Our fun-loving #DCLG team has been buzzing today about that cute dress that’s been trending in social media. I had one lawyer in my office who saw a green dress and another who saw a gold one. It brings up one of my favorite adages: “All stories are true”.
I used that adage in my law school application, back in the day, and I’m still using it today. Because at a fundamental level, the ability to be able to hold your own point of view as well as the divergent (or even polar opposite) viewpoint of another person is a cornerstone of being human. Like a muscle, with practice and training, this skill can become an enormous source of strength and power as you catapult through life.
Agreeing to Disagree
There are many situations where we’ve all had to “agree to disagree”. For example, hanging out with my brother who is not a Russell Wilson fan comes to mind. (I mean, how is that even possible? The guy visits sick children in the hospital for Pete’s sake!) My point is, there are times when it’s easy to hold a competing contrasting perspective. And, sometimes, it’s not so easy. We are all called upon to carry this dissonance in various aspects of life, with our parents, siblings, and co-workers.
And Then There’s Divorce
Divorce is a different story. No matter how good or how bad a relationship seems, expecting a couple in the midst of divorce to hold this dissonance for one another is fairly unrealistic. When a couple has been together a long time (married or unmarried), chances are that they have developed many nonverbal ways of communicating their enchantment or disenchantment with one another. Whether the couple hates each other or whether they are friends, the process of uncoupling is inherently unsettling.
The Mediation Option
So, if you’re one of those couples who is needing to part at this stage of life, why do it alone? Mediation is a shared-cost solution that offers both parties the support of a neutral professional to reality-check those nonverbal cues. The mediator can help the parties talk about things that may have been taboo in the marriage. Through the free exchange of financial data, the mediator can help offer and facilitate strategic solutions. Generally, mediation offers a safe place to soothe fears and create agreements that can help the couple in moving on. Because, we can all agree that – regardless of the color – it is definitely a dress.