Mediation To Stay Married

What’s That You Ask?

Starting out in the mid-1990’s as a Certified Mediator through the Staten Island Community Dispute Resolution Center, my classmates and I were considered “Pioneers” in the arena of mediation. ADR, Alternative Dispute Resolution was gaining momentum for years through arbitration. The courts were getting clogged with matters that could and should be handled in a non- legal way, if possible. They then introduced and started to have mediation training programs. The matters that worked best for mediation were considered:  family issues (family court) and neighbor disputes (small claims court). These lawsuits are extremely personal, (non-business and non-corporate) and considered best served when the parties resolve the issues together through the assistance of a trained, neutral third party.  If parties resolve their own issues and come up with an agreement where there is understanding, empathy and a give/take, the odds of them lasting are extremely high. When you go to court, there is only a win/lose outcome, so how can that help personal relationships move forward, especially when there are connections that will be there for life?

Training to become a Certified Divorce Mediator and then Certified Divorce Coach seemed like a natural fit. These are peaceful processes for un-peaceful times. As a divorce coach, individual clients come to me while they are still deciding whether to stay in their marriage or split apart. They desperately want to keep their marriages or relationships together, especially for their children. While I work with my clients to improve their communication skills, address the areas of friction in their relationship and develop new skills, there is always the missing piece… the other party. As a divorce mediator, many of my clients, upon completion of their divorce, told me they wished if what they had learned about conflict resolution was earlier on in their relationship, they might not have needed to end their marriage.

I am so pleased to learn about Marital Mediation, or Mediation To Stay Married and be able to offer this new practice to people going through rough times in their most important relationship. 

Marital Mediation is a mediation process for couples who are experiencing problems that want to stay together and work through their issues in a constructive way, utilizing forward momentum. This is a practical, solution-based approach to conflict resolution in which the couple identifies, brainstorms, negotiates and comes up with their own solution(s) with the help of a trained mediator.

A couple will typically see a Marriage Mediator at the same time they are in couples or individual counseling. While trying to save a marriage, it is important to utilize as many professionals as possible. This offers the couple the opportunity for healing, learning new coping, communication and conflict resolutions skills. This is not about choosing one method over another.

Common themes that destroy a relationship can be dealt with in mediation to save your marriage. Financial issues, job loss, bankruptcy, inheritance, spending patterns and adultery can cause distrust. Moods, emotions, different patterns of communication, problems with children, problems with mingling new families in second and third marriages can be managed. These can all be discussed and resolved in mediation.

By working with a mediator to save your marriage as opposed to a mediator to end your marriage, think about the following:

*Divorce is expensive and everyone in the family’s standard of living will be impacted.                         

*Divorce wreaks havoc with your emotions.                                                                                  

   *Divorce (in most situations) has parents putting their children in the middle.                                           

   *Divorce has friends and family taking sides.                                                                                               

   *Divorce has you looking into new relationships. Is the grass greener?                                                          

    *Divorce just brings out the “ugly” in good people.

Why do folks feel that they have to make a choice: Stay in an unhappy marriage and have happy children or leave the marriage and the children will somehow be okay? (Statistics don’t bear that out). Marital Mediation is an important, effective Alternative Dispute Resolution Process that is worthy of continued practice and development. Marital Mediation has often succeeded in resolving relationship/marital conflicts when other interventions have failed. It helps mediators put a marriage back together instead of being part of its demise.