Mediation to Stay Married

What is Mediation to Stay Married?
Experienced mediators began noticing the same thing – clients reporting to them at the conclusion of divorce mediation “If we had learned these things earlier, perhaps the marriage could have survived. “ This insight gave rise to a developing field within mediation, known as Mediation to Stay Married or Marital Mediation.  Mediation to Stay Married typically utilizes a Transformative framework to help couples learn new approaches to resolving conflict.  Transformative Mediation seeks to transform the nature of interaction through empowerment and recognition – empowerment to speak clearly, and recognition of the other.

The goal of Mediation to Stay Married is to help couples address areas of conflict (financial, parental, household responsibilities) in a constructive way, identifying specific steps that can be put into effect quickly, thereby strengthening their relationship.  It is not marriage counseling or therapy but a practical, solution oriented approach.

All marriages experience conflict, and all marriages require work.  It is all too easy to “jump the gun” and head toward divorce, especially if you can’t see any alternatives at the moment.  Mediation to Stay Married can provide tools and skills to get you through the rough spots, breaking through entrenched disagreements, strengthening your marriage, and giving you the hope of a better future together.

What is the Difference between Mediation to Stay Married and Couples Counseling?
Counseling can be very useful.  A trained mental health professional can help you gain insights about yourself and your marriage through therapy.  Rather than going into past hurts and problems, psychological and interpersonal issues, Mediation to Stay Married utilizes a Conflict Resolution and practical approach, helping you indentify conflicts and agreeing on a plan (sometimes written) to address them in a concrete way.

Throughout the mediation process, you may continue to seek the assistance of mental health, financial, and other helping professionals.  I encourage you to make use of all the resources possible, especially if there are significant issues like depression, addiction, or diagnosed mental disorders.  Mediation to Stay Married is a different (and promising) tool and approach, not a substitute for counseling.

Is Staying Married Worth It?
I have two sorts of answers to that one, the practical and the spiritual.

First for the practical.
The grass is not always greener on the other side.  Rarely is that the case.

Divorce is expensive.  There is the cost of the divorce itself.  Afterwards, the standard of living for most people goes down.  In short, there are all sorts of financial, governmental, tax and estate, medical, and other advantages to staying married!

Divorce also exacts a huge emotional toll on you and your family.  Your children will inevitably find themselves “in the middle” between you and your ex-spouse in a host of ways. Children do not generally do as well post divorce, though in some cases, it is better for them than living under a perpetually high-conflict and potentially dangerous marriage.  You will lose friends who cannot “take your side”.

You will still have to work hard, perhaps harder, on a second marriage.  There are the challenges of dealing with ex spouses and blended families.  There is the potential of taking with you all the same patterns that contributed to the difficulties in your first marriage.  For these and more reasons, the divorce rates for second marriages are especially high.

And now the spiritual.
If you were married in a church or by a pastor, your marriage is more than a legal contract.  It is a covenant – a covenant of which God is meant to be a partner.  Another way of saying it is the two of you did not merely contract with each other.  You made a holy covenant with each other, and with God.  The simple truth is God takes covenants very seriously, and breaking covenant has serious spiritual consequences.

As a Christian pastor, and as someone who has been on the losing end of covenant, I am committed to upholding and strengthening God’s purpose and intention for your marriage.  I am committed to helping you find the resources and tools you need.

“Those whom God has joined together, let no one separate.”  These words reflect Jesus’ own teaching on marriage.  There are instances in which severing the covenant of marriage is the best among difficult choices.  The well-known biblical example is infidelity, yet depending on the circumstances, with repentance and trust building and hard work some marriages can recover.  Many of us believe domestic abuse and ongoing addiction fall in the same category of potentially doing irreparable harm.

“For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, until we are parted by death” – these are the terms of the covenant you have made before, and with, God.  They are meant to be all encompassing and unconditional.  Not feeling in love with each other at the moment, not feeling fulfilled or happy, attraction to a co-worker or old classmate, the hopelessness of an entrenched stalemate of disagreement or misunderstanding– these and many more issues are serious obstacles to a successful marriage.  Culture tells us these are sufficient reasons for divorce.  Yet the covenant is there precisely for such difficult times.  As Christian people, we are accountable to God and not culture. I truly believe God will honor and help restore those who seek to honor Him by keeping covenant.  In the long run and in the end, you will be glad you made the harder choice of staying together and getting the help you need!

Get In Touch

Please Call Dr. Bill Steinberg at (919) 632-4904