Welcome to the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage” pre-marital mentoring page. This page provides everything you need to provide every engaged couple in your church with a mentor couple who can walk them through a comprehensive pre-marital program. We also want to see the experienced marriages in your church enriched as they invest in engaged couples who are just beginning their marital journey.

Here is a video of the training we provide to our mentors and the notes for this training (GCM Mentor Training Notebook). Feel free to use this training video for mentors at your church until you have an experienced mentor prepared to lead a comparable training.

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Pre-Marital Mentor Training from The Sam James Institute on Vimeo.

After completing this much of the training, you should be equipped to utilize the resources below as a pre-marital mentor. Mentoring is meant to be a cooperative learning experience. The relational strengths and weaknesses of each engaged couple, as revealed by the evaluations for each seminar, will take each mentoring relationship on a slightly different path. Learning the new story of each engaged couple and taking slightly different emphases in each of the five key areas is meant to keep mentoring fresh for the experienced couples investing in this ministry.

First Meeting:
Getting to Know Each Other

This is the only meeting that has the same, assigned content for each couple. You will discuss Lesson 2 from the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations seminar. Before the meeting, the engaged couple should complete:

The bulk of this meeting is spent on “Sketching our Story” (getting to know key life events) and “Celebrating Our Non-Moral Differences” (getting to know personality). Again, the goal is to get to know the couple and allow them to know you. If you are unfamiliar with these resources, here is a brief overview.

The purity covenant is something we offer to provide support to couples. We don’t want the couple to feel condemned if they are struggling, but we do want to be honest, facilitate the conversation, offer encouragement, and provide next steps as needed.

After the meeting, the engaged couple should complete and email to you:

  • Evaluation from the GCM: Foundations seminar notebook. The automated version of this updated evaluation is coming soon. Based on the results, you will decide which lesson from the seminar to cover at the next meeting. You will choose the lesson that serves the couple best and use the discussion questions provided with the lesson.

Second Meeting:
Foundations

During the second meeting, you will discuss a lesson from the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations seminar based on the evaluation the engaged couple completed. Before the meeting, the engaged couple should complete:

  • Watch, listen and/or read the selected lesson(s) from the GCM: Foundations seminar

Request: Most pastors like to speak with a couple’s mentors before they officiate a wedding. At this meeting, ask the engaged couple, “Do you mind connecting us via email with the pastor leading your wedding ceremony? We would like to be available to let the pastor know about the work you are doing in the GCM program.”

After the meeting, the engaged couple should complete and email to you:

  • Evaluation from the GCM: Communication seminar notebook. The automated version of this updated evaluation is coming soon. Based on the results, you will decide which lesson from the seminar to cover at the next meeting. You will choose the lesson that serves the couple best and use the discussion questions provided with the lesson.

Third Meeting:
Communication

During the third meeting, you will discuss a lesson from the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication seminar based on the evaluation the engaged couple completed. Before the meeting, the engaged couple should complete:

  • Watch, listen and/or read the selected lesson(s) from the GCM: Communication seminar

After the meeting, the engaged couple should complete and email to you:

  • Evaluation from the GCM: Finances seminar notebook. The automated version of this updated evaluation is coming soon. Based on the results (***), you will decide which lesson from the seminar to cover at the next meeting. You will choose the lesson that serves the couple best and use the discussion questions provided with the lesson

*** Unless there is a pressing concern that leads you to focus on another lesson, we recommend discussing Lesson 3 on creating and using a family budget.

Fourth Meeting:
Finances

During the fourth meeting, you will discuss Lesson 3 from the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Finances seminar (unless you selected a different lesson based on the evaluation the engaged couple completed). Before the meeting, the engaged couple should complete:

  • Watch, listen and/or read the selected lesson(s) from the GCM: Finances seminar

After the meeting, the engaged couple should complete and email to you:

  • Evaluation from the GCM: Decision Making seminar notebook. The automated version of this updated evaluation is coming soon. Based on the results, you will decide which lesson from the seminar to cover at the next meeting. You will choose the lesson that serves the couple best and use the discussion questions provided with the lesson.

Fifth Meeting:
Decision Making

During the fifth meeting, you will discuss a lesson from the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Decision Making seminar based on the evaluation the engaged couple completed. Before the meeting, the engaged couple should complete:

  • Watch, listen and/or read the selected lesson(s) from the GCM: Decision Making seminar

After the meeting, the engaged couple should complete and email to you:

  • Evaluation from the GCM: Intimacy seminar notebook. The automated version of this updated evaluation is coming soon. Based on the results, you will decide which lesson from the seminar to cover at the next meeting. You will choose the lesson that serves the couple best and use the discussion questions provided with the lesson.

Sixth Meeting:
Intimacy

During the sixth meeting, you will discuss a lesson from the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Intimacy seminar agreed based on the evaluation the engaged couple completed. Before the meeting, the engaged couple should complete:

  • Watch, listen and/or read the selected lesson(s) from the GCM: Intimacy seminar

At the end of this meeting, it is recommended that you set the final two meeting dates. Assuming the first six meetings were completed before the wedding, we recommend meeting again 6 weeks and 3 months after the wedding. There is no homework for these final two meetings.

Meetings Seven and Eight:
Checking In

There are no more evaluations. ? The focus of these meetings is to continue building a relationship with the newlywed couple and provide follow-up and reinforcement on the GCM content. After catching up on how the couple is adapting to married life, the outline for this meeting can be as simple as:

  • What has been good?
  • What has been harder than you expected?
  • What questions do you have?
  • How can we pray for you?

By this point, you should be a trusted set of friends whose opinion and perspective are valued. You are helping the couple discern what challenges are normal and brainstorming ways to approach these challenges. If the couple is facing moderate to severe challenges, your role is to affirm their courage to confide these challenges, recommend additional help from a more experienced pastor or counselor, and continue to support them as they take these steps.