Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mediators as Love Coaches?

Valentines Day approaches and my thoughts are drifting to love. Well, mostly to the down side of love. Lots of song titles come to mind like:

Love Stinks
Torn Between to Lovers
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

You see where I'm going. The course of true love- or any love for that matter- is not smooth. I'm wondering if us mediators- skillful communicators and keen observers that we are-can calm the 'sea of love'.

Now, I'm not sure how this would work, or even if it could , but I can imagine a mediation practice that helps couples to:

  • create habitation agreements that divvy up household chores
  • articulate their thoughts and expectations around childbearing and rearing
  • explore what level of honesty they want in their relationship

This last item really intrigues me. I have a theory about honesty...I think it's very difficult to negotiate with your partner about what honesty actually means. There's so much baggage around that word maybe relationships would be stronger if there was a way to explore it without the stigma of counseling.

Let me give you the example that started this thinking. In the recent movie 'Friends With Money', the husband tells his wife that her rear is getting big, to which she takes offense. He responds that as her husband, and because he loves her, it's his job to tell her things that are true, albeit hurtful. She vehemently disagrees, countering that as his wife her job is not to hurt his feelings. What relationship hasn't been through this loop?

This may be an item for a 'Take This Idea, Please' post. Let me know if you think I've been hit by a 2 x 4 instead of Cupid's arrow!

Try. Fail. Learn. Love!




At 5:28 AM, Anonymous Liara Covert said...

Your post reminds me of why books like John Gray's "Men are from Mars & Women are from Venus" have become best-sellers. Your own experience may reveal that men and women have different priorities. Women and men sometimes perceive the same messages as having very different meanings.

Studies indicate that women are more sensitive than men to the meanings "between the lines" in messages they exchange with their partners. Social expectation often makes women responsible for gaging intimacy. Thus, women are more attentive than men to the real underlying meanings in direct comments. Men are more sensitive to "between the lines meanings" because of status. For men, social expectations imply they must relate hierarchy, or who's has dominant role and more passive one. Criticizing a mate "honestly" enables men to feel bigger or in control when really, they often make such comments out of their insecurity. A woman may keep views of negative traits about her partner to herself because she is projecting the treatement she would herself desire. Relationships are not as scientific as business mediation. However, a degree of insight into human psychology can be useful in both spheres.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Dina Lynch, ADRPracticeBuilder.com said...

Liara, thanks for your insights.

Funny, I wouldn't say workplace or commerical mediation is scientific. Of course, the issues get cloaked in rationality, but I think emotion and identify are at the heart of most conflicts.

Best, Dina


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