Tolucan Times February 26, 2004
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 What is Marriage Mediation©? This combines “How to Avoid Divorce Training” and traditional mediation. For the first time in marriage, mediation is being used not as a tool for divorce but as the path to reconciliation. Marriage Mediation© allows each partner to explore his and her feelings and needs so that a strategy can be created that will work for both partners and for the entire family.

Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Nonviolent Communication™ says, “ Once both partner's feelings and needs have been expressed and heard, a solution will find them within twenty minutes.”

 A new client called to discuss her divorce options. After discussing potential changes in finance, parenting, socializing and sex, she understood that her concept of divorce was unrealistic.

“Question: At least half of the people who ever get married will end up facing divorce. Anything that fails fifty percent of the time must be fundamentally flawed. What's fundamentally wrong with marriage today?

Response: What's so interesting about marriage in our culture is that people, except for the past few years, have never had the idea that it's optional. And so they thought they had to get married. Marriage without unconditional love for the self and the partner will never work. What works is when you understand who you are, you understand what your needs are, you pick a partner whose needs meet yours and vice versa, and then you create a relationship based on the truth.

Question: How can people divorce-proof their relationships?

Response: There are three major causes of divorce. The first cause is a marriage without Unconditional Love for the partner. The second cause is misunderstanding what love is and love is not. When a partner reaches the 6 th Stage of Love, Vulnerability, as identified by Frank Zizzo, Ph.D., the tendency is to panic, back away and reclaim independence. When partners learn the 7 Stages of Love, then this automatic reaction can be prevented by noticing feelings as they arise and discussing them with one another or through coaching. The third cause is the inability to speak your partner's language. This will also impact one's ability to listen to what the partner is needing and wanting and often causes each partner to drift into self-criticism and criticism of the Other. “from an interview February 7 th with Mimi Stoneburner, on “Body Talk” AM Radio 1450 KTIP

Marriage Mediation follows the same basic principles as traditional mediation:

  1. Each participant makes an Initial Statement
  2. Both partners agree on the Agenda
  3. The Areas of Conflict are identified
  4. Potential Strategies are considered
  5. Negotiation begins
  6. Agreement is reached

Dear Divorce Coach,

I have been married 24 years, three children. Husband has a salary close to $90K. I am unemployed at the moment, looking for a full time job with benefits. Through our marriage, I was home 18 years as a house wife. We have a sizable amount of equity in a house valued at $470K. For me to move and rent, the cost would be much higher, we have a high school student, in special ed; with 1 1/2 years left to graduate. I need to stay here for 1-3 years, and then sell our house. My husband wants his Money from the house NOW!! Would a judge/law consider children's best interests?

Homing Pigeon Mom


Dear Homing,

  1. A judge is primarily interested in getting all cases in and out of court. Divorce requires division of property unless you mediate and learn how to negotiate with your husband. As a divorce mediator myself, I teach skills in listening and speaking LONG BEFORE you find yourself before a judge. I teach Nonviolent Communication™ as the basis of peaceful divorce.
  2. You may negotiate to stay in the house but doubt if 1-3 yrs. could be negotiated. Instead, you could move to a local apartment.
  3. It sounds to me as if you may enjoy one of my free phone coaching sessions to discuss all your options. Let me know if you wish it.
  4. Since your husband has expressed financial concerns, do know that Mediation has saved couples hundreds of thousands of dollars in contested divorces. In your area, we refer to Deanie Kramer and Divorce Resource for divorce mediation.

Sincerely yours,
Susan Allan
Ask The Divorce Coach

How is mediation different when the goal is peaceful reconnection instead of a division of property and children? What is the expected outcome of divorce that has made it a useful strategy to consider?

In “mid-life divorce” also called “gray divorces” older couples may decide to divorce when one or both blame the marriage for loss of financial security. However, the strain of paying for two households can further deteriorate cash flow.  For families with children, who have been together for years and have forgotten what living alone entails, separation and shared custody may create emotional havoc. With a long history of shared responsibilities and benefits, juggling everything with only one pair of hands, will require learning circus skills. Thus a “gray divorce” rarely provides the result each partner expects unless there is a replacement partner waiting for at least one of them.

If you wish to discuss Marriage Mediation©, please contact our office for a free consultation.

For 101 Divorce Survival Secrets, and free E-zine, visit . For one hour of free, private telephone coaching, contact






Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™