Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness point of view may not be for everyone, but one thing about the actress turned lifestyle guru is: how she has handled her divorce with grace. Ever since introducing the world to “conscious uncoupling” back in 2014 when she and her then-husband Chris Martin announced they would be parting ways, Paltrow has set a very chill example in how to continue life as a family unit.
The latest? Her Christmas festivities, which include Martin — even though the pair have moved on with new partners. (Paltrow recently married Glee co-creator Brad Falchuk, while Martin is in a committed relationship with actress Dakota Johnson.) When the Goop mastermind posted a photo of her Christmas decorations, it didn’t take long for many of her followers to pick up on the fact that she hung a stocking for Martin.
The former couple, who share two children, 14-year-old Apple and 12-year-old and Moses, also spent Thanksgiving together. Paltrow shared a moment from their get-together, writing that they are the “#modernfamily.” That much is true, as over 50 percent of US families are remarried or re-coupled, according to The Step Family Foundation, which also notes that “50 percent of all women, not just mothers, are likely sometime in their life to live in a stepfamily relationship.”
It wasn’t an easy path for Paltrow and Martin to get to joint holidays in their post-divorced lives, though. “I think Chris and I are very like-minded and that we really were disappointed that our marriage wasn’t going to work, and we weren’t going to have the thing where you’re married to the parent of your children for the rest of your lives,” Paltrow recently told her podcast listeners. “I think I’ve learned so much through this process,” she continued. “I think, sometimes, especially when I look back at some of my most vulnerable moments, I was super earnest and sometimes that’s just cringe-worthy. Where you’re like, ‘Oh, why did I do that?’ But this was a time when I was in a lot of pain.”
Putting aside that pain for the sake of children, though, is necessary in rebuilding a co-parenting relationship in the wake of a divorce.
“We can’t always maintain our former traditions and rituals after divorces and remarriages, but we can make new ones that help us find meaning and fun in the holidays,” Don Cole, Clinical Director of the Gottman Institute, tells Thrive. “This takes different forms in different families. Some divorced couples get along well enough to meet together to open presents or share a holiday meal at home, but that doesn’t work for most. Maybe a new ritual can be meeting in a restaurant for a shared holiday meal or going to a light display together.”
Regardless of the state of your relationship with your ex, maintaining a positive one in front of children is key, says Cole. “Flexibility is central,” he adds. “Battle lines about who gets what time with the kids can really damage the spirits of all concerned, so parents need to plan ahead and work out a schedule that is the best fit. Remember what the kids need most for a wonderful holiday, is a sense of peace.”
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