It is Sunday night and as promised here is a new blog post. Much as the title suggests, we are going to discuss GOOP. And by that I mean, there will be an endometriosis-friendly recipe courtesy of GOOP included for you to try at home.
GOOP (for those who are uninformed) is the pet project of California “darling” Gwyneth Paltrow (a Hook reference…did you expect anything less from me?). It’s Paltrow’s online lifestyle blog that features a bevy of middle age hipster-ish features of vegan recipes, earthy Feng Shui and anal sex tips. Okay, that last one is a curveball, even for GOOP, but at least now I have your attention, right?
Perhaps the most famous of all the GOOP-topian articles is Paltrow’s tribute to divorce with a 21st century twist via Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami who suggest “conscious uncoupling” as a fluffy cloud of sorts to cushion the harsh reality of the dissolution of a marriage.
In the article, it reinforces the factoid that 50% of all marriages end in the “Big D that don’t mean Dallas,” much to the chagrin of 90s country artist Mark Chesnutt. The cause of this staggeringly high number? That overused phrase…the dreaded “end of the honeymoon” phase.
Their suggestion? A long diatribe of commitment-phobic sludge that tells the reader to not expect so much from the institution of marriage.
“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.”
It’s the same central idea Paltrow used to justify the end of her 10 + year marriage to Coldplay front man, Chris Martin. And in my opinion, it’s all a giant pile of something smelly and pretentious.
Marriage is supposed to be “for life”…or else, why in the world would we even want to get married? With the exception of death or something extremely detrimental to the marriage like repeated infidelity, domestic abuse or marrying your cousin, two people should ONLY get married if they are willing to do it for life. Yes, you should expect the end of the aforementioned “honeymoon phase,” but that’s when you should cling to your partner even more because the two of you are just getting started on the beautiful ride that is marriage. It doesn’t seem so beautiful when you’re having your umpteenth argument on the same old thing, like who left the lid off the peanut butter jar or which one of us has to wake up early on Saturday to walk the dog. However, the aerial view between newlywed and your 60th anniversary looks scenic from high above the mundane of the everyday.
Yes, sometimes divorce happens. And, while I DO agree with the central idea of the article that divorce isn’t obligated to be messy or hurtful and you can do your part to make it a smooth transition for all parties involved…I DO NOT agree with the idea that we should expect divorce as a possibility in a marriage. Are there moments where you may sit in your car and wonder how in the world you married this person who, when caught in an unflattering moment, drives you up the wall? Of course. And when you have those moments, you shouldn’t immediately run to the thought of leaving this person just because they’ve angered you, made you cry, or wounded you to the very core. If you married for the RIGHT reasons, you should be able to list those qualities of your partner that you love, see through the hurt brought on by misconceptions of intent and make an attempt to effectively communicate your feelings to your partner so that you work through the situation. We don’t need “wholeness in separation” like this article suggests…we need “wholeness in marriage” that I think can happen with a concept I’ve dubbed “conscious RE-coupling.”
This introduction brings us up to speed with how GOOP and my husband crossed paths last Wednesday night to provide me with some “conscious RE-coupling” that our marriage very much needed.
My idea of “conscious RE-coupling” includes actively trying to connect with your partner. Not a new concept, I realize, but one that is so drastically overlooked when you’ve got work, kids, chores, bills and everything else getting in the way of renewing the commitment you made to your spouse. Now, the way in which you choose to selectively focus on your partner is entirely up to you. If it leads to sex, great, let it. But if it doesn’t, enjoy those moments, too.
When I first met my husband, I found out early on how sick he was with an autoimmune disease. It put a frustrating halt on a lot of our physical activity. At first, I was taken aback by how little we were able to be intimate due to his health restrictions. Then, I got sick, and our ability to have physical intimacy became even more restricted.
So, we’ve found ways to compensate for that. One example is how we choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day. From the very beginning, we started a tradition of seeing an action movie and teaching each other a new skill. One year, it was watching The Kingsmen followed by a trip to the gun range and learning to play chess in the park. Another year, it was planning to learn French together using one of those Rosetta Stone sets. A few years ago, it was watching movies at home while he rubbed me down with Vicks because I had a head cold so bad on our way to dinner that I burst out in tears on the drive when we were nearing the restaurant. The new skill he taught me was to let someone else take care of me (I was used to taking care of myself.)
Sometimes, we cook dinner together. Or I’ll cook and he’ll wash the dishes. Other times it’s just going for a walk together with the dog. It’s time well spent with the person we chose and want to continue to choose every day for as long as we have the ability to so.
Lately, it’s be even more challenging to “consciously RE-couple” with my husband because of our work schedules running on opposite shifts. We have a few good hours on Wednesday nights that we have to make the most of if we want to have some face-to-face contact. I was having a particularly hard moment with my endometriosis and pain. I was also newly back on the wagon of my diet and craving dessert something terrible.
I was on the couch complaining and he was playing video games. Instead of becoming agitated that I was being so obnoxious and interrupting his conquest of some outer space realm, he chose that moment to actively connect with me and asked me if I’d like him to make this recipe I’d been wanting to try. He made an attempt at changing the recipe so that it would be allowed on my diet (added Stevia instead of sugar) and while it wasn’t a Starbucks Lemon Loaf, it was something that made me notice my husband was trying to actively connect with me.
We sat on the couch together, eating a square of the Almond Flour Lemon Yogurt Cake, while we watched the season finale of This Is Us on Hulu (our weekly ritual). Mine was topped with strawberries. His was topped with vanilla Fun-fetti icing. But it isn’t important what we ate or what we watched. What IS important is that we made the time for each other.
My husband is the product of a “conscious uncoupling” and even though it was amicable at best, it instilled in him some sense of impending doom that our marriage will fail. I am the product of a marriage separated by “death did us part” and I am plagued by the fear that my love will be ripped away from me in an untimely fashion. If either of us focused on those thoughts, gave into those fears, we probably would be headed for the Heartbreak Hotel in Splitsville, but we choose to “consciously RE-couple” over and over and over again. Divorce isn’t even in our vocabulary. Marriage isn’t easy; it’s exactly the tremendous amount of hard work that everyone warned us about. Unlike what the GOOP article suggests, we choose to focus on today, not because we aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow in our marriage, but because we WANT there to be a tomorrow in our marriage. And so far, so good.
What are your ways to “consciously RE-couple” with your partner? Leave a comment or email me. I will post some of your responses to the Hot Endo Mom Facebook page.
Fill your life with love,