TAG | marriage

Recently I was speaking with a new client to schedule an initial mediation session for a divorce. She does not work on Fridays and her husband usually can leave work early on Friday afternoons. We were looking for Friday appointment times. “How about Friday February 14th?” I suggested. “Hmmm, no, that is just too sad.” she responded. It took me a moment to realize I had suggested they begin divorce mediation on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is fraught with peril for many individuals, especially the recently divorced or separated. For many their divorce feels like a failure of their marriage and they are ashamed the marriage did not last. Failure is a harsh word but it is the word I often hear used by clients. A Valentine’s Day newly alone can be very lonely and isolating.

As humans we naturally focus on the one bad event or experience and instead we forget the all the other good events or experiences. After a mediation session I often think of what I should have said or a better question to have asked instead of the discussions that went well or the progress that was made.

The same tendency to view events as negative applies to divorce. Obviously divorce creates challenges and consequences no one ever anticipated when they were planning their wedding. Divorce also though creates new opportunities and chances for change and growth that were not possible in the spiral of a deteriorating marriage.

After a separation and divorce both parties have a chance to challenge themselves and explore new opportunities. Some clients find solace in support groups, others mentor new divorcees, some focus on their work, some on their children if they have children and others take up new hobbies and sports. Money can be tight after a divorce but so many options have no or very little cost. A cup of coffee and a conversation with a supportive friend at a coffee shop is affordable. Some people begin to date and many eventually enter a serious relationship.

All of these new and positive possibilities exist precisely because of their divorce. New possibilities and positives to focus on exist because they did get divorced.

And no, I will not being mediating a divorce on Valentine’s Day.

Sheila-Marie Untiedt
www.cleanslatemediation.net
612-308-9994

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Oct/13

23

Marriage Mentor

I recently attended a lovely wedding of a couple in their mid twenties. At the reception one of the groomsmen’s toast to the couple caught me completely by surprise. He toasted the bride and groom that they might enjoy many happy years together, just had their parents have enjoyed. “You two are the only couple I know that both sets of parents are still married to each other. I hope you both know how lucky you are to have examples for successful marriage”.

Really? Could that possibly be true? Well, assuming the divorce rate in the United States is around 50%, plus the fact that the birthrate to unmarried mothers is around 40%, then yes, it could be true. I had never thought of that possibility before. Young couples, and older couples too, often marry without anyone ever modeling how to be successfully married.

Marriage is an intricate series of exchanges and conversations, under good and bad circumstances. Often stressed and fragile, marriage is easily chipped away at exposing a structural weakness that eventually may topple the union.

Maybe the best wedding gift to a couple would be a Marriage Mentor…but that would be hard to gift wrap.

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