Case Study: Early marriage struggles and marital mediation

Mark and Jane got married eight years ago. They have two young children. Their initial love and attraction has turned into constant bickering and argument. They now realize how different they are from each other. Every interchange seems to be a battle and is affecting every aspect of their lives. They wonder what happened to the love and affection they felt towards each other at the beginning of their relationship.

They have been arguing about money, and how to spend it. Mark thinks his hard work is not appreciated. Jane feels overburdened with taking care of the children, her part-time work and taking care of the most of household duties. They each feel the other is not contributing enough.

They do not want to give up on their marriage, and have heard that mediation can be effective in working through the practical problems they face. They hope by learning to appreciate each other’s efforts their love for each other will start to grow again. They have tried individual therapy, marital counseling, and group therapy, without results.

The first few years of a marriage are a very intense period of adjustment. It’s very common for the couple to learn differences about each other and encounter extreme bouts of negativity that they never imagined possible. A newly married couple (and any married couple, for that matter) should try anything at their disposal. Sometimes marriage counseling does not work. It does not mean that the marriage is over or that the counseling was insufficient or even that marriage counseling may not work at a future time. Couples need to try different things at different times in order to break the log jam of disillusionment.

Marital Mediation or other professional support may help break the impasse. The mediator will explain to Mark and Jane that, just like a new hobby, learning how to be married is a learnable skill. The mediator will teach them conflict resolution skills that they can begin to practice at home. Things can improve at home, and Mark and Jane can continue to work on (and enjoy) their marriage. They might even try counseling again (perhaps with a different therapist), and may find that they are ready to gain insight from it.

This case study is fictional and does not represent any real person.

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