Couple is having marital difficulties. One spouse, most often (but not always) the wife, suggests marriage counseling.
The other spouse, most often (but not always) the husband, refuses. Or goes along – but refuses to participate meaningfully.
He (or she, as the case may be) doesn’t want to discuss his (or her) innermost feelings with a stranger.
Now, it’s just a matter of time before the frustrated spouse files for divorce.
Enter a modern spin on marriage counseling: Marital Mediation.
Anyone familiar with the divorce process is likely acquainted with mediation in divorce cases.
Well, a Connecticut mediator and social psychologist is applying mediation techniques to marriage counseling.
The Marital Mediation process flushes out areas of conflict and fosters communication and negotiation, and facilitates agreements on mutually desirable corrective actions.
There is less emphasis on exploring and confronting emotions, and more emphasis on committing to a written contract for proactive, logical behaviors to improve the marriage.
This approach may well better serve couples where at least one of the spouses refuses to discuss his or her emotions with a stranger.
But one thing is the same in Marital Mediation: both spouses must be willing to “come to the table” and give the selected form of marriage therapy their all. Otherwise, it is doomed to fail.