It’s always sad to hear about a business partnership, trusted friendship or marriage coming to an end. However amicable it is claimed to be. Remember a couple of years ago, a couple’s decision to split hit the headlines. They called it “conscious uncoupling”.
Again, I recently came across this phrase coined by a psychotherapist and author. Whether it really is just a euphemism or makes an important distinction from selfishness and individualism is the point I want to consider.
Agree to disagree
The debate about the lead singer of Coldplay, Chris Martin and actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s dispassionate agreement to disagree was a reminder of the less than perfect life we risk when we engage intimately with those in our world. Not that we have a perfect life before coupling!
To what degree they were incompatible we will never know and ours is not to judge. However this new phrase brought back into the spotlight for me the thorny issue of loyalty and perseverance. Especially if it is misplaced!
(Now I’m speaking as a divorcee who persistently clung to a phrase “Divorce is not an option” through my dark times)
We honour and respect those silver, ruby and golden wedding couples who stay together for life. This mutual characteristic of commitment is highly valued. On balance, it serves both parties extremely well. However, there are exceptions. Then, it does pay to consciously uncouple.
And fortunately or unfortunately, it might take two to tango but it only takes one to uncouple.
It’s the power and the vulnerability of the freedom of human will.
We all have one.
I nearly forgot that I did, but thankfully I woke up just in time.
Let me tell you about the time I first came across this concept of conscious uncoupling, years before it became a fashionable relationship status. I was in an inspirational meeting with one of the emerging communicators of our time. His signature message still is “Crossing Over”. He illustrated a fundamental truth, in reality a hard one to trust. It is that we will all face our wilderness, our “land between” or “dark night of the soul”.
The Next Thing
There is always a moment of faith before you can have the next thing you want.
The next thing only becomes available when your hands are empty. It is a moment, a space, seemingly an eternity aptly described by the metaphor “between trapezes”. We never know how long we will be flying.
With or without a safety net; we don’t find out in advance.
It would be so much easier if we at least got to touch and feel the next thing first and then compared the risks and benefits of staying or going. But trapezes don’t reach in the middle. If they did, they would crash and tangle.
You simply have to launch into space for your arc of faith in order for the momentum of the old to take forward the new.
Risk being empty-handed
“If I want to reach Gill, I have to let go of Marie’s hand” the speaker stated
Two of the audience stood at the front on either side of the speaker. He illustrated his point very simply, in fact quite prophetically. He held the hand of the current leader to one side of the platform and stretched impossibly toward me at the other. (I was soon to become the next leader though no one would have guessed it).
Reaching out, he made the point that that which is in your future can never come to your hand until you actually let go of that which is presently in your hand. Whereupon he she or it, will immediately become your past.
In the words of brooding singer, Chris Martin
“Nobody said it was easy, it’s such a shame for us to part.
Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it was so hard. I’ll take it back to the start”
This is what we do, we bear the imagined blame, shame and silently endure the swinging trapeze and its circular and familiar patterns. In the interests of public opinion or religious dogma, we take ourselves back to the start over and over and yet our conscience is crying out for finality. Even at risk of missing our catch ever again. Whatever or whoever that might be.
“’Til death do us part”….
That a marriage could or should end, some believe is heretical. For others it’s a fair risk to try your best and pray that under pressure, your choice doesn’t turn out to be a sociopath. Then there are those drawn along like a caravan coupled to a fated car. Attached, its driver sleeping, they creep inexorably toward the cliff edge. Together!
“You’ll be the death of me”?
The choice is stark and yet clear
- Uncouple, salvage and remain on safe ground whilst time still allows.
- Or, respect the principle of loyalty above life and stay attached. Pulled by the gravity of the situation you plunge hopelessly after the car-wreck.
Yet I feel your caution.
Before rashly or logically attempting uncoupling, first ensure you are fully engaged with your conscience. Then you have the authority to uncouple. (A little disclosure here). For me this happened in a moment, a genuine revelation sealed it for me that God loved me more than the institution of marriage. I believe he loves both. It shouldn’t be “either/or” but I am sure you will agree that if it is, the marriage has to go.
Next, you ask “Can I trust my conscience?”
Now that is another important question!
If you would like to join this conversation, or direct the flow of my next blog, please comment, link or suggest other voices I too might like and share. I am passionate about helping you further
- if you feel you have lost your way
- if you think you disappointed your own community
- if you believe you “screwed up”
- or fight loss of hope in the future