Last week Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced that they were consciously uncoupling and since then the media has been churning out articles on the pros and cons of such a thing.
Gwyneth Paltrow seems to be a polarizing person - you either love her or hate her. Personally I have never thought too much about her but I found this concept of "conscious uncoupling" intriguing....... but from a slightly different perspective.
What if we "consciously coupled"?
What if we decided, on a conscious level, to commit, wholeheartedly, to our relationship, for better or worse ( see what I did there? I quoted the marriage vows)?
I can hear you already; Isn't that what we already do when we decide to get married? What is this woman talking about?
The truth is a lot of us think that this is what we are doing when we choose to marry our significant other but if we were truly honest with our selves we would realize that it is not actually the case.
We might actually be feeling pressured to marry because all our friends are doing it so surely it must be our turn? Or our parents are exerting a certain amount of pressure because you've reached a certain age and "when are we getting grandchildren?" starts being mentioned regularly.
It might not even be marriage, it might just be moving in together because (a) you will save on rent (b) you are tired of leaving stuff at his place (c) you already spend so much time together so you might as well.
At the same time we have in the back of our minds the "escape clause"; if it doesn't work out we can always get a divorce/break up. And I have to say in our disposable world that we currently live in, tossing a relationship is an all too common occurrence.
I am not saying all relationships can or should be saved. In this recent Mind Body Green article the author gives a list of reasons when a relationship is failing and beyond repair.
So what is "conscious coupling"?
In my mind it is when we decide to enter our relationship, fully aware of who we are and who our partner is. We know all our dark places and are either working on accepting ourselves and healing our own wounds without needing our partner to fix us or make us whole.
In the Jerry Maquire movie when he comes back to her house and says "you complete me"all the romantics sighed and wistfully hoped to find a man to do that or say that for them. We even talk about our partners as being "our better half" when in reality we are already complete within ourselves.
Because here is the truth of it, two broken halves do not make up a whole . It just makes more brokenness.
I know, for myself, I married my first husband to escape my family . I didn't know this at a conscious level but came to realise it after we were divorced. I also know that I didn't enter into my second relationship consciously . I am very conscious now though and I know that he is too.
We are committed wholly (holy) and completely to one another and only want the best for each other. In fact my darling has told me that for a long time he felt that he was merely looking after me until such time as I went back to my first husband - that's how much he loves me. ( where he got the idea that I would ever go back is beyond me and I loved him even more for wanting only the absolute best for me - even if it meant losing me).
Accepting what is
Too often we go into relationships thinking that we can change them. That once they are with us we will be able to stop them............ ( fill in the blank). Or we realise that all those endearing little habits that we loved when were dating are actually annoying to live with and so we start up the nagging.
Sometimes we do need the help of a therapist
The reality is accepting our partner for who they are is one of the greatest gifts we can give; to our selves, to the relationship and to them. Being with someone who totally "gets"you and wants to be with you anyway is heart opening, life affirming and a conscious choice that we can make.
So I say a loud "Bravo"to Gwyneth and Chris. They are choosing what they see is right for them.
I also say an even hearty "Bravo"to all those who consciously choose to stay and make the absolute most of their relationship, who work on accepting themselves and their partners, warts and all , who are truly embracing "till death do us part"and all the marriage vows - consciously.