Marriage Mediation: Mediation to Stay Married

By Equitable Mediation

Equitable Mediation Verified

Original Publish Date: July 19, 2021

Last updated: June 12, 2024


Whether it’s parenting struggles, managing finances or handling of money, digital-age issues, career conflicts or job relocation, sharing of household responsibilities, or general communication patterns...

You’re just not on the same page.

It seems you either avoid discussing these issues, or when you try to, it leads to endless cycles of heated arguments, where neither of you feels heard, and nothing is resolved.

Leaving you both feeling angry, frustrated, and disconnected, while your marriage continues to deteriorate.

If this sounds familiar, perhaps you've thought to see a couples counselor.

Smart move!

But what if your spouse just won't agree to go because they don't believe in it, think it'll work, or want to "be in therapy?"


The two of you have been going to counseling, but after months, years, or multiple therapists, there's been no progress or resolution in sight.

Making you wonder if you're headed for divorce, or doomed to spend the rest of your life unhappily married!

You love your partner and want to make it work. But you just feel like you're out of options and don't know where to go from here...

What is Marriage Mediation?

Marriage Mediation is a non-adversarial, voluntary, practical, future-focused, and solutions-oriented approach to resolving marital conflict.

It’s designed for couples who are experiencing marriage problems, and would prefer to stay together, increase happiness in their relationship, and avoid divorce.

The couple works with third-party, neutral marriage mediators who use dispute resolution techniques to help them resolve their typical, but solvable marital problems in a constructive way. While teaching them skills to enable them to problem solve their own solutions to any conflicts that arise in the future.

Whether a couple needs to resolve a specific marital issue or simply wants to increase their overall relationship satisfaction, the goal of marital mediation is to help them remain married and become happily married again.



If you're like most people, you think mediation is only used by couples who want to end their marriage. But some mediators can also help willing spouses identify, negotiate, and resolve the issues between them, to save their marriage.

There are common issues and recurring conflicts in a marriage, that when left unresolved, can lead to divorce. But learning how to deal with conflict in a productive way - can bring a couple together and strengthen their relationship, instead of driving them apart.

We believe that if more couples were equipped with the tools and skills to communicate more effectively, understand where the other is coming from, negotiate, and work together to resolve their conflicts, there would be many more happy marriages and fewer divorces!

And that’s what marriage mediation is all about!

So, if you are both committed to your marriage, marital mediation might be just what you need to get back on track!

- Joe Dillon and Cheryl Dillon, Relationship Experts



What marital issues can be resolved with the help of a Marriage Mediator?

There are many marital issues that can be resolved with the help of a marriage mediator. These issues will vary in complexity based on a couple's unique situation and may include, but is not limited to:

  • Parenting styles / roles and responsibilities;
  • General household financial management such as budgeting / spending habits / bill payment;
  • Responsibilities for household chores / upkeep;
  • Asset acquisition, and ownership modification;
  • Debt acquisition, consolidation, and responsibility;
  • Relocation for personal or professional reasons;
  • Work-life balance and technology use;
  • Holidays and other extended family issues.

Marriage mediation services are designed to resolve a variety of conflicts and marital disputes.

Most anything causing friction in a marriage can usually be resolved in marriage mediation if the parties (both spouses) are committed to the process, and are willing to negotiate and abide by an agreement they create with the help of the marriage mediator(s).



Is Marriage Mediation the same thing as Marriage Counseling?

No! Marriage Mediation is not the same as marriage counseling.

  • Marriage counseling is practiced by a mental health professional who uses therapeutic analysis and insights.
  • Marital mediation is conducted by a mediator who uses conflict resolution techniques.



How does the Marital Mediation Process work?

Each marriage mediator will have his/her own approach, style and process. But the marital mediation process commonly begins with an initial strategy session to identify and set goals for the specific marital problems and issues a couple wants to resolve.

In subsequent meetings, a skilled mediator will:

  • Actively guide you and your spouse through a series of facilitated discussions surrounding all the previously identified issues to be resolved;
  • Use a variety of techniques during your mediation sessions to help you and your spouse better communicate, understand each other's interests, and negotiate the areas of conflict and marital difficulties;
  • Formulate ideas, brainstorm options, and work with you to develop mutually-agreeable, concrete, actionable solutions;
  • Teach you skills to enable you to problem solve your own solutions to any new conflicts that arise in the future;
  • Once mediated agreements are reached, the mediator will draft a document called a Memorandum of Understanding which outlines what you and your spouse have agreed to. The MOU can be used to remind you of your agreements, guide your actions moving forward, and if you desire and depending on the type of issues resolved, be used to create a binding agreement between you (with the assistance of attorneys).
  • Follow-up / maintenance sessions may also be held as check-ins to ensure each of you are continuing to uphold your end of the agreements you made.



How long does Marital Mediation take?

A marital conflict resolution process can vary in duration, depending on the number and complexity of the issues, and the willingness of the parties to actively participate, negotiate and come to agreement.

But overall, marriage mediation is designed to be short-term, future-focused and solutions-oriented!



What if we are currently seeing a marriage counselor?

Marital Mediation is not and cannot take the place of counseling obtained from a licensed therapist or mental health provider and some couples find it helpful to engage in both marriage counseling and marital mediation simultaneously.

That being said, sometimes, a wife or husband refuses marriage counseling, but is still willing to work on the relationship.

So marriage mediation can be a good option for how to fix a broken marriage without counseling.



Are there circumstances when Marriage Mediation is not appropriate?

Marriage mediation services are not appropriate if:

  • Your marriage has issues with domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, or infidelity.
  • One party wants to save the marriage, but the other party wants to divorce.
  • One or both parties are unwilling to engage in a good faith negotiation, for which full disclosure and transparency is required.

It’s not uncommon if you've been struggling in a bad marriage for years.

But it doesn't need to continue.

Marriage mediation may help you resolve your recurring conflicts, break your destructive cycles, and teach you cooperative problem-resolution. So you have new ways of interacting - and can work together and get better results moving forward!

To get your marriage back on track!


Other Useful Resources:

Equitable Mediation

Written by Equitable Mediation

We are divorce specialists - a husband and wife, divorce mediator and divorce coach, with more than three decades of combined experience helping families avoid the destruction of lawyer-driven litigation. Our comprehensive, flat-fee mediation services are the ideal solution, enabling couples to have a fair, child-focused, and amicable divorce! Divorce isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be a disaster. Let us help!