Mediation is the process of facilitating a resolution of a dispute between two or more parties. The idea of marriage mediation is commonly associated with mediation undertaken for a hopefully amenable agreement to end a marriage. A trend that has grown from the business of divorce mediation is mediation aimed at settling differences within a marriage and therefore holding the partnership together. Mediators in this situation make use of conflict resolution techniques to help partners settle their differences, find new ways to deal with conflicts and problems and move on, hopefully to experience a stronger relationship in the future.
Marriage mediation has developed because of situations that occur from time to time during divorce mediation. Couples pursuing divorce mediation sometimes discover through the course of speaking with a mediator that they still truly want to remain married, but they need help sorting out certain problems and differences in order to continue with the relationship. From this idea, some mediators have chosen to help married couples sort out problems.
Traditionally, those suffering difficulties in their marriage consult marriage counselors or therapists. These approaches certainly are viable, but in other cases, couples feel it is more expedient and relevant to consult with a mediator. Typically, a mediator will deal directly with very specific problems without exploring causes or history that would be addressed in a therapy situation. Marriage mediation works similarly to the way divorce mediation works, in that counseling and therapy are not necessarily used, but direct, immediate solutions to problems are put into place.
In order for marriage mediation to be successful, both parties must be willing not only to air grievances but to pay attention to the concerns of the other party. They also must be willing to make changes in individual behavior in order to reduce the friction and difficulties that have brought stress to the marriage. A family mediator sometimes can help, as well, to work through issues that involve more than the married couple alone.
The goals of marriage mediation are not only to keep the marriage intact but also to strengthen it and also strengthen the bonds between the couple. For those truly committed to preserving their marriage, mediation provides an alternative to long-term, extensive and costly marriage counseling or therapy. Therapy or counseling might still be necessary in cases where problems stem from past abuse or other complex psychological issues, but in many cases, marriage mediation can help a marriage get back on track.