I have a confession to make. Well actually it’s more like an admission, I am really not a big fan of Gwenth Paltrow. Yes she’s attractive and has an amazing body, but I never saw her for that A-list actress that comes to mind when I think of all the other actresses out there, such as Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, or Amy Adams, Meryl Streep of course, even though her political views suck in my opinion. Also, Paltrow has a website called Goop, which is quite popular, and I’ll admit I’ve checked out maybe once or twice, which is chocked full of New Age, mostly trendy Hollywood bullshit, now I am not opposed to New Age philosophies, as I am usually open-minded to them and probably would like the website, if it wasn’t so far removed from what the average mother or woman can relate to. Paltrow herself came under fire recently, for an article featured on her site, whereby a contrinuting writer was promoting the practice of placing a jade egg inside the vagina, to increase sexual pleasure by tightening the vagina, now what caused a frenzy wasn’t the practice itself, in as much as this practice, medically speaking, is many times, advised by doctors, more accurately a variation of this, such as the use of kegel balls, or the infamous ben-wa balls, to women as a way to strengthen, and tighten the vaginal wall, to help women with bladder leakage from the stress of child-birth, or age, and to sexually provide a tighter pelvic floor for more intense sexual pleasure, but this is generally advised for a short period of time, each day, however, the practice of sleeping or walking around all day with a jade egg, which y the way is about the size of a golf ball I might add, as the writer of this piece on Paltrow’s site advised woman, for extended periods of time, is ill-advised, as this can cause bacteria to build up, since the jade is porous, and can cause infection or worse, deadly Toxic Shock Syndrome. Along with that stellar piece advice on her site, came this little nugget of wisdom, I kid you not, vaginal steaming, yes, you read that right, which Paltrow herself admitted to using, whereby explaining how she straddles a steaming pot of steeped herbs for over 45 minutes, to, as she claims, balance female hormones, as well as restore female energy. Kinda gives new meaning to steam cleaning the carpet wouldn’t you say? Sorry I had to go there, as if you weren’t thinking the same fucking thing? Personally, I take issue more with the clothes featured on her site that are touted as being for the so-called, average woman, but really are made for the ultra wealthy, since in a recent article titled, “What to Wear to Work,” the average outfit was well over $2,000.00, now I don’t know about you, but if my average work outfit costs me $2,000.00, it better give me a killer orgasm and rub my feet, as well as make me look hot as hell wearing it! It is almost condescending to the vast percentage of women who are managing mortgages, full-time jobs, kids, sports, only to hear this mutli-millinare Mom and divorced woman, talk about how she and ex-husband Chris Martin of Coldplay fame, chose to divorce, um, I mean chose to “Consciously Uncouple:” A phrase Paltrow coined, in place of the peasant ease most of us use… that dirty little word…divorce. While I get that maybe what she was saying was that they, (she and Chris Martin) are both mindful of the fact that they are consciously acknowledge the marriage is over, and they want to remain amicable for the sake of their children and respect each other as people, which is commendable. That is the way it should be, but more often times, sadly, it is not. But it got me thinking about the concept of the being conscious, whether it is to couple or uncouple, so here are my thoughts…
I can remember the first time I saw my now husband. He was showing off in his lifted red Chevy truck, a bitchen’ truck, I was lucky enough to drive daily for a while I might add, so he poured it on, trying to get my attention, doing 360’s in the middle of the parking lot and trying to be so bad-ass. I had been dating someone else at the time, and I thought he was a flashy show-off, know it all, who was immature, and a bit of an ass, and I had that impression of him for a few years until I met him again under entirely different circumstances. We were formally introduced by a mutual friend, I was single and not looking to date, as I had just gotten out of a long very painful, relationship months before with the guy I was dating when I first saw my fireman, and I was so done with relationships. He too, was coming off a break up that happened months before, and he felt the same way. Only this time, we became fast friends, he was funny, charming and had these amazing blue eyes that made me melt. I didn’t let on to him that I felt that way, but I did. So we went though many months of being friends until one day we found ourselves being more, and 25 years later we are still more. But I really don’t remember consciously coupling. And to this day I still don’t think we did, “consciously couple”. At least not in the sense that we acknowledged what we wanted this union to be and what we didn’t, and I think had I done that, for me, the expectations I had in my head, and what the reality of being a wife, and a partner was, would have been more aligned. Now don’t misunderstand, our union worked out splendidly, as we have three beautiful reminders of the love we have for each other, partly, we’ve lasted because we both are too stubborn to let anything good fail, we both genuinely love and adore each other, and we both can laugh in the face of even the worst tragedies, which we have experienced together. I always say our twisted sense of humor is what keeps us together. Well that and some other things that I will not divulge here! So, in our early relationship, we went from being friends for nearly 8 months, to wham bam, we are now a couple. It was almost implied that all of a sudden we were taking that next logical step and we went from being Sue, Henry, to being Sue and Henry. When our friends talked about one of us it was always followed by and. How does that happen that you make the conscious decision that this is the one for life and we are now a couple? I realize, that for most of my 20’s and some of my part of my 30’s I was not conscious at all! I was unconscious, living on autopilot, eyes wide shut. My body numb, my emotions raw, I ached to have a family and to be a Mom, but my relationships to this point had been a disaster. I invested so much of myself and got so little. But the moment I decided to let go and not seek, I magically found what I had been looking for. They say the soul knows long before the heart does, and I have to believe that my soul knew, even before my head or my heart did. Hell it has to be so in my case, I didn’t really like my husband the first time I saw his flashy, show-off, bad boy side. Now well, I love all of it!
So how do you thrive, grow, and foster conscious coupling? I’ll be honest, we are far from the perfect couple, we have our ups and downs, have made each other cry, have been cruel, have let each other down, but you know what, in spite of it all, we perfected a love that is perfectly imperfect. We have fought to be all that we can for one another, to bring out the best in each other for the sake of our children, for the sake of ourselves, and to prove wrong, all the people who have tried to tear us apart, and counted on us not sticking it out, that we are indeed a force to be reckoned with, and so much more than what they know or see of us! So here is what I see as the necessary actions, towards conscious coupling, no matter how soon you realize that you are, in fact, a couple.
You have to have a genuine love and mutual respect for one another. You have to be willing to see this person as the better half of you. It is not that they complete you, but that you complete yourself, because of the love they shelter you with, and the freedom you feel to be yourself.
This seems obvious, but I know many couples who do not respect or even love each other, and one couple I know, whom, when taking their vows, were not convinced they even genuinely loved each other, and sadly they are now divorced.
You have to be willing to compromise, and you have to commit to this, all in. It cannot be contingent on circumstances, what the other person does or doesn’t do for you, or be some form of dictatorship, with one person running the show. By far one of the hardest things to come to terms with for many, including my fireman and I, but it is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship and the key to longevity in a marriage.
You have to be willing to be open, honest, and to communicate. When I was a new bride, I remember being this agreeable robot that wanted to please, I swear I was like some Stepford Wife, and it was difficult for me to express how I felt, whether it was displeasure, anger, or utter joy. Doing this led to resentment and hurt feelings, and it wasn’t until I changed my patterns, did I make it much easier for my husband to understand how I felt, or why I was reacting a certain way. We still have days when communication breaks down, but this is much less of an issue then it use to be, and we are much closer as a result.
You have to be willing to accept that the only person you can truly change is yourself. Let that sink in and try to grasp this, for it is the key to yourhappiness, I promise! Your partner may have some behaviors or quirks that you find disagreeable. You may even confront them about it and expect that they will change. That is naïve and delusional to expect a person to become something that they are not. Now, if behaviors are causing harm to you or your loved ones, such as that from drug addiction or domestic violence, this calls for drastic steps for you to protect yourself and seek outside help, either to get your loved one into treatment, or for law enforcement to step in, as in the case of domestic violence, and while you may choose to stay and support your loved one, you must also care for yourself and get help to deal with the emotional issues that you are experiencing as a result of your loved one’s behavior.
A couple that is consciously so, must be willing to grow, change and encourage one another to be all that they are meant to be. I for one am not the same person I was in my 20’s, and I’m not just talking about my weight, I am far more grounded, much more confident, and feel a greater sense of purpose as a woman, a mother, and a wife. You have to be willing to share your dreams and work to ensure that your partner fulfills their destiny, by encouraging each other, valuing what is important to them, and supporting them on their quest. My husband shares with everyone how if it had not been for my encouragement and support, he could not have followed through with the rigors of being a business owner, and trying to get hired as a full-time paid firefighter. The hell we endured on this quest would have ended most marriages, and no one will ever understand what we went through in those years of political mayhem halting the hiring process, or the dedication, and the perseverance of a 40-something fireman outshining 20 year olds, to secure his top place in the hiring. It was a sacrifice that impacted our family, and our marriage, in profound ways, but thankfully the end result was a career my husband absolutely loves, one that brings him joy, and I couldn’t be happier that he found his passion and followed his dreams. As for myself, I couldn’t be happier that I am writing again, and that in addition to being a Mom, I found my passion as a writer, chef, and aspiring restaurateur.
You have to be able to cultivate and work on the relationship every day. This is one thing I see that couples in bitter marriages cannot seem to get. Now I understand that there are times when, in the course of our busy lives we may unintentionally ignore the person we love, as the pressures of rasing a family, running a business, work, school, etc. mount, we may take their love for granted and feel that it is love is implied so there isn’t a need to tell them on a daily. This thinking is lazy, selfish, and couldn’t be more detrimental to a marriage. Each and every day, you need to tell your partner how you feel about them. My fireman and I, playfully send dirty, flirty, text messages, throughout the day, and working in close proximity to each other almost daily, we can get pretty worked up, brushing up against one another accidentally, on purpose. I know it’s probably over sharing, but what the hell! He tells me I am sexy and beautiful each day and I flirt back and tell him he’s hot! It should be sincere, and it should make the other person know you love and appreciate them, and that you find them desirable. As my father-in-law always jokes, my fireman and I can’t keep our hands off each other, in a totally loving way of course!
You must be willing to make each other a priority above all. When my firefighter and I were married, we had the sweetest, kindest, man who married us, Reverend Maltby, who has since passed, sadly, but Reverend Maltby sat down with us before we got married, and told us that above all, to make our marriage work and keep it a happy union, we need to make each other priority and that we, as a couple must come first to each other, even above our children, because without our happiness and the love for each other, our family cannot adequately function or exist, and it was one of the best pieces of advice anyone gave us as a couple, and both my fireman and I still fondly recall that advice and try to remind each other of what Reverend Maltby told us, when things get heated and one of us may be tempted to take off and call it quits.
No one knows better than I, that marriage is a complex, emotional, and spiritual union, and it truly takes “conscious coupling”, and the commitment of both partners, since marriage inevitably effects and drives all that you do, all that you are, and all that you will be. With the right person by your side, you will thrive and grow through the seasons of your life, but with the wrong person, you will be in constant turmoil, both as a couple, and as an individual, and you will see marriage as hard, a battleground of sorts, and will feel the disconnect between you and your partner. As I said before, my marriage is not perfect, I am flawed, I’ve made mistakes, my firefighter has made mistakes, at times I’ve questioned my life, my love, my path, but then I look into his eyes, still bluer than any ocean I’ve ever seen, and he winks at me and smiles, or I catch a glimpse of him in our children, and see the love that made us a family, and in those moments, I am “consciously coupling”, and nothing else matters!