Marital Mediation for Newlyweds: Creating a Solid Foundation

Lasting marriages take effort and commitment. Many couples enter marriage without a clear vision of what happensonce the wedding is over. High newlywed divorce rates show that too many couples are unprepared for married life. On average, 1-in-12 marriages will not last past the newlywed stage. It is important for couples to begin working on making marriage a success from the beginning.

Studies show that the first few years of marriage are critical to a couple’s long term success. The newlywed stage is the foundation of a marriage. It is when spouses define their identity as a couple– what’s important, how conflict is handled, and family values. This marital identity will influence what happens during the course of the marriage and how spouses behave.

All marriages go through cycles. The early “honeymoon phase” is full of excitement and optimism for the future together. Couples spend this time making plans and exploring what they want out of the marriage. After being married between six and twelve months, reality starts to set in for most couples. Grand plans are traded for daily responsibilities. Bad habits and differences of opinion start to become more apparent. By the end of the first year of marriage, many couples begin to experience conflict. Once conflict begins, couples need to develop communication skills and coping strategies together.

While the exact time frame will vary among couples, this pattern is typical for newlyweds. Couples who were in a relationship for a long time or lived together before marriage are not immune. Marriage involves the assumption of a new role and responsibilities, and this typically requires change and growth. Marital mediation is one way to help newlyweds through this process.

The transition from single life to married life is a challenging but important stage in a relationship. A couple’s ability to successfully overcome early challenges determines whether the marriage will last. Spouses who can communicate well and work together to develop mutually acceptable solutions to problems make a solid foundation for their marriage. Couples who cannot effectively resolve and deal with conflict are more likely to break up.  Marital mediation can help couples to create a healthy identity and solid foundation for the future.

The difficultly newlyweds face is in combining the wants, desires, and opinions of two people in a cohesive fashion. Each person enters a marriage with certain assumptions about roles, life expectations, and beliefs. Spouses may have different priorities and different ways of approaching problems. Through marital mediation, couples can design ways to recognize and satisfy each other’s individual dreams while moving towards the same vision of the future.

Daily decisions can also be a source of stress in a new marriage. All couples must devise a plan about how to handle finances, allocate chores, and spend free time. Habits and traditions may need to be modified; for example, whose family to visit on the holidays. Usually, things do not fall into place without couples specifically working together to find common ground. Marital mediation assists couples in this transition to joint decision making.

Marital mediation can help newlyweds address expectations and create a unified plan. This goal-oriented style of problem solving is perfect for newlyweds. Spouses can develop their marital identity, identify relationship stressors, and learn communication and conflict resolution strategies. It is a practical to approach challenges since the couples stays focused on the future. With marital mediation, couples can develop the skills needed to stay together through life’s big challenges.

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One Comment

  1. Max Rivers
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    I LOVE working with newly weds. I have one couple who is working with me just to learn the skills of NVC (Non-Violent Communication) even tho they don’t have issues yet.

    The first thing I teach them is Appreciations. Research shows that the best indicator of a successful marriage is how many appreciations couples give each other. NVC appreciations have three parts:
      1) Observation: state what you liked that they did or said;
      2) Feeling: say how it made you feel
      3) Need: say what need of yours their actions met.

    This formula creates instant intimacy because it lets your partner know how their actions effect you. AND it teaches them what works for you, so in the future, they will know how to satisfy you. So you get instant intimacy, and you’re basically training your partner in how to meet your needs!

    And it makes the marriage stronger.