Recently, I had the opportunity to step over life’s threshold of initiation into marriage. In one word, the quality of the experience = IMMENSE. (And...beautiful)
Getting married is one of the most common and well-known rituals of the modern day human, yet also one held with much controversy, baggage and opinion. My experience of this age-old practice is necessarily unique to me, and I figured it would do both of us a world of good to share this experience… after-all, that’s how we humans learn and grow.
This initial post covers the emotional journey first, because… *IMMENSE*. This is personal. And it’s also transpersonal. So it’s thrown into the collective pot of experience to nurture and nourish others, while allowing me to express something challenging and profound. Another post will follow sharing the community conjuring of the event-planning.
The process was kicked off in November 2015 with my partner, Marcel, asking me to be his wife via message in a bottle, floating in the sea of North Stradbroke Island. It was sweet and surprising. We hadn’t talked a whole lot about going official with our relationship, though the long-term nature of our bond was clear. The process of preparation pretty quickly went dormant though, as it dawned on us the magnitude of what we were working towards... and not quite knowing what to do next.
I hadn’t grown up as a little girl dreaming of my wedding day, and I didn’t quite know where I stood on the field of marriage. Having grown up in a Christian household, I was unsure if this 21st century modern woman was prepared to carry on that tradition that felt quite… obligatory.
After some space and time, a date was finally set for a year following – landing in September 2017. The real dreaming and planning for this event and ritual commenced.
At this point, something interesting beagn. In early 2017, I started to drop-into the realisation of the energetic around the engagement period. Namely, the raw honesty a person must confront within themselves and with their partner before taking on such a lifelong commitment. It was mentioned to me that the engagement time was one of negotiation, where the couple get real clear on who they are, what they want and how they might do that. Thing is, despite the deep desire to do so, this didn’t seem to come so easily. It felt more easy to be in the event planning side of things (e.g. choosing the venue and décor which was such fun); where tapping into the invisible structures and dreams of a long-term committed relationship felt far less tangible.
At one point I felt overwhelmed by the task ahead, and I ended up at the question:
WHERE ARE THE ELDERS TO GUIDE US?
Marcel and I didn’t need to recreate the wheel in our process of emotional preparation – it’d surely been done plenty of times before us. So where were the people we deeply trusted, who had a body of experience in functional long-term relating, who were willing to share and answer questions honestly and openly? Where were people I could go to in person (not through a book or through a website) and riff in real-time?
I felt stunned in realising the culturally-appropriate (to us) support mechanisms for holding a couple in this way weren’t easily forthcoming or openly accessible. Growing up in a church, I saw people receive pre-marital counseling and I attended plenty of weddings. But the reality is there hadn’t ever been much said about what it feels like to process this life milestone, especially for one now outside the bonds of that religious community.
It dawned on me that there was no beaten track of marriage preparation for us – we weren’t in a religious or intentional community where tried-and-tested practices were encouraged. It almost felt we were a limbo of independent living - of our own making no-less. And ultimately, like many an archetypal journey, it lead to self-initiation.
Journeying on in this heart-pondering and navigating, I came to recognise that I needed to do what I needed to do to prepare – and that my emotional preparation didn’t necessarily depend on my partner's participation. Of course, having conversations about the quality of life we wanted together were important, but he couldn’t do the emotional preparation for me.
And so I took the reigns and trotted on my own path.
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