How does marital mediation work?
The marital mediator promotes and facilitates discussion that allows the clients to exchange differing views, ask questions, discuss difficult topics and find solutions. It involves face-to-face meetings between the parties discussing difficult issues with a trained mediator. A mediator is a communications specialist, and has learned techniques that assist in promoting mutual understanding and productive communication.
After a time spent with the spouses, a mediator can identify faulty communication, defensiveness, and misunderstandings that the parties themselves cannot see. A problem in the marriage can be reframed as a mutual problem to be solved together, and not the fault of one or another spouse. When parties in a mediation are encouraged to talk about their interests and needs (and not just articulate the result they think they want), a whole range of options becomes available to the couple. Because marital mediators are generally also divorce mediators, the mediator can help the clients identify and lessen behaviors and communication styles that could lead to divorce.
Why is marital mediation effective for marriages?
Mediation is short term, practical, and addresses concrete problems and communication difficulties. It is not therapy, and does not delve deeply into family backgrounds or personal issues. It helps spouses negotiate issues that they are unable to handle directly with each other. It gives them tools to use at home when the mediator is not around anymore.
Mediation models better ways of communication when spouses are in conflict over important issues, or even where there are petty disagreements. Standard mediation practices such as reframing and active listening work well in marriages. Marital mediation often works to help a marriage at times when other methods have failed.
Sometimes married couples (or one of the spouses) has a great resistance to enter into marital counseling. Marital mediation is a good option for these couples to get the help they want.
Marital mediation can help the marriage survive through a difficult time, and the parties have a new chance and can use mediation (or other methods) in the future if they so choose.