Ever since stories were first told of princesses and princes, little girls have daydreamed about their future with a storybook ending. Girls dream their Prince Charming will arrive and whisk them away to a beautiful kingdom and the perfect life. The fairy tales they are told usually end with everyone joyful, hugging, and a sense of contentment; pictures are taken and the moment is forever memorialized.
As a child, your innocence is preserved by the sheltered point of view of the real world that is offered by most parents. You’re given the hope that your dreams, no matter how farfetched, will come true. Wishes are cast for a fairy tale marriage or relationship that will stand the test of time and make it till… THE END.
As an adult many princesses and princes are enlightened to the fact that there are chapters in THEIR STORY- with major plot changes. They come to realize that the pages turn and as time passes, they will be filling in many blanks in their story based on how they handle the challenges and emotions that life brings. Eventually everyone must stop and reflect on some major points in the story and be reminded of the good times or be amazed about how they got through a tough time.
When you get a chance to review some of the pages in YOUR story, you will notice some of the characters change, including yourself. That is GOOD for the evolution of the story. You must constantly grow and learn. Growing does highlight the reality that your original story, you had a certain dream for, will have to change. In many cases, change will inevitably encompass relationships ending, in some way or another and as with all endings, there will be some feeling of loss and even grief. However, with the passing of time, the inevitable spark of hope can reignite, thus allowing the unknown in life to eventually give way to the comfortable and content that you had lost.
MY story started out as one of those little girls- standing in my front yard in the middle of the Kansas prairie daydreaming. Dreaming that one day I would leave my little white farmhouse for a land filled with enchantment and the perfect life of a big family, babies, and a castle (home) to call my own. Then the day came, I remember so clearly, when I pulled out of my driveway in my convertible with tears rolling down my cheeks as I waved to my parents in pursuit of my fairy tale. My travels to a new land called Tennessee did manage to introduce me to my (Southern Baptist, Musical, Entertainer) Prince Charming and MY fairy tale began.
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Skip forward 17 years worth of pages in MY STORY and I have just finished my review of Chapter 1. I would not change a thing. I have three wonderful kids, I am content with who I AM, I know my purpose in life, and I am grateful for all the lessons I have learned no matter how tough they might have been.
In the summer of 2012, my spouse and I separated. It has taken the past 2 years to work through this Chapter 1 ending. Having never been in this position before and being the detailed person I am, I had to fully understand where it went wrong. I had to understand if I needed to change something. I wanted him to realize some things about his personality that I know he would want to change if he saw everything from a new perspective.
Working through this process has not been easy at all; I will not lie! I have been pushed to the limit and with children involved, there has been even more caution needed. Though thanks to so many divinely guided factors, I have emerged having grown more in the last 2 years than I could have ever imagined.
John and I have spent many hours revisiting how we got to this point of now- officially divorcing.
~Many divinely guided conversations have happened.
~Many realizations have come to surface.
~And many tears have fallen.
In the end, with God’s help and an open mind of wanting to learn from this experience, we have come to a mutually agreed positive end; an end that has already been noted as “It’s amazing how well you two get along. My parents could not be in the same room together (when they divorced).”
The standard expectation with a divorce is that you and your new EX should not get along, usually based (in reality), due to the hurt and the need to throw blame. We watched the generation before us struggle when divorce happened and so we assume that it is just the way it should be. But the new generation is striving to put our egos aside and put respect and a mutual love for the kids involved-first.
Now that I have gotten to a healthy point in life after going through the process of grieving my marriage, (which I did not know was a process until I got through it), I now recognize that John and I have gone through, the recent headline grabbing process of “Conscious Uncoupling” that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin publicized on Ms. Paltrow’s website, GOOP.
On her website she has an explanation from Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami of what “Conscious Uncoupling” is. To summarize, in my opinion:
It is basically a (Spiritual) process you go through to analyze your relationship. You come to realize that your relationship was a classroom of lessons. Sometimes you are the teacher and sometimes you are the student. It is a mutual learning ground where the lessons were rough and painful or smooth and easy, but either way a lesson has been learned.
Let the guard down
You look at your relationship from an honest point of view and work through a process of letting your guard down so you can review your part. In turn, this gives you a chance to learn from what your partner brought into your life and accept the outcome with a mutual respect, and ultimately an appreciation for the lessons you received from the relationship.
As a modern society, we need to accept that some standards of marriage have to change due to the longer lives we live. One being that the phrase, “till death do us part” should not create a sense of a personal failure, if a relationship ends because that traditionally leads to anger and resentment adding fuel to the pain involved. Two being the roles in a relationship; we need to approach marriage as a partnership and be open to constantly learning and not default into a set of outdated “marriage expectations”.
The process of being able to be honest with yourself, by facing your personal issues that stem from childhood or past relationships, will allow you to not project your personal issues at your partner or bring them into any future relationship.
The goal is to examine the relationship as a whole but also as individuals so that both individuals will exit the relationship having grown and accepted the lessons they learned. This honest and open healing process of facing your personal issues, thus allows two healthy individuals, who have rekindled their personal self, to go freely into the world, having grown, thus allowing them to co-parent with respect and love for everyone involved.
Only one needed
This process is also a process that does not require both individuals to go through it to accomplish the desired positive end result. One party can work through it, grow, and in turn still see positive changes in the relationship going forward.
This is another article with a summary, from the New York Daily News, of what the Drs on Goop said: http://nydn.us/1g1dn7y
Conscious Uncoupling is a program created by Katherine Woodward Thomas, MA, MFT, which she developed to help people work through this process. (Though we have not done it, I imagine it is along the same lines of what John and I have done on our own that took 2 years to do.)
For me it is now time to acknowledge that I have a Chapter 2.
The scene has changed and now new characters will be introduced, so I now go willingly into the unknown with many new hopes and dreams….
No process of a relationship ending is truly ever painless but today’s families do have access to new techniques and if we are brave enough to be open and change, the world will benefit. It just takes a few brave souls to be vulnerable enough to start the ripple.
God does not want to see his children in pain. He lovingly provides us with new, more advanced tools and ideas every day to help us handle these earthy challenges. If we can just trust our guts on how to handle emotions and situations that arise, we will eventually look around and notice we are not the only ones going through the “new”.
Getting the chance to live a long, healthy life is a desired individual goal. Being able to live that life with a loving partner by your side is a healthy positive goal also. The reality is that over those 8-10 decades of your life, the world will change and so will you. You will grow and strive to be fulfilled.
When you get near the end of this lifetime on earth, you will look back and notice the different Chapters that emerged through your life. EVERYONE will have a different set of pages in each chapter and the number of chapters per life will vary. There is NO RIGHT OR WRONG. It is an individual, very personal, story you are writing. Write with respect and love for all involved and the ending will be better than you could have ever imaged.
Much Love and Happy Endings.
Photo credit to: Becrut on Weheartit