In Let God Use Your Story, I pleaded with you to help other couples in any way you can. Today I want to ask far more of a few of you. This is for couples with no children living at home who’ve been married at least 20 years and have a good, strong, happy marriage. I didn’t say a fantastic marriage; just solid.
Find space to make an efficiency type apartment with a full bathroom (at least a shower), a small but functional kitchen, and enough space for a newlywed couple to live. You can build this as a separate house, in the garage, or above a shop. You could get a mini-house, a single wide trailer, or an RV. A door into the main house is okay if you want, but be sure there’s an outside entrance.
Once you have the apartment ready, look for a couple to move in. Ideally, I’d say get a just married couple. The goal is to mentor this new couple for a year or so.
How you do it depends on many things. Below are a few suggestions as a starting place:
- Charge them less “rent” than they would pay for as much space on their own. Use some of the money for the extra utilities if you need to. Put the rest in a savings account to be given to them when they are about to move out.
- Set regular times together. I’d say a shared meal a week plus some other gathering in or away from the house.
- Give and ask for a certain degree of autonomy, but be available to the couple.
- The above means you sometimes have others over and don’t invite the young couple, and you tell them you hope they’ll do the same.
- Ask for help doing things around the house or property on occasion, but don’t expect them to do too much. Working side by side with them is more about a chance to talk and minister than what gets done.
- At a year or so let them know it’s time for them to find their own place. Give them a wide window so they can find a good place and move when it’s convenient for them.
- After they move out, take some time off. Then find a new couple and do it again.
Imagine the impact you can have by doing this. Your marriage will be on display, showing this new couple how great marriage can be. Watching you they will learn how to navigate problems. They will pick up on ways of honouring and respecting each other. They will see the acts of love a couple needs to be healthy. You will develop the kind of relationship that allows them to ask questions freely. Hopefully, they will come to trust you enough to ask hard and embarrassing questions, and enough to let you speak into their lives when you see something of concern. You will be a resource that allows them to deal with problems quickly.
Yes, this is asking a great deal. But think what could come from it. How might your marriage have benefited from this? What about some of the divorced folk you know, do you see how this could have prevented the end of their marriage?
I know this isn’t for everyone. Some of you can’t and some of you shouldn’t. I pray the Lord will nudge those of you who can and should.
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