By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
Lindsey and Matt Binion said they had plenty of people in their corner as they prepared for the Sacrament of Marriage more than 10 years ago. Now it’s their turn to return the favor.
The Binions were one of 26 couples who completed training to be a marriage mentor couple as part of a new initiative started by the Archdiocese of Mobile. The trained mentor couples will be an additional resource for engaged couples planning to get married in the archdiocese and won’t replace the priest, Pre-Cana or Engaged Encounter weekends. It will be up to the priest to decide how to best use the mentor couples.
The recently trained couples from the Mobile-Baldwin deaneries finished March 13 and had their marriages blessed by Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi following Mass at St. Dominic Parish. Another nine couples are being trained in Montgomery.
“We liked the idea of giving back because so many couples mentored us through our marriage,” said Lindsey Binion, a parishioner at St. Mary Parish with Matt and their three children. “It wasn’t in an official capacity, but we had so many friends who were married before us who just supported us.”
Joshua and Milenka Washington also relished the opportunity to assist others.
The parishioners of St. Dominic Parish actually celebrated their 25th anniversary on the final day of the training program. After 25 years of marriage, the Washingtons apparently know each other well.
“(Milenka) read about (the program) first and then I read through it, but we didn’t mention it to each other and I think we were waiting to see who was going to bring it up first,” Joshua Washington said. “She did and said she thought it would be something very good for us to do. I said ‘Yes! I agree with you!”
Both the Binions and Washingtons noted how the program stressed the importance of prayer, especially the importance of husband and wife praying with each other.
“It challenged us a lot,” Lindsey Binion said. “It was probably something that we did not do a lot at all. It was always a little uncomfortable for us, but after being challenged we’ve made it a priority. We do it a lot more and a lot more consciously than we did before.”
Said Matt Binion: “When you’re in a program like this that you’re learning so you can teach, you want to make sure you model those things too. In so many respects it’s helping our marriage just as much as others. And our relationship with our kids. It goes over into that too in a good way.”
Couples will inevitably face adversity and the Washingtons dealt with a heavy dose during their training.
The couple are rebuilding from a house fire in December.
“Everything will be fine, it’s just one of those things. Sometimes struggles like that happen,” Milenka Washington said.
When struggles of any kind happen, Milenka Washington said communication is key.
“You have to open the lines of communication in all the different levels of marriage – faith, family, financials,” Milenka Washington said. “Sometimes people avoid have that communication before being married and they want to live in a perfect world and be in a perfect marriage.”