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How Mentoring Saved My Marriage

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(I want to share my story while protecting my wife's privacy.)

This wasn't on the brochure... When my wife and I got married in 2008, we were warned by everyone and their mother, especially my wife's mother, that the first year of marriage is challenging. Everyone pointed to the adjustment phase. Our first year of marriage was easy. We loved it. We entered into year two, thinking that we must just be better at this than everyone else. We had arguments over finances and schedules like everyone else, but we genuinely liked each other.

Then at year five, we had our first child. Again everyone told us how hard marriage is when there's a pregnancy. We made it through with barely a scratch. We lost sleep and grew frustrated, but we thought we were communicating well enough. Little pieces of frustration here and there but nothing we couldn't handle. 

But our story turns at year seven. The dreaded year seven. We just had our second child, which no one tells you that it isn't only twice as hard having a second child, it's 10 times harder. It's not even close. The constant neediness from a youngling who isn't the baby, and the lack of sleep leads to stress overload. 

We hit rock bottom. We weren't communicating or loving, nor did we even like each other. Every conversation was a struggle, and we found the end of our rope. 

Our one saving grace was a deep-seated commitment never to get divorced, but that can only last so long.  

That's when we found mentors. These dear people took us in at our darkest times and gave us hope. It was a bit like counseling at first, but then it turned into sharing life experiences. I won't speak for my wife, but for me, I found that many of the problems we were having in our marriage were only symptoms of a more significant issue. They were the symptoms of my desire to stuff my emotions and turn them into resentments while pretending that I was fine.

The care I received gave me a safe place to share my thoughts and feelings without fear of conflict. But also the accountability and challenge to be a better husband. I use to think it was my responsibility to make my wife happy and meet all of her needs. In reality, my responsibility is to me.  I need to communicate my needs to my wife instead of waiting for her to figure it out. Mentoring didn't just tell me what to do, it showed me. 

We are now coming to the end of year 11 stronger and more joyful than ever. We communicate more clearly, still a work in progress, and have endured incredible challenges as a team and I give our mentors all the credit. Because of their guidance and example, we have the confidence and courage to engage in stressful situations, and we do it together.

I do wish we would have been in a mentoring relationship before we hit the hard times because we would have been better prepared. This is why I am so excited for the marriage mentoring program at Bridgeway. No matter what season any marriage is in, mentoring can be the catalyst for it to thrive. 

Covenant, Calling, and Connection: Introducing 2020 at Bridgeway

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At Bridgeway, we teach that when we look at the Bible, we find two main themes that help us understand its overall message. The first is covenant, the idea that God invites each of us into a covenant relationship with Him. He is our Heavenly Father, and when we accept His invitation into a relationship, He gives us an identity as His son or daughter. The second is calling, the idea that God invites us to represent Him in the world. He is our King, and He invites us to be ambassadors of the Kingdom of God on Earth. 

We find these themes throughout Scripture, but there is arguably no book that teaches both of them as clearly as the book of Ephesians, the book we will be studying in 2020 at Bridgeway. 

The first three chapters of Ephesians are all about covenant. Paul fills these chapters with beautiful words about the power and promises of God. In studying these chapters, we will learn that God has made us holy and blameless before Him, that there is an inheritance that awaits us, that we have been saved by grace, and so much more. 

The final three chapters of Ephesians are all about calling. As we study these chapters, we learn about who God calls us to be in light of our position as His sons and daughters. We also learn about how we are to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ and how to live wisely in difficult times. These chapters are almost overflowing with practical instruction that is useful for any area of our lives. 

Pastor Lance announced on the first weekend of the year that 2020 would be The Year of Connecting at Bridgeway. It is our hope and prayer that as we study Ephesians 1-3 that you will feel more connected to God than ever before. Whether you’re learning the truths we’ll cover for the first time or relearning what you’ve known for decades, we’re trusting that God is going to increase your love and devotion to Him as we learn about who He is and all that He has done for us. It’s all too easy in our busy, distracted age to forget core truths about God, so we’re excited to dig into those truths together. 

It’s also our hope and prayer that you will feel more connected than ever to your church family as we dig into Ephesians 4-6. We’re believing that God is going to give us a new vision for the importance of community. We’re also believing there will be a huge step forward in connectedness at Bridgeway. It’s impossible to know everyone at our church, but what we really want is for everyone who calls Bridgeway home to have a ‘tribe’ of people who they know and trust. If you’ve already found your tribe, we want to help you experience deeper and more vibrant community. If you’re still looking, we’re here to help you connect. Discipleship, more often than not, is a group process, so we want to be a church full of Missional Communities who are seeking to follow Jesus together. 

We serve a God who invites us into covenant relationship and gives us a calling to represent Him. In other words, He invites us to connect with Him and connect to the world around us. He knows He built us to know Him and to be in community with others. We want to accept God’s invitation to connectedness this year, and we’re excited for you to join us! 

Posted by Brian Kiley with