22nd September is our wedding anniversary. Seven years ago, John and I said "I do" in front of our closest and dearest in a little Italian town, Furore, located in the Amalfi Coast.
It was an incredibly magical day, and we have both evolved and changed since then.
The woman John married isn't the same woman that's writing this.
The man I married isn't the same man with who I'm celebrating our 7th anniversary.
One of our vows; "I choose you."
I can't begin to tell you how hard it is to honour this vow.
Because as human beings, we're addicted to the past.
We're addicted to what we know.
Nothing can be more suffocating in a relationship than "I know you.". This isn't just limited to marriage. It is EVERY relationship.
We never really "know" people.
We know a past version of them, a memory. However, we never really know them - and I think this truly is the secret to cultivating connection (to know someone means "awe" and "wonder" are now out the window!).
When I first met John, there were two things I promised him.
"I promise never to know you, and I promise never to make him wrong."
Now - I have broken these promises throughout our 7 years of being married, AND he has never made me wrong.
The whole time we have been together, John has never made me wrong.
I've never felt judged by him, criticised by him, or even nagged by him. He is a pretty incredible man! He holds incredible space for me.
For me, what I find challenging in our marriage is being parents together, which is the source of our conflict. (Every couple has a challenge that's unique to them, ours is parenting).
I believe the two greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of knowing how to love yourself and the gift of loving each other.
NOW - this doesn't mean you need to be married and stay married as I sometimes know things don't work out, and to deeply love and respect each other while co-parenting and equally be open to having healthy relationships - that's a beautiful gift to pass on.
We have been parents for over 5 years, married for 7 and been together for almost 11 years (this November). We are NOT the same people that first met.
Our marriage thrives when I "choose" him and he "chooses" me.
Our marriage suffers when he tries to fix me, or I try to fix him (I'll be honest, it's more me than him!).
Our marriage is powerful when I'm in my Higher Self, showing up with joy, empathy and compassion.
Our marriage feels lonely when I'm in my Inner Wounded Child and feeling depleted, blaming him and being a victim.
Before John, even when I was first married - I didn't believe in marriage. I thought it was a piece of paper - and you don't need to prove your love with a piece of paper. I was somewhat even against it.
Of course, all of that righteousness was from the Fear and unhealed trauma of my upbringing. I mean, if I had parents that weren't married, and they couldn't make it work, and they had a toxic relationship - I didn't think a piece of paper or a legal agreement could have altered that.
When I met John, my relationship with marriage changed.
I believed in it. I connected to the magic of what it truly is and what it makes available.
Marriage isn't about two people staying together. I don't think a successful marriage is one where you're together for 20 years or 50 years, and most of it is sourced in heartache.
That's like saying parenting is all about self-sacrifice.
And if you're here reading this, you know my stance on that (and if you're new here, I believe one of the most heartbreaking things you can do in parenting is wearing "self-sacrifice" as a badge of honour).
I often think about the purpose of relationships. Why do we go crazy for it? Why does it matter so much? What is it that we really want in relationships? What I know is this.
When sourced in Love, when sourced in choosing to be true to ourselves - and being able to LOVE from this place and another receives our love from this place, every relationship does one thing.
The soul is here to expand - and when we Love, the soul expands.
And that is why Love liberates. To expand means to liberate beyond what we are now.
So in marriage, if it isn't liberating - it's not Love that's in the driver's seat.
In any relationship, if it's not liberating, it is not Love. Friendships. Parenting. Family. Love doesn't discriminate.
Once upon a time, before John:
....and there is so much more to add. I was clueless when it came to healthy relationships.
In being with John, in the space he holds - loving him and receiving his Love, I liberated the above and so much more.
A relationship has the potential to inspire you to be better.
To love better.
To engage with life from your whole heart and with your whole heart.
And this is the most challenging journey we will ever embark.
The return to Love. The return to Self. The return to our Heart. Returning to our wholeness.
Now... here's the other crazy part. Are you ready?
It has very little to do with the other person - and all to do with what you are willing to do to choose Love - for you.
The reason we stay in toxic relationships is that we're not loving to ourselves and we think we have to fix the other person - not recognising it's their journey.
The reason we avoid conflict is that we choose to be more loyal to our Fear than being more loyal to the possibility of Love.
Or the reason we create drama and have the same conflicts is that we want to be right as that feels safe vs being curious and being open because that is the unknown.
When I manifested John, the checklist wasn't on him. The checklist was on me.
"Who do I get to become? How do I feel when my Love is received? What do I get to contribute? What does it feel like to give Love?"
I truly recognised that there is no greater gift than someone receiving your Love in its wholeness. Free from judgement. Free from expectation - just fully receiving it.
Receivership is the most difficult thing you'll ever need to master when it comes to Love. Simply because we have been conditioned to think Love is about giving. Yet, our giving is burdened and comes with expectation if we don't understand how to receive Love.
So as John and I celebrate our 7 year anniversary - I celebrate who we have become, who I have become, and how we have continued with a commitment to having everyone thrive - in marriage and in parenting.
When we celebrate a milestone in the relationship - I think it's so important to acknowledge each other, and ourselves.
It takes two to make a relationship thrive.
It also takes two to make a relationship suffer.
No one is to blame. There are no victims. It takes two.
Recognising this is Freedom.