Finding Clarity: Marital Mediation - Blair Trippe
After a year in quarantine, even the strongest of marriages have undergone stress. Partners have been put through the wringer, facing challenges in this unprecedented period. Martial mediation offers a way to mediate these challenges, to come out stronger while minimizing emotional and financial loss.
I recently wrote an article that highlighting the differences between marital mediation and marital therapy, and the benefits of the former.
Marital mediation differs from marital therapy and divorce mediation, the latter of which is concerned with an amicable separation whereas here the goal is to help married couples facing conflict improve their existing relationship. Marital therapy examines the past as a means to understand the present, and as a tool to repair and strengthen the current relationship. As I wrote,“The therapy process focuses on feelings and communication, where marital mediation focuses on the pragmatic issues of living together in marriage.”
Marital therapy generally steers away from one-on-one work, meeting the couple together. Conversely, marital mediation prioritizes the understanding of each individual’s wants and needs and usually necessitates meeting with each party one-on-one before speaking to them as a couple. I explained this further:
“Marital mediation is a forward-focused, behavioral approach for spouses to examine their interests and how they can be met to forge a marital recommitment. Mediation uses interest-based negotiation techniques to open and improve lines of communication, address the elements that cause distrust and disharmony, help couples address areas of friction in their relationship, and develop “guidelines” that focus on the behavioral changes each person will make to lessen future conflict.”
“As in therapy, the process addresses issues such as mutual respect, improved communication, self-awareness, and the psychological make-up of each party are identified and developed. The focus is on pragmatic issues of how the couple will address decision-making, and the basic mechanics of living together successfully are addressed.”
The benefits of marital mediation include the involvement of a neutral third party, more effective, efficient communication, redesigning the relationship, and increased clarity. The presence of a neutral third party allows the couple to have a better understanding of each other, and to acknowledge the validity of each viewpoint. It also contributes to the creation of a safe space where communication can be free-flowing. Improved communication follows from this. Here a mediator can provide guidance and insight into each individual’s contribution to the conflict, and then guide them towards a collaborative effort to improve the relationship. Redesigning the relationship and reframing the conflict involved in its deterioration is another key benefit. This culminates in an increased level of clarity that helps a couple identify what they want out of a relationship and their commitment to each other.
I defined what this clarity can mean for a couple, “The mediation process is a journey that is revealing in nature and can help couples take a more active approach in deciding how they want to move forward — even if that means transitioning the relationship.”
About Blair Trippe: Blair is a managing partner at Continuity Family Business Consulting specialized in negotiations and conflict resolutions. She co-authored the book “Mom Always Liked You Best — A Guide to Resolving Family Feuds, Inheritance Battles and Eldercare Crises,” aa guide to help families communicate and negotiate effectively. Blair also co-authored “Deconstructing Conflict,” a book about understanding family business, shared wealth, and power. Blair combines her experience in adult family communication and conflict resolution with her business skills to provide clarity, insights, and directional advice to address complex issues that often face family-owned and operated enterprises.
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