Hi! My name is Mordechai Rhine. I grew up in Monsey, NY, a delightful suburban community in New York State. Like many of us, I took marriage for granted. We date, we marry, we have kids, and we parent them. So simple it seemed, until things don’t go so simply.
I started my career as a community Rabbi and served in that capacity for over two decades. I got to see people in their personal struggles and triumphs, in adversity and in joy. On one particular occasion, when supporting a couple who was divorcing, I was introduced to the framework of mediation. I decided to find out more and discovered a style for conflict resolution that was grounded in principles that I had studied and taught all my life. Validating the past, yet focusing on the future, was a principle that I lived with. I had witnessed it as a truism to success in the people I had guided for many years. Shifting the focus from the initial ask, to uncover what people’s interests really are, is a gift of personal discovery that a mediator assists with regularly when trying to discover common ground between the parties.
In 2016 I began training in the field of mediation and found the family focused training to be focused mostly on divorce. Indeed, seeking to achieve an amicable divorce is monumental. To work with couples who are separating after being so close and help them to reconfigure their relationships to successfully parent their children from separate homes, is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. When successful, the amicable divorce enables men, women, and children to move forward in life from a challenging situation, to a bright and supported future.
What interested me most though was a comment that a few mediators shared with me. They told me that a third of the couples that came to them for divorce, reconsidered after they were introduced to healthier communication styles. Many were able to reenter the marriage, engage each other and problem solve in healthier ways, and create a pleasant, if not truly blissful marriage as a result. I was truly intrigued by this and proceeded to expand my research and training to focus on in-marriage mediation.
Today, most of my clients are focused on saving their marriage, and I have adapted a number of key mediation principles to assist couples in understanding themselves and their spouses, in healing, and in building healthier marriages.
One of the great myths about professional mediation is that people think we just identify the area of disagreement and divide that in half. True mediation is far more profound and creative. When we practice mediation professionally, we look for interests and understanding such that we come to recognize how different issues are interrelated. We strive to discover how the topics, personalities, and situations fit together like puzzle pieces and we are able to produce solutions that are respected as win-win.
Mediation is a journey. As a profession it is an ever evolving and improving model to bring difficult relationship situations to resolution. It is also a personal journey for the participants. It is a process of discovering depth of feeling and of practical solutions that can work for you. For me as a mediator it is a journey of creativity to discover each person’s needs and how the participants can be sensitive to each other and (re)build a loving life together or separately, if need be. Moments of admiration are frequent for me as I take note of the effort, progress, and clarity that each person achieves in the process.
The field of mediation charts a path between the legal realities that lawyers typically focus on, and the world of emotions that therapists typically focus on. I have found that by following this middle path that allows for critical thinking as well as deep emotions, very real and meaningful solutions emerge. True resolutions can be found even for fallout in the most treasured and close relationship of husband and wife. That in a nutshell is why I really value marriage mediation.
CARE Marriage Mediation Process
What to expect if you would like to work on your marriage and take it to a loving, nurturing place.
Caucus (30 minutes) – I prefer to make separate appointments for husband and wife by phone or zoom to properly understand what issues you are dealing with. Sometimes it is more appropriate for me to proceed right away and meet jointly with husband and wife.
Joint sessions (90-120 minutes) – Five steps to explore issues, develop effective tools, and share critical perspectives to help move your relationship to a loving and happy place.
Step 1- Each of you gets the opportunity to say your story.
Whether you are dealing with communication issues or relationship issues, this process can pave the way for healthy dialogue and a loving relationship. We work together to identify issues and proceed to address them with care and sensitivity. One of my favorite books relating to this stage is Richard Calson’s You Can Feel Good Again.
Step 2- I invite each of you to present 3 things that you would like improved by your spouse, and 2 things that you feel you can work on to improve the marriage.
In session we explore why you feel these 5 items are important to your relationship and to your marriage. I advise people to start with one small step of improvement in each area. One of my favorite books relating to this stage is James Clear’s Atomic Habits.
Step 3- What is Your Love Language?
Sometimes couples seem to be devoted to each other but feel terribly disconnected. In this step we explore what fills your love tank and what depletes it. You and your spouse will have an opportunity to understand your own love communications language, and what communications are valued by your spouse. One of my favorite books relating to this stage is Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages.
Step 4- Learning the Art of Loving Conversations
When husbands and wives deal with difficult situations they will often slip into doses of contempt and defensiveness. Some simple changes in technique and presentation can help your spouse hear your concerns and enable you both to stay in problem solving mode, and on the same team. When you gain expertise in this area you will find that difficult conversations can actually be endearing (with a touch of humor) as you act as best friends. You both recognize that your love is greater than the issue at hand, and you can resolve issues together. One of my favorite books relating to this stage is John Gottman’s The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.
Step 5- The Path Forward
Conversations are the key to resolving issues and building a loving home. When you and your spouse develop the mutual ability to talk things through you have the keys to happiness and serenity. In this step we discuss what it takes to feel secure and safe in the relationship so that you can have open conversation with your spouse. You will learn the power of “leaning in” instead of “leaning out” when you have a concern in the relationship. One of my favorite books relating to this stage is Crucial Conversations (Patterson, Greeny, McMillain, Switzler).
It is important to me that our sessions be as effective as possible. I encourage you to fill out authorizations to any therapists and mentors that you have, to be allowed to speak and collaborate with me. With your permission we can create a team to help you. I look forward to assisting you on your journey to a happy and nurturing marriage.
Certified Mediator, Mediate.com (2021)
Coaching Mentorship Training by GYE (2021)
Masters in Educational Leadership, Bellevue University (2012)
Masters of Rabbinic and Talmudic Studies, Beth Medrash Gevoha (1996)
Feel free to contact us for a free phone consultation.
We also offer coaching to help you through difficult relationship situations, and empower you to put your best foot forward to a bright future. Typically these are 30-40 minute sessions at a rate of $99.