Mighty sequoia trees tower hundreds of feet in the air and can withstand intense environmental pressures. Lightning can strike them, fierce winds can blow, and forest fires can rage around them. But the sequoia endures, standing firm, only growing stronger through the trials.
One of the secrets to the strength of this giant tree is what goes on below the surface. Unlike many trees, they reach out and interlock their roots with the sequoias around them. Each becomes empowered and reinforced by the strength of each others.
The secret to the sequoia is also the key to maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. A couple that faces problems alone is more likely to fall apart during rough times. However, the ones who interlock their lives in a network of other strong marriages radically increase their chances of surviving the fiercest of storms. It is crucial that a husband and wife pursue godly advice, healthy friendships, and experienced mentors.
Everyone needs wise counsel throughout life. Wise people constantly seek it and gladly receive it. Fools never ask for it and then ignore it when it’s given to them.
As the Bible so clearly explains, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (Proverbs 12:15).
Gaining wise counsel is like having a detailed road map and a personal guide while traveling on a long, challenging journey. It can be the difference between continual success or the destruction of another marriage. It is vital that you invite strong couples to share the wisdom they have gained through their own successes and failures.
Why waste years of your life learning painful lessons when you could discover those same truths during a few hours of wise counsel? Why not cross the bridges others have built? Wisdom is more valuable than gold. Not receiving it is like letting priceless coins pass through your fingers.
Good marriage mentors warn you before you make a bad decision. They encourage you when you are ready to give up. And they cheer you on as you reach new levels of intimacy in your marriage.
Do you have an older couple or a friend or a friend of the same gender you can turn to for good advice, for prayer support, and for regular accountability checkups? Do you have someone in your life who shoots straight with you?
You and your spouse need these types of friends and mentors on a consistent basis. The Bible says, “Encourage one another day after day … so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). Too often we can isolate ourselves from others. If we are not careful, we could push away the people who love us the most.
You must guard yourself against the wrong influencers. Everyone has an opinion and some people will encourage you to act selfishly and leave your mate in order to pursue your own happiness. Be careful about listening to advice from people who don’t have a good marriage themselves.
If your marriage is hanging by a thread or already heading for a divorce, then you need to stop everything and pursue solid counseling as quickly as possible. Call a pastor, a Bible-believing counselor, or a marriage ministry today. As awkward as it may initially be to open up your life to a stranger, your marriage is worth every second spent and every sacrifice you will make for it. Even if your marriage is fairly stable, you’re in no less need of honest, open mentors – people who can put wind in your sails and make your marriage even better.
How do you pick a good mentor? You look for a person who has the kind of marriage you want. You look for a person whose heart for Christ comes first before everything else. You look for someone who doesn’t live by his or her opinions but by the unchanging Word of God. And more times than not, this person will likely be delighted you asked for help. Start praying for God to send this person into your life. Then pick a time to meet and talk.
If this doesn’t sound too important to you, it would be a good idea to ask yourself why. Do you have something to hide? Are you afraid you will be embarrassed? Do you think your marriage is exempt from needing outside help? Does diving into a river of positive influence not appeal to you? Don’t be the captain of another Titanic divorce by ignoring the warning signs around you when you could have been helped.
Here’s an important reminder from Scripture: “Each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). This appointment is unbreakable. And though we’re all ultimately responsible for the way we approach it, we can surely stand as much help as others can give. It might just be the relational influence that takes your marriage from mediocre to amazing.
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. – Proverbs 15:22
Find a marriage mentor – someone who is a strong Christian and who will be honest and loving with you. If you feel that counseling is needed, then take the first step to set up an appointment. During this process, ask God to direct your decisions and discernment.