We have all heard of mediation in high stakes negotiations. But can the mediation model be used to help couples in marriage? Can mediation save and enhance relationships that are so close and personal?
Find out in this article as we explain what marriage mediation is and how it can help you.
What is Marriage Mediation?
by Mordechai Rhine
“You are driving a bus,” the entertainer began.
I was sitting at a birthday party to which I had carpooled my son and some classmates. The entertainer was trying to include both children and their parents with a conversational riddle.
He continued. “At the first stop 3 children get on. At the second stop 2 more get on, but one gets off. At the next stop a grandma gets on with two children, a boy and a girl. At the next stop 2 children get off but 4 get on. At the next stop the grandma gets off but only takes the boy with her.”
The entertainer paused dramatically and then asked, “Who is driving the bus?”
I smiled at the cleverness of the riddle. There was so much information given that one could easily lose track of the opening statement, “You are driving a bus.”
In marriage as well, there are so many things happening that it is easy to lose track of the need for us to drive the bus. The fairy tale books end off that the young couple “lived happily ever after.” But in the real world there is a lot going on.
Marriage can be compared to driving a car on a highway. When things are going smoothly it is blissfully energizing, moving forward, smoothly, together towards your destination. But sometimes it happens that drivers slip a bit out of the lane. It could take some effort to get the car back into the lane.
Just as a car needs to be fueled up periodically, so a couple might realize that they have been coasting on earlier emotional investment, but now need to fuel up again. Fueling up might be as simple as date nights and giving affirmations and compliments. But often, it may require a facilitated conversation to address issues that may have been ignored over the years. Together, we want to make sure that you and your spouse are driving together with mutual respect and admiration.
Sometimes there is some serious distancing that occurred, or even a fallout. Marriage mediation can help reassess and redirect things so that you can take charge instead of just letting the pieces fall where they may. This is an opportunity for you to take responsibility as a driver and try to fix things. You may be encountering a troubling situation which you have never encountered before, or something that you have encountered before but have been unable to fix. Discussing with the mediator how other folks have successfully dealt with such situations can be empowering. The goal is to put you in the driver’s seat to be able to reach a satisfying resolution.
During conflict, distancing, or fallout, it may seem like the door to resolution is locked. It may seem hard to imagine how things can ever be sorted out and fixed. I like to think of the future as a door that is currently closed but not locked. We don’t need to unlock it as much as we need to find it, open it, and step forward successfully.
The open-the-door attitude can be illustrated by a story that occurred with Harry Houdini, the famous escape artist. In one town, as Houdini was doing a show, the mayor challenged him to allow himself to be placed in the county jail and see if he could get out. Houdini agreed.
After Houdini was left alone in a prison cell, he tried to trigger the lock to open. He tried multiple methods but could not get it to click open. After many minutes Houdini kicked the door in frustration, and it swung open. Shocked, he realized that the door had never been locked.
I believe that many crises in marriage are cases in which the door is not locked. We need to find and open an existing door to a bright a beautiful future. Even if your marriage has already been affected by sarcasm and ongoing criticism, an experienced mediator can put you in the driver’s seat with directions and provide guidance to move forward successfully and lovingly.
What is so wonderful about marriage mediation is that it is based on self-determination—it puts you in the driver’s seat. Husband and wife both get to hear and be heard and direct the conversation with sensitivity and curiosity. The focus is to rebuild the US of the marriage. Regardless of what you are experiencing, implementing some adjustments can make an enormous difference. Even if a relationship has started to become disagreeable, choosing to change lanes on the highway can make the home a place of harmony.
CARE-Mediation with Mordechai Rhine is a mediation practice that specializes in marriage mediation. We offer in-person meetings (based in Baltimore, MD) as well as sessions nationwide over Zoom. Mediation is a confidential process which can help you and your loved one better understand each other and reach resolution and a happy marriage. Open your door to a few sessions of facilitated conversation and open your door to a lifetime of love together.
Contact us for a free consultation at 908-770-9072 or email@example.com.