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Marriage mentoring is a marriage education strategy that pairs an experienced couple alongside a younger couple to help them navigate through the ups and downs of their relationship. The amount of time the two couples stay connected varies, but generally averages six to twelve months. A successful mentor relationship can last informally for years.

This type of mentoring has been used in the faith community with great success for several decades. As part of a marriage ministry or premarital preparation program, churches often take on the responsibility of nurturing younger couples. As a part of this program, they train veteran couples who show a willingness to serve other couples in this capacity.

Some of the necessary ingredients for launching and sustaining a successful marriage mentoring program outside of a church setting include:

* Identification of committed and passionate mentor couples
* On-going access to young couples
* A trusted source for referrals
* A curriculum or guide to support mentoring sessions
* A training plan for mentor couples
* A mechanism for accountability

Building on these lessons, this How-To Guide is designed to highlight issues to consider when designing and implementing a secular marriage mentoring program. (Author abstract)