Love and Marriage: Conscious Coupling

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Ups and Downs
If anyone tells you marriage is easy and that it’s a walk on the beach when you’ve found your soul-mate, they are lying or they are some rarity. I have seen a lot of marriages in action between my family, friends, and my own. When you are around people enough, you see the ups and downs. A quote on my autographed framed mat around a wedding photo of my husband and me states, “May all your ups and downs be between the sheets.”

The Vows
Most of us don’t realize how much those traditional vows we repeat mean till we’ve been through some of those highs and lows of marriage. “I take thee to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.” They ring so much truer after you’ve been married awhile rather than while you are in puppy love and everything is novel and exciting.

Conscious Coupling
I’ve been reading the entertainment news all over the web and hitting the newsstands hot off the tabloid presses about the separation of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, their “conscious uncoupling.” I think the reverse could ring true. We can consciously couple. We can choose to stick it out, knowing there will be good and bad. But, that living with any one person every single day is not always going to be easy.

Giving It Ten
Ten years is a lot of time to grow up and change. I have a newly four and a six and a half year old and, man, have they learned a lot and grown in less than that amount of time. Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were married ten years and I am coming up on my ten year anniversary. I think a decade is a good time to decide whether to consciously couple or uncouple, unless you find yourself in a highly toxic relationship — then run for the hills the sooner the better (before the altar would be best). Ten years is enough time together to reflect and come to that decision and press forward for a happy life one way or another. Kids make it harder to make the decision for sure.

Ten is a big number for me. I saw my husband at our ten year high school reunion and I fell hard right off the bat, unexpectedly swept off my feet. My oldest was born on the tenth of July. My youngest was born in 2010. This, my tenth wedding anniversary, I want to commit to consciously coupling and recommit to those traditional vows. I see why couples renew their vows because they mean so much more after you’ve had years behind you. I would like to do that, even if it’s just for us and without guests.

Learning to Speak Love
We don’t have a “perfect” marriage, but I want this marriage and I don’t want anyone else. He is still learning to speak my love languages: quality time and acts of service. I am still learning his: physical touch and words of affirmation. He would love it if he could just buy me something or pay me a compliment, but I take a little more time and energy than that. I don’t speak his very well either. When I wake up early while he sleeps in to take care of the kids, plan a date night, or bring him breakfast in bed – it doesn’t make him swoon like it would me. But, if I show him affection or sincerely recognize his hard work and efforts –- he is enamored with me. We deep down know this about each other, but somehow never remember it.

Yet, I love him and still for the same reasons why I married him. He is loyal, driven, and very funny. We have, luckily, stuck together and we’re living a great life, but there have been, are, and will be ups and downs. I am glad we have made it through this decade and hope we can stick it out and consciously couple for years to come.

To read from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop site about her separation, “conscious uncoupling,” with Chris Martin:

For information about The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman: