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Hearthrob - the case for mediation on Valentine's Day
Here we are with another Valentine's Day.... and how it warms the heart to see the young get all worked up about it, buying each other cards and blowing up balloons for the party.... Aah..... It's been a long time since it registered on the Richter scale for me and probably for many others of my age. But the truth is that as the years go by, relationships change, and for some, they deteriorate.
Here to help.
This is where mediation could make such a difference, and I'm glad to see the Government making sure that mediation is higher on the agenda than it has been for some years. I wonder how much of the conflict we experience in long term relationships could be averted if not completely, then at least in part, if mediation were used more often?
It's certainly the case that organisations like "Relate" and the concept of counselling have become more popular in latter years, but it could make all the difference to have more of a natural recourse to mediation when things take a turn for the worse, or better still, before they take any turn at all.
Don't tell the Bride
You may be familiar with a TV programme "Don't tell the Bride". This charts the progress of the poor groom organising his own wedding without the involvement of his loved one. On many occasions, - not all but many - we witness the shrill exclamations of a disappointed Diva-bride levelling all kinds of insults and deprecations in the direction of their lovelorn sweethearts if they dare to get the dress, the shoes, the table decorations, the flowers, the rings, the bridesmaids dresses or the venue wrong. Terrifying.
What seems sadly obvious to me, and perhaps to you too, is that relationships have nothing to do with the dress, the shoes, the table decorations, the colour scheme, the venue or any-thing else. Whether or not the relationship survives, depends on tolerance, understanding, compassion, empathy and last of all but by no means least, kindness. Without these key things, (you know, the ones you can't buy in the shops), no relationship can stand the test of time without major fault-lines showing up as soon as the slightest tremor occurs in the inevitable clash of personalities.
Mediation: a new beginning
Mediation shouldn't be something that couples are referred to when things go pear-shaped after the wedding, but could be routinely sought before the big day. When things go wrong in our day to day life, we often fall back on people with listening skills - a role that would once have been fulfilled by the local priest, or just close members of the family that used to live in close proximity. Now our families are often far-flung and our societies are based on a much-reduced idea of community.
But mediation is something we can all have recourse to and it really helps to have someone just listen. This appears to be the key thing for couples and for individuals struggling to cope with the complexity of modern life and the relationships that go with it. I guess the message I would want to put out there for Valentine's day is that there's a way through all the complexity of relationships - if we have the courage to ask for help to get through it. After all, wouldn't it be nice.....