The Value Of A Symbolic Commitment

Our daughter became engaged to be married last night. Although the groom to be has been a steady boyfriend for over two years and we were all pretty certain he was “the one”, the symbolic commitment that accompanied the diamond ring on her finger was/is HUGE! It occurred to me that when I mediate cases to a settlement, the signing ritual, the handshake, the acceptance of the “proposal” is more than a mere gesture. It also symbolizes a commitment to conform with the legal constraints that go beyond the casual promise or mutual assumptions. Until our daughter’s boyfriend put a ring on her finger last night, his words of commitment could have been interpreted as temporal, happy for the moment, maybe even non-committal. Now, his intent is clear, he’s invested in the process, and would have a much harder time reneging on his promise to marry next year than he would without the ring, ritual and public announcement. Next time you’re tempted to leave a mediation based upon a handshake, think again. The symbols of commitment to a future agreement can mean a great deal in love and law!

                        author

Jan Frankel Schau

Attorney Jan Frankel Schau is a highly skilled neutral, engaged in full-time dispute resolution. Following a successful career spanning two decades in litigation, she has mediated over 700 cases for satisfied clients. Ms. Schau understands the nuances of trial and settlement practice as well as client relations and balancing the… MORE >

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