now

• How did your families differ regarding money when you were growing up? • What are some discoveries and compromises you have made in your differences about money?

Conversation 6 – Communication in Marriage • How would you rate your parents’ communication: great, good, average, poor, or bad? Why do you give it this rating? • Are there certain words or phrases that you learned growing up which conveyed a different message to your spouse than you intended? • Who is more assertive in your relationship? • How would each of you describe your own personality?

Conversation 6 – Communication in Marriage • Women tend to share and connect with others over problems. Men tend to fix problems as quickly as possible. How have you navigated this typical difference?

• What is one of the best conversations you have had as a couple?

Conversation 7 – Problem Solving in Marriage • What problems or crises have you faced growing up? How did your family respond? • What problems or crises have you weathered as a couple? How have these strengthened your marriage? • How were anger and other emotions handled in your family as you grew up? How has that influenced what you have done as a couple in your marriage?

Conversation 7 – Problem Solving in Marriage • How were arguments handled in your family growing up? How do you argue as a couple? • What helps you to listen better when discussing a problem with your spouse?

Conversation 8 – Balancing Acts: God, Marriage, Family, Community, and Work • How have friends helped your marriage? Have they at times interfered with your marriage? • Do work responsibilities negatively affect your couple and family life? • What are things you do together as a couple which make your marriage stronger?

Conversation 9 – Children • How has having children or not having children affected your marriage? What challenges have you faced? • How did your experience growing up in your family influence your ideas about parenting? • What are some family traditions or rituals you especially enjoyed growing up or now as an adult? How do you keep these traditions or rituals going? • What personal stories or legacy would you like to pass on to the next generation?

Conversation 10 – Friendship, Closeness, and Intimacy • What do you do now to nurture and maintain your closeness as a couple? • What do you do that brings laughter into your marriage? • How does the overall quality of your marriage, friendship, emotions and communication affect your intimacy? • What is one special memory of an intimate occasion, date or event that has blessed your marriage?

Conversation 11 – Planning For Our Future • What changes have you faced in your marriage together to this point? (health, work, school, children, housing, in-laws, finances) • How has your relationship changed since you were first married? • What goals are you working toward in your marriage? (Children, family, education, church, faith, finances, home, career, hobbies, travel . . .)

Conversation 12 – Celebrating the Holidays • What are your favorite traditions from the families in which you grew up? • How have you dealt with your in-laws’ expectations and differences during the holidays? • How do you decide with which family you will spend the holiday? • Do you like gift surprises or do you like to have input on your gifts? Do you like the practical or the impractical?

Program Organization

Developing a Mentoring Program Training Manual - page 3

Coordinator’s Introduction Job description for the coordinator Sample newsletter articles available on CD with additional artwork and forms

Action Plan Stages 1-5 Training Manual

- page 8

Action Plan for Developing a Marriage Mentoring Program

Stage 1 - Leadership Education • Leaders need to discuss mentoring as a way to serve and strengthen marriages. • The 12 Conversations model is different - a relationship / friendship model of mentoring

Action Plan: Stage 2 Coordinator Selection and Assembling a Committee •

A chairman or program coordinator (possibly a couple) needs to be designated and a support committee recruited and familiarized with the mentoring program. Decide how the mentor training will be conducted: 1. Dr. Gray as visiting trainer 2. Teacher Using the Training Manual 3. DVD training video set

Action Plan: Stage 3 - Advertising • • •

Newsletter and website articles. Sample customizable MS Word files are provided in the 12 Conversations program materials on CD Announcements in public assemblies, churches, ethnic barber shops & salons, or ESL classes need to be made. Mailings, PowerPoint announcements, bulletin boards, fliers, and letters.

Action Plan: Stage 3 - Advertising •

Visits from the coordinator or committee members to target individuals for both recruiting mentor interest and mentee participation in the program are essential.

Conduct a “Great Marriage-Role Model” nomination of 10, 20, 30, or more couples (depending on the size of the community) who are respected for having a good marriage. ( Those “Winners” become great potential mentors.)

Get to know your mentors. Train them in classes about marriage. They become your “co-teachers” of marriage education.

Action Plan: Stage 4 Mentor Training Workshop •

Conduct a training workshop in a relaxed atmosphere.

Provide light snacks or dinner at a break time.

Make this a festive and enjoyable time of training.

Decorate the training room to celebrate marriage from various cultures. If mentor couples have a photograph of themselves from their wedding or early years of marriage, a poster of pictures could be assembled.

Action Plan: Stage 5 Matching Mentors and Mentees The couple matching can be done in several ways, including: 1.

a random matching of names from the two lists.


a committee decision based on matching couples taking into account cultural background and the couples’ information provided on the sign up information forms.


a mentor chairperson who matches mentors and mentees.

A schedule of contact with your mentor couples - page 7 • 1st month - Beginnings - send a letter of congratulations & encouragement • Months 2, 5, 8, 12 - Meetings for mentors encouragement & check-in • Months 9 - 12 Plan a mentoring celebration & plan for the next year of mentoring

Military Edition of Marriage Mentoring

• 1,412,133+ military personnel on active duty – 1,184,095 Enlisted personnel – 228,038 Officers

• 145, 500+ serving in Iraq and Afghanistan (Incountry) • 52.9% of active duty personnel are married (all services average)

Chaplaincy-based or Family Support Services-based Program • Mentors can be veterans in our communities • Sharing experience and wisdom • Proactive for healthy marriage instead of reactive to marriage problems

• Active Duty Military Personnel: More than 90% of military spouses are women. They are generally young, especially spouses of enlisted personnel. • Reserve Personnel: More than one-half of Selected Reserve members who are 18 or older were married in 2002. • Dual Military Marriages: In 2003, nearly 7% of married activeduty military personnel were in dual-military marriages (married to someone also in the military).

National Healthy Marriage Resource Center Copyright 2005

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