MARITAL MEDIATION IS NOT THERAPY…
(These questions and answers are from an article “What is Marital Mediation or Mediation To Stay Married?” by Angela Ioana Green, August 2009)
What is Mediation to Stay Married?
Mediation to Stay Married (also known as Marital Mediation) is a mediation process for couples who are experiencing marital problems or difficulties and who would prefer to stay together, work through their issues in a constructive way, who are willing to learn to resolve conflict and who wish to avoid divorce. Mediation to Stay Married is a practical, solution oriented approach to conflict resolution in which the couple identifies, brainstorms, negotiate and problem solve their own solutions to conflict.
How does Mediation to Stay Married work?
Mediation to Stay Married does not seek to delve deeply into the past or interpersonal, psychological issues of couples (or its individual members.) Through Mediation to Stay Married, the couple can develop concrete plans or modes of action that can be helpful to address their marital conflict and issues. The couple works with a trained mediator, who uses dispute resolution techniques to help define the issues and gain understanding, discover hidden interests and creates options for breaking impasses and improving the couple’s conflict resolution and interpersonal communication skills. The mediator facilitates communication among the parties wherefore the parties can independently set goals and objectives together for mutual implementation.
Why see a mediator rather than a mental health professional?
Utilizing Mediation to Stay Married is not a choice of one method over another. Often, knowledge is gained by the couple’s efforts to understand the source of conflict while in the marital therapy. A troubled couple should use all the resources available to overcome the conflict and keep a family together. If one or both of the parties suffers from depression, addiction, or other problems, individual counseling is a must. Couples can also get great help from marital counselors, and if they have not been helped by a series of marital counseling sessions at one point in their marriage, they may be helped the second (or third) time they try it. A marital mediator on the other hand, offers a practical approach to conflict resolution. The parties identify the current issues and in a guided mediation brainstorm options for resolution, closure and ultimate agreement. Mediation to Stay Married teaches couples long term conflict resolution skills applicable for any conflict, in any situation, at any point in time.
Does Mediation to Stay Married result in a written agreement?
It is your choice if you wish to put your agreement in writing. Some couples would like a written understanding (Memorandum of Understanding) of what they have agreed to in a Mediation to Stay Married. This can be a template for them while going forward in their marriage. Some couples feel that the verbal understanding is enough and that a written agreement would be too intrusive. There is also the option of a full-blown agreement, like a prenuptial agreement, that should be reviewed by separate attorneys for each spouse.