relationship-mediationAt the end of 2010 the decision was made to completely dedicate Bridal Tribe to Love. Since then I find myself in daily conversations about what love is, how do you find it, how will you know it, how does it work, how long does it last and so on. Some of these questions were asked by me while others were asked of me. Types of Love discussed were Young Love, Puppy Love, Love at First Sight and Mature Love. The one Love that everyone seems to want to participate in is a Mature Love.

This lead to listening to different opinions of what Mature Love is and somewhere mixed up in all those answers was an answer. People are not always mature all of the time, and what happens when both people in a Love relationship are not being mature at the same time? Someone gets hurt, goes into attack and defend mode, while the other knowingly or unknowingly keeps pulling emotional triggers. Sometimes it spills over onto friends and family and things really get messy.couple-relationship

On the way to being in a great Love relationship maturity levels can rise and fall and without a good support system we abandon the reality of true mature love just to start the journey over again. So the question becomes How does one manage the challenges that appear on a Love journey? I turned to my friend and mediator Bathabile K. S. Mthombeni, J.D. for answers.  Here is peek into our conversation.

What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process that allows people who are in conflict to talk through the issues, be heard, understand the differences between positions, needs, and interests and also separate intent from impact.

In Mediation how do you guide the participants to a resolution?
When people have arguments they tend to state positions and one way to understand positions is to think of them as demands. When a person in an argument states a demand and states it forcefully it puts the other person on the defensive. Now the interaction is not about negotiating a solution, it is a disagreement/argument over who’s wrong
and who’s right. To circumvent that you ask: why is this position so important to you and what need will it serve? The answer to the question Why? is very crucial to someone finding the mental space to be able to let go of the anger and focus on addressing their needs and their interests.

Is Mediation the same as seeing a therapist?

Mediation is not therapy but it can be a therapeutic experience. In mediation people often discover that it isn't the thing they’re arguing over that is so important, what they really are seeking is recognition and acknowledgement.
Hearing that a person recognizes the part they played in the conflict and also acknowledge the impact on you is important.

talking-things-outWould you consider that outcome a success?
Success is an interesting concept in mediation because different mediators determine success differently. I look at success as being about a useful process. Did I do my best job to make the process as useful to the parties as possible? For me, a mediation is successful if the parties have had the best opportunity possible to sort through the issues and decide what works for them. The parties are responsible for the outcome.

I never seek to give answers but to help my clients understand that they are the answer. The answer is in you but it’s all tangled up in the emotions that come from misconceptions and assumptions about intent. My role is to unravel a situation that seems to be knotted up. I help my clients to understand the differences between an assumption, a belief, and what is known. I also help them to understand what is possible, what works for them and
what might end up blowing up in their faces. I teach them skills to pull all of those things apart and examine them
systematically and ask, “Is this actually working for you?” And nobody is qualified to know what works for you
except you.When you put everyone’s interests and needs on the table then you are able to find creative ways to resolve the issue.

I walked away from this conversation reaffirmed that good communication and listening skills are major components of mature love; that mediation is not a new concept or trend, and nether is true love. Love is the foundation of all things. It is not a trend, but the reality of our future.

Bathabile Mthombeni


Bathabile Mthombeni, JD is an Expert mediator, negotiator, facilitator and conflict management consultant enabling clients to create customized resolutions to systemic challenges. Find out more about her services at

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