- When he does something to hurt you is he willing to have a full discussion or does he avoid showing up and abandon accountability?
- Does he treat all women with respect regardless of whether he is having sex with her or not?
- Does he stand up and speak up and / or protect a woman who is being mistreated in front of him?
- Does he tell his mates it’s not ok to put women down or does he participate in laughing at or making private jokes at women’s expense with his male friends?
- Does he introduce you respectfully and treat you like you matter around his male friends or do you get the sense that you’re just another number on the list of women he’s seeing?
- Do his friends treat you with respect or does he keep company with sleazy men?
- Does he display attunement to your mood and what might be going on for you and communicate empathically or does he ignore, avoid or shame and silence your emotions and/ or experience?
- Does he have genuine remorse and is willing to learn from how you feel when he has hurt you or does he think it’s only about you and an issue you have that has nothing to do with him and his behaviours? Does he defer responsibility?
- When you have a grievance does he listen and hold full space for you to unpack what you feel or does he cut in and talk about himself and make excuses for his behaviour?
- Does he ask you questions about yourself and show genuine interest in your life or is he more interested in sexual activity or pushing his own agendas without really seeing you, hearing you and truly respecting you?
- Does he back you when you share something vulnerable or does he invalidate your reality and side with others?
- Is he comfortable with all parts of you or does his conversation push to stay on the surface only with what’s pleasant, positive and comfortable?
- Does he have character and substance as an authentic human being or is he more interested in dissasociated spiritual, ungrounded pursuits and lifestyles?
- Has he / is he directly working on his triggers / traumas / issues with a credible professional or psychotherapist or does he believe he doesn’t need to?
- Does he honour the agreements he’s made or said yes to?
- Do his words match his actions? Does he have integrity?
- Is he courageous and honest and comes to you to communicate difficult material or does he wait for you to ask or bring something up and avoid unless you do?
- Does he communicate with you if something changes for him or does he disconnect and cut off harshly and unexpectantly with no regard for the impact upon you?
- Is he trauma-informed or interested in becoming more trauma-sensitive or does he sit purely in logic and retraumatise you through lack of embodied emotional intelligence?
- Does he repair relationship ruptures maturely and directly or does he leave and abandon the connection whenever he is triggered and turn to other women/ sources of soothing?
- Does he expect you to automatically trust him or does he know he needs to earn your trust by showing consistently trust-worthy behaviours?
- When you let him know you don’t feel safe with him does he show interest in why and want to work towards creating safety?
- Does he respect your boundaries or does he push beyond them with no regard for your requests?
Sacred Marriage & Relationship Repair
On the 25th May, 2016 I got married. Married to myself. This idea arose the day before, and I immediately began to take action in preparation. These kinds of things don’t just happen every day. Curious and excited, I opened myself to receive information about how to orchestrate this. Events conspired perfectly and seamlessly. A girlfriend messaged me soon after wanting to come over for a spa day. “Sure”, I reply. “One thing though, I am getting married.” So cheekily I ask her if she would be my celebrant. It turns out she has always secretly wanted to be one, so we jump right into the co-creation.
On the morning of the union, I prepare the outside deck of my beautiful nature property. Placing all items of meaning to me on the dining table, aka the ‘altar’, I then notice a male and female pair of parrots, surrounding me. Quite special to have my first witnesses. A wedding playlist from youtube goes on. A bunch of delicate white flowers are picked straight from the garden and turned into a bouquet. I locate the new ring I had bought recently that I absolutely adore. I take my dress I had bought years ago for a future wedding out of the cupboard and snip the price tag off it. It’s as though it had been waiting for this moment all those years. I’m in awe. There is something powerful in now realizing that this day, this dress, this love I feel inside is first and foremost purely for me. I begin to dance and the excitement escalates to unprecedented levels. All those parties I had thrown over the years – well this one’s for me.
My celebrant girlfriend arrives and sits herself on the daybed. She wonders before we start what else might be required from her to contribute to this wonderful celebration. I immediately notice she is sitting in front of the mosquito netting encasing the day bed and I realize we need to use this as the veil, in front of the ‘altar’. Some skilful, simple adjustments and the scene is set. I walk her around and explain the significance of the items on the altar as well as the written quotes I had put up around the space. These quotes had come to me in the days leading up to this wedding. I could feel the inspirational power of them holding me through this amazing occasion. The strongest one by far, was the one where I am accepting and loving all of myself unconditionally. I could feel that this was another beautiful turning point in my life. And already this was certainly turning out to be the best day of my life, and we hadn’t even started.
I’d prepared two journeys for the marriage itself. The first, I had my celebrant read out a list of qualities I had crafted that I wanted to embrace fully in myself. She asked me if I am willing to embrace and marry each of the qualities. I answered ‘yes’ one by one, in a way that expressed each quality through my body as I embraced it. 30 qualities and yes’s later, we were both ecstatically high on the potent energy of this embodiment. Then, I read my own personal vows from my heart to myself. We jumped and sang and laughed and celebrated all the way through. I threw the bouquet into the crowd and my celebrant caught it. Then she threw it back to me. I became distinctly aware that I was now ready to also embrace a wedding with a man in the future too. Fuck it, we’re here to have it and live it all … juicy, fun experiences all round!
We drank and ate and talked and laughed well into the night, submerged in the spa for hours. Something fascinating was happening. Whenever she, or myself, began to speak on a topic I immediately brought through the oneness version of that subject, through the spoken word. I was acutely aware of how we create duality and pit opposites up against each other, and how this creates the illusion of separation. All well and appropriate when triggered to create this kind of reality, but I knew for sure now that the oneness I was feeling and the deep connection with everything, was far beyond this kind of reality. For hours I reframed so many subjects effortlessly into their wholesome, unified version of reality. I was sure that this new experience of oneness was a direct result of marrying myself, and loving and accepting all of me. Pretty damn special.