Fall in love, get married and live happily ever after.

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This is the fairy tale everyone chases after. The reality is very different, but it doesn’t have to be. According to a study conducted by YourTango.com, one of the leading causes of failing relationships is poor communication. Surprisingly, no matter how many words are exchanged, the basic message is failing to get through to the other side. Frequently, men feel that they are being nagged, while women do not feel heard.

Mediation is the perfect vehicle to repair communication. Learn how to improve those skills while keeping your marriage intact. During mediation, a third-party neutral helps to facilitate a conversation. Their job is to make sure both sides are heard and understood while keeping bad behavior to a minimum. If you feel that your partner does not understand your perspective or shuts down when having a difficult conversation, mediation can help. Mediators can reframe comments or clarify for one side what the other side is trying to say. 

Although mediation and therapy may seem like a similar process, there are critical differences between them. Mediation is not an on-going process, as therapy often is. Mediation may be completed in one session or several sessions, but it is always a goal to end mediation much sooner than therapy. In mediation, people discuss very specific issues and try to problem-solve together. Unlike therapy where the past plays a role in the conversation, mediation focuses on the future and minimizes any talk about the past. Mediation does not go into the psychological aspects of people’s behaviors but keeps the heart of the conversation on resolving conflict and getting to an agreement. 

Finally, couples can learn invaluable communication and listening skills during mediation. They can learn more about their own inability to hear the other person clearly due to filters that they have inadvertently created during the relationship. The better each person becomes at hearing the other side and articulating their own needs, the stronger and more loving the relationship can grow. If there are more conflicts than you’d like in your marriage, run, don’t walk to your nearest family mediator. It can save your marriage.

By Alice Shikina

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