We are here to improve our relationships with others
in order to transform the Jewish people in these urgent times.
Find an Objective Mediator
Objective mediators might help you interact better with someone with whom you find communication difficult. A competent mediator will be able to keep all parties in calmer states. A competent mediator will be able to clarify each person’s position. A competent mediator will make editorial suggestions to delete inflammatory remarks and at times explain how to be clearer by being more concise. A competent mediator will be able to clarify misconceptions and errors.
In the presence of a third party both individuals agree to, they will usually be more reasonable. They will usually talk more respectfully, or at least more calmly. And if emotions do flare up, by listening and understanding the mediator creates a more constructive atmosphere.
Mediators can differ in their approach. Some are more authoritative and might tell one side they are right and the other side that they are wrong. When both sides accept the authority of the person they consult, they will resolve the issues between them. Other mediators view their mandate more as a coach than a judge. They coach both sides so that a working relationship is created for the mutual benefit of both sides. If you feel that you can benefit from a mediator, find someone whose approach and style is acceptable to everyone involved.
(Reproduced from "Harmony" by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, with permission of the copyright holders,
ArtScroll / Mesorah Publications, Ltd.)
Story: (based on a true story)
I had always imagined that marriage would be really easy for me. I come from a warm and nurturing home and don’t have a particularly difficult personality. My parents rarely argued and when they did it was with a slight sense of humor and there were no bad feelings lingering in the air afterwards.
My husband on the other hand grew up in what he would call a “loud” home. Expression was valued at whatever volume was needed and confrontation was the mode of communication. He also feels he was raised in a happy atmosphere albeit quite different than mine. When we were dating, probably the idea of “opposites attract” played a major role in our interest for each other. Soon after our marriage began, our differences became extremely magnified. I was used to calm and he was used to loud. I preferred to mull over issues, he liked to deal with things right away. I respected privacy, he respected transparency. One couldn’t say that one life view was right or wrong, just different.
When we were engaged, one point that my kalla teacher stressed was the crucial role a Rav should play in our lives. Having someone who knew both of us and whom we both respected could act as mediator when we came to a dead end in discussing heated topics that we weren’t able to solve on our own. We discussed the idea and agreed and decided our Rav would be someone we were both close with. Within one month of our wedding we had an issue we needed help with and several to follow. This isn’t to say that we call him for any little argument but when we seem to hit a brick wall with a major problem, our Rav is there to help iron out the issues and seek a solution that we’re both comfortable with or at least will respect even if we don’t agree. I can honestly say that if we didn’t have this Rav as a mediator in our lives, I’m not sure we would have the solid marriage that we have or even if we would still be married! It’s not always easy allowing an “outsider” in on the troubles we experience but when it comes to keeping peace in our home, no emotional price (or financial for that matter) is too high.
What type of person would fill the role of mediator the best?
Are there some issues that should not be discussed with anyone?
How does one go about finding a mediator if one is needed?
Stretch of the Week:
Consult with a third party on an ongoing issue that doesn’t seem to be getting resolved on its own.