The twitter universe was abuzz when actress Gwyneth Paltrow announced on her digital media website GOOP, that after 11 years of marriage, she and her husband, Coldplay front-man Chris Martin, were “consciously uncoupling.”
#consciousuncoupling . . . Say what? Everyone else calls it a separation, split, break-up, or divorce. But Paltrow, known as somewhat of a lifestyle guru, thinks those terms carry too much negative baggage. So what, exactly, is conscious uncoupling? Here are 3 main ideas that I’ve extracted from all the GOOP-y conscious-uncoupling gobbley-gook:
Conscious Uncoupling’s View of Divorce
1. Divorce is to be Expected
Paltrow’s longtime health and spiritual advisers, Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami, explain that conscious uncoupling involves re-examining and changing our beliefs about marriage and divorce. They suggest that the high divorce rate is a calling “to learn a new way of being in relationships”–to reject the modern notion that marriage should be a life-long commitment. If you expect to be married several times in your life, then divorce is a normal, expected part of journey. You can consciously uncouple from one spouse and then consciously couple with someone else down the road.
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.
2. Divorce Mends
Marriage and family therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, who is credited with popularizing conscious uncoupling through her 5-week Conscious Uncoupling program, claims that conscious uncoupling can help you “reclaim your power and reinvent your life.” Divorce doesn’t have to rip you apart. It can make you more whole. It doesn’t tear, it mends!
And it appears that women have a natural bent toward mending their own spirits through conscious uncoupling. Sadeghi and Sami suggest that divorces turn nasty when there’s too much masculine energy. Masculine energy attacks, while feminine energy heals:
Choosing to . . . remain in attack mode requires a great imbalance of masculine energy. Feminine energy is the source of peacemaking, nurturing, and healing. Cultivating your feminine energy during this time is beneficial to the success of conscious uncoupling. When our masculine and feminine energies reach equilibrium once more, we can emerge from our old relationship and consciously call in someone who reflects our new world, not the old one.
3. Divorce is a Sacred Spiritual Journey
Bestselling author and teacher Marianne Williamson, writes, “Learning the skills of ‘conscious uncoupling,’ we can transform the deepest disappointment into a sacred journey from sorrow to peace.”
Sadeghi and Sami concur. They suggest that with conscious uncoupling, the pain of a marriage coming apart actually results in something beautiful and precious. With conscious uncoupling, divorce becomes a wonderful and powerful mechanism for personal growth.
Divorce becomes a spiritual catalyst that brings “wholeness to the spirits of both people who choose to recognize each other as their teacher. . . By choosing to handle your uncoupling in a conscious way . . . you’ll see that although it looks like everything is coming apart; it’s actually all coming back together.”
Woodward Thomas writes on her website that the conscious uncoupling process involves “powerful rituals you can engage to transform this time of heartache and disappointment into a healing, liberating, and eventually even joyful experience.”
“The Conscious Uncoupling process I will lead you through will also help you step into your highest vision of yourself and of your life, and then into a new, different kind of love … one that is built to last.”
Plus, her program comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee!
God’s View of Conscious Uncoupling (and divorce)
Wow. If I choose to consciously uncouple, I get to go on a sacred, spiritual journey to reclaim my power and reinvent my life! It will be healing! It will be liberating! It will even be joyful!!! That’s amazing! Conscious uncoupling makes divorce sound so soothing. So wonderful. So positive. So desirable. Do you feel unhappy in your marriage? Is your partner not meeting your needs? Have you stopped growing as a person? Then consciously uncouple!!! Just get divorced and then you can re-couple with someone else later. Conscious uncoupling will help you find a new, different lasting kind of love! (Till the next conscious uncoupling does you part, of course.)
Though this cavalier attitude toward marriage and divorce is prevalent in society, and sadly also in the church, it doesn’t represent God’s view on marriage and divorce.
“Some Pharisees approached [Jesus] to test Him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.” But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother [and be joined to his wife], and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.” Now in the house the disciples questioned Him again about this matter. And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”” (Mark 10:2–12)
“I hate divorce,” says the LORD God. (Malachi 2:13-16)
Through marriage a man and woman become one flesh. Joined together by God. Humanly inseparable.
Divorce is an assault against everything God created marriage to be. Divorce is not a sacred journey towards wholeness. There’s absolutely nothing sacred about it. Though it is sometimes unavoidable as the lesser of two evils, it is unholy and ungodly, for it is not part of God’s original plan. It spiritually rends and tears. It wounds. It is an unspeakable tragedy. Certainly, God pours out immeasurable grace for those who walk this difficult and painful path. He aches for them. And in His deep compassion and mercy He extends forgiveness, comfort and healing. But to suggest that divorce is anything but a negative, tragic assault against God’s design for marriage–to suggest that it is even remotely wonderful and desirable– is to elevate it from the gutter where it belongs.
As funnyordie.com’s Conscious Uncoupling Celestial Tea image suggests, conscious uncoupling sounds much more soothing than the word “divorce,” but in essence, it’s the exact same thing. The bottom line is that God hates conscious uncoupling . . . because God hates divorce.