What In the World is Conscious Uncoupling?

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow are splitting up. This celebrity couple and parents of two children are asking for privacy, so I'm going to avoid the tabloids. But I can't help but be curious as to what is going on, especially since they dropped the "conscious uncoupling" phrase. (Someone on Twitter suggested that the opposite is "unconscious coupling," or when you get married while drunk in Vegas.)

Martin and Paltrow have apparently been counseled by Dr. Habib Sadeghi and his wife, Dr. Sherry Sami. They are the source of the term:

"Conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument [within a marriage] was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing. From this perspective, there are no bad guys, just two people. it's about people as individuals, not just the relationship." It's essentially a blame-free approach.

While I know that there is always plenty of blame to go around when things so south in a marriage, I'm not sure that this sort of psycho-babble helps. It won't help them in the long run and it won't help their children. No matter how much a splitting couple works to convince themselves that the kids will be better off,  for most families, it's just not true.

Sadeghi and his wife go on to explain that, since we are now living longer, people can't be expected to say married for life. So how did our grandparents do it? Oh yeah. They only lived to 75. People are now living to 85. I guess we can tolerate a mate for 50 years but 60 is unrealistic.

My wife Jenifer posted on Facebook what can only be described as a "rant." What she said is "spot on" enough to merit her taking over my blog. I've always said that she's smarter than me, and this proves it. Here's what she wrote...

I don't "go off" very often but this breaks my heart. I wish I could find the clip from the Today show. Their counselors are teaching them how to operate in what's called "conscious uncoupling." Hope that counselor also has a guidebook on how hard this is on kids of divorce. You can run poll after poll and you will always find more offspring of divorce telling you how hard it was for them vs. these people saying, "my parents' conscience uncoupling was awesome, it set me on path for feeling very secure."

Barrett and I are committed to helping couples in crisis. The most powerful moments of ministry are those when we invite grown children of divorce to speak to couples in crisis on how hard divorce was for them. (Please know that I'm not speaking about troubled marriages where there is mental illness, physical abuse. etc. I will be the first to call the authorities over your spouse if the situation merits it.)

I'm talking about it not always being about me. My favorite book is "Sacred Marriage." It's bi-line is "Marriage is to make you holy, not happy." Stop and think generationally, not just in the moment of pain and hurt. I have seen with my own eyes God restore anything and everything over the last 20 years in ministry. It just doesn't always happen in a quick, fast food, drive thru, time frame, but it happens!!!!

True that. God is still in the business of putting broken people (and marriages) back together again. Let's pray that this famous and influential couple realizes that.

*Check out my brand new book: The Talk(s): A Parent's Guide to Critical Conversations About Sex, Dating, and Other Unmentionables. It has been developed to assist parents as they help their kids navigate our hyper-sexualized culture. Whether your kids are 6 or 16, it provides practical help to help your kids to make wise choices in a messed-up world.

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Barrett JohnsonComment