Marital & Relationship Mediation is a branch of Family Mediation that seeks to help couples overcome their relational difficulties. The pledging of vows of loyalty, commitment, lifelong love, and mutual respect whilst beautiful in itself, does not guarantee a stress-free relationship.
Enter Marital & Relationship Mediation. A mediation process where the couples seek first and foremost to remain connected and in relationship with one another.
With Marital & Relationship Mediation the focus is on:
- Helping couples to work through their differences,
- Helping couples in learning new and effective communication skills,
- Guiding couples to gain control over their emotions in the face of stress and conflict,
- Teaching couples how to negotiate critical issues and work collaboratively towards a mutually satisfactory solution,
- Assisting couples in gaining a better understanding about each other.
Marital & Relationship Mediation is an effective intervention that helps to restore marriages in trouble.
HOW DOES MARITAL MEDIATION DIFFER FROM DIVORCE MEDIATION?
Marital Mediation focuses on preserving a marriage. Divorce Mediation on the other hand focuses on helping couples work through the myriad of issues that would need to be dealt with, before a Court will grant a divorce. The aim with Divorce Mediation is to help couples amicably divorce and escape a contentious, expensive and drawn-out legal battle.
Areas covered in Marital Mediation include among others:
- Parenting Styles
- Financial Issues
- Allocation of Domestic Responsibilities
- In-Law Issues
- Conflict Styles
- Communication Styles
Areas covered in Divorce Mediation include among others:
- Parental Responsibilities & Rights
- Child Maintenance
- Spousal Support
- Division of an Estate
- Pension Fund Interests
- Business Interests
HOW DOES MARITAL MEDIATION DIFFER FROM MARRIAGE COUNSELLING?
There are a number of critical difference between Marriage Counselling and Marital Mediation. Basically though, Marriage Counselling is a long-term intervention while Marital Mediation is a short term, focused process.
- Takes place in a safe and supportive environment.
- May take the form of both separate and joint sessions.
- Has a therapeutic focus.
- Seeks primarily to bring emotional and psychological health to the individual using a number of different processes and therapeutic interventions.
- Generally seeks to understand the origin of a problem – that point in history when the problem surfaced and issues began to unravel.
- Seeks to improve the couple’s marriage by helping each party understand their emotional and psychological make-up.
- Is a long term process.
- Takes place in a safe and supportive environment.
- Takes the form of both separate and joint sessions.
- Is a short term intervention.
- Has a conflict-resolution focus.
- Seeks to help create understanding on the specific issue that is in conflict, and how it can be resolved.
- Keeps the focus on the parties’ communication patterns and their different conflict styles.
- Seeks to restore the marriage.
- If unsuccessful, it tends to provide a platform for the couple to move on to divorce mediation as opposed to their going straight into an adversarial legal route.
Mediation does not takes the place of Marriage Counselling or Pastoral Counselling. Most clients that follow the Marital Mediation route are encouraged to also work with a Marriage Counsellor. The reason for this is that when used together, these processes yield optimal results, especially as each process has a different focus.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MARITAL MEDIATION?
Marital Mediation is a short term intervention that provides an opportunity for couples experiencing marital difficulties, to pause, consider and reflect on what is important to them and to their partner and what they want for their marriage. For those that want their marriage to work, marital mediation gives them practical tools they can use to jointly work through their difficulties and to come to greater understanding of one another.
In addition to the above, Marital Mediation is:
- Generally, less stressful than many of the other interventions available to couples in conflict.
IN WHAT INSTANCES SHOULD ONE NOT CONSIDER MARITAL MEDIATION?
Domestic violence and spousal abuse are contra-indicated for Marital Mediation. As a rule, one cannot mediate domestic violence in the context of spouses trying to remain together and/or trying to mediate the cessation of domestic violence in order that their marriage can continue. In cases such as these, the spouses are better off seeing a Marriage Counsellor skilled in the areas of domestic violence. A consultation with an attorney is generally also considered to be a necessary step in order to put in place legal safeguards to protect a spouse (and the children) while the couple try to work out their marital issues with a counsellor.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE STARTING A MARITAL MEDIATION
- Understand that the Mediator is a neutral third party who will never take sides or tell you how you are supposed to act or communicate.
- Understand that the mediation is a confidential process.
- For an optimal mediation experience, you will need to be willing to share from your own perspective on what appears to be happening in your marriage. You will also need to be willing to listen to your spouse’s perspective on the issues at hand.
- Be willing to learn and put into practice new communication and conflict resolution skills.
Marital Mediation works – this is a relationship life-saver.