Often the "bread winner" states "with bewilderment this was the arranged when we married and i have worked hard at doing my part." The other says," I do my part too, for the family, and I don't want to be in this position anymore."
As the process promotes civility and cooperation in the task-orientation focus, a number of my clients have stated," if only we had functioned in this way before, we wouldn't be in place now."
There have been some couples who have called a halt to the process and have tried to "work out their marriage", often with the help of their therapist. Many contact me down the road to resume mediation.
There are couples that find that even in mediation they can't get past their differences and choose to then go through the adversarial process.
In rare instances I have asked permission to briefly step over the bounds of mediation to get them over a hurdle by interpreting what I view as underlying issues they are struggling with. This has been effective. Solutions are at times creative. One of my favorites was a solution to provide housing for the parents and five adolescents. They owned a house, but had a modest income. He was depressed, but would do all that he could to help with the house, wife and their children. They lived somewhat near water and dreamed of owning a boat that slept six. Solution; Home equity the house, purchase the boat. Housing was provided for all. he lived on the boat. His dream was realized. The youngsters loved it. Mediation was successful.
There was a time that along the process, a couple asked me to switch gears and mediate an "Agreement for Reconciliation". I agreed. They first wrote a list of things they didn't want. I had them combine and rewrite the list to "what we will do." The result was a list of thirteen items that they would follow, and it worked.
The majority of couples complete the mediation process toward separation or divorce. At the end of the process frequently I get a strong thank you from each. This, of course gives me a sense of satisfaction.