“I asked someone older and wiser (and dear to me) once, ‘How did you and your wife stay married for all of these years?’ And he said, ‘Well, we never wanted to get divorced at the same time.'” I think that’s what happens. When two people ‘throw in the towel’ at the same time, then you break up, but if one person’s saying: ‘Come on, we can do this,’ you carry on.” Gwyneth Paltrow’s recent announcement of conscious uncoupling (from Coldplay front man, Chris Martin) sparked something in me. I started to think about people’s expectations of marriage because I think that is the root of a lot of wedded unhappiness. According to Gwyneth’s GOOP article on the split, “conscious uncoupling” is defined as —
To change the concept of divorce, we need to release the belief structures we have around marriage that create rigidity in our thought process. The belief structure is the all-or-nothing idea that when we marry, it’s for life. The truth is, the only thing any of us have is today. Beyond that, there are no guarantees. The idea of being married to one person for life is too much pressure for anyone. In fact, it would be interesting to see how much easier couples might commit to each other by thinking of their relationship in terms of daily renewal instead of a lifetime investment. This is probably the reason why so many people say their long-term relationships changed overnight, once they got married. The people didn’t change, but the expectation did.
Seven years in to my marriage and I can honestly tell you that maintaining a happy marriage is work. You have to work through the bad times because that is when those vows you made take on real meaning.
Marriage is a partnership and you approach issues as a team.
My husband and I consciously uncouple every night around 9 pm — its called being married and having young children.
You don’t have to always like the person you married but, you always love them.
The honeymoon phase of every relationship is exactly that, a phase.
Marriage is endgame and it is not a fairy-tale – it is a beautiful mess. You need to clearly communicate your expectations to your partner (something that I am working on).
Saying “I do” is easy. Staying married is hard work. It’s sometimes easier to walk away. Or, in Gwyneth’s case, the decision was to uncouple and go on a trip to the Bahamas together. Only in Hollywood…