Santa Monica Observer August 24, 2004
As seen in The Santa Monica Observer Weekly
ASK THE DIVORCE COACH©, SUSAN ALLAN
The average American marriage lasts only seven years. After a break-up, there may be emotional scars to heal before another relationship can thrive. When you commit yourself, basing your interactions on love instead of on fear may be difficult. In coaching clients, these new communication skills allow you to bring yourself back to PEACE, so that all your relationships improve. Then, the “happily ever after” that you have dreamed about can begin with yourself and expand to your spouse. I often receive requests for demonstrations of my “Marital Mediation Training”. The following is an opportunity to look over the shoulder of a client before and after coaching.
A couple is concerned about money; the husband has been unemployed for 6 months and the wife has begun a new business. They have “maxed out” their credit cards with $3,000 available credit and $6,000 in monthly expenses due within 15 days.
Spouse's story about situation: “My wife is an idiot with money. She has no regard for how hard I've worked all these years. She's never worked and now she's the big shot, needing quiet while she's on the phone and needing help with the children from everyone! If she helped me, I'd have a job by now anyway!”
Wife says: “Honey, would you please watch the kids tonight, I have to work?”
Husband says: “I'm busy!”
Wife says: “I watched the kids for years, now it's your turn!”
Husband says: “I'm going out; I worked for 20 years, like a slave and I need some time off NOW!”
Wife says: “How can I start my new business and watch the kids?”
Husband says: “That's your problem, like everything used to be my problem!”
Wife says: “Honey, I want to finish my expense report tonight and be reimbursed. I would have to stay at the office until 10 p.m. ; would you be willing to watch the kids so that I can do that?”
Husband says: “I watched the kids for years, now it's your turn!”
Wife says: “I imagine that you feel angry and your need for appreciation has never been met.”
Husband says: “You finally get it; where were you when I needed some help?”
Wife says: “You sound frustrated that you didn't have the support you needed.
Husband says: “Yeah; you bet”
Wife says: “Are you frustrated that you didn't receive respect for all the years you paid for everything”
Husband says: “Yes”.
Wife says: “What can I do right now that would express appreciation and respect, dear?”
Husband says: “You could say, ‘thank you'”
Wife says: “Thank you, dear, for all the love and support you have given me and the children for the last 10 years.”
Husband says: “You're welcome!”
Wife says: “Is there anything else?”
Husband says: “No”
Wife says: “Would you be willing to hear something from me?”
Husband says: “Sure”
Wife says: “I really want to help with the finances because we need to pay this month's bills. I want to make my business a success to share the responsibilities for our income. Would you tell me what you heard me say?
Husband says: “Yeah, you want to help with the bills and to make your business successful to help financially.”
Wife says: “Thank you, that's it. May I make a request of you?”
Husband says: “Sure”
Wife says: “I could stay at the office tonight until I've finished the expense report if we could figure out a way to have someone watch the kids. Can you think of a solution?”
Husband says: “Sure, my parents are home tonight and they'd love to have the kids; I'll call and can you drop them off there?”
Wife says: “Honey, I really appreciate it; that would be great! Thank you!”
The process of Marital Mediation is based on the principles of Nonviolent Communication(SM), Standard Mediation Training, Herrmann Brain Dominance™, and The Work of Byron Katie; sessions are relationship-specific.
Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum