I was recently interviewed for an article in The Sydney Morning Herald’s Daily life section on self marriage – or sologamy, as it’s come to be know.
Personally, I think the idea of self marriage is ridiculous. Legally, you can’t enter into a partnership with yourself. And, to me, the real issue with marriage in Australia is that many couples are being denied the right to legally marry because they’re in a same sex relationship.
What do you think?
You can read the full article below or by clicking the title;
As couples around the country shower each other with chocolates and roses this Valentine’s Day, Emmajane Love will be preparing for her own wedding. The 33-year-old love coach from Queensland will put on her brightly coloured wedding dress, before heading to the beach for her afternoon ceremony. When she arrives there, Love will be alone with the person she intends to marry: herself.
This wasn’t always Love’s plan.
After a string of unsuccessful relationships, where she felt she “gave her power away” and put her partner’s needs before her own, Love started working on her relationship with herself.
“At the end of last year I felt like I wanted some spiritual practice, some ceremony, where I honoured myself. So I decided, ‘Why don’t I marry myself?'”
During her wedding ceremony, Love will read her vows to herself while looking into a mirror.
Those vows are based on things she wishes other people would have promised her. They’re about treating herself with respect; accepting and encouraging herself; comforting and looking after herself when needed.
Same-self marriage – or sologamy, as it’s also known – has been trickling into the public conscience for quite some time.
In 1993, the LA Times detailed Linda Baker’s wedding to herself. Unlike Love’s low-key nuptials, the 40-year-old opted for a white wedding dress and married herself in front of 75 guests, with seven doting bridesmaids by her side.
Then, in a 2003 episode of Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw left a phone message for a friend saying she was planning on marrying herself (albeit in a bid to secure some Manolo Blahniks). In 2010, Glee jumped on board, when character Sue Sylvester married herself.
While these fictionalised versions of same-self marriage drew attention to its existence, they arguably made light of what proponents consider a sacred act. That act is commonly misunderstood, laments American celebrant Dominique Youkhehpaz, founder of Self Marriage Ceremonies.
She says many consider the idea “crazy”, “selfish” or “ridiculous”. But, she says, those who criticise it simply don’t understand it.
“… It’s the most selfless thing a person can do – to commit to first know love within themselves, so they can more fully give love [to others]…”says Youkhehpaz.
It’s also a trend that’s burgeoning overseas, where Dominique has performed over 250 self-marriage ceremonies.
Back home in Australia the idea is still in its infancy, says NSW-based marriage celebrant Ellen Aarts. She saw such ceremonies blossom in her native land, the Netherlands, as well as in Europe and the US, where she says they’re particularly popular with women aged 25-40.
Aarts hoped to start performing same-self marriages in Australia in January 2016, but so far hasn’t had any bookings.
Aarts believes Australia’s self-deprecating culture is partly to blame, with people saying to her, “I don’t love myself, I wouldn’t marry myself”.
As a love coach, Emmajane Love has been more fruitful in her endeavours. She began offering “deep healings” in January 2017 to prepare others for committing to themselves. She has since had 13 bookings for the coming months, either through her three-month package (starting at $3000), or an upcoming six-day retreat (approximately $2000). That might seem a hefty price to pay for something that is not legally recognised.
There are no “set rules” when it comes to same-self marriage. Ceremonies can be as short – or long – as you like. Witnessed, or alone. With, or without, a celebrant.
Not all marriage celebrants are behind the idea. Naomi Korolew doesn’t believe that solo ceremonies should be legal. She says that marriage is a formal agreement that recognises a partnership between two people.
“… It is impossible to enter into a partnership with yourself in any form,” she says.
The real issue in Australia, says Korolew, is that many couples are being denied the right to marry their partner because they’re in a same-sex relationship.
“This injustice is where people should be focusing their attention, not on some silly idea about self-marriage.”
Regan Hillyer is one person who doesn’t believe sologamy is “silly”.
The 27-year-old from Victoria employed Love’s services when she married herself on New Year’s Day this year in Bali. At the edge of a jungle, Hillyer donned a headpiece adorned with precious stones and feathers (as a nod to the “goddess within me”), and vowed to love herself forever. After splitting from her fiance, it was the step she felt she needed.
“I’ve never felt so grounded in who I am, and my self-love is deeper than ever before.”
Love can’t wait to have her own ceremony, believing it will be the final step in making herself whole. She also feels it will be the catalyst for her embarking on a healthy relationship with a significant other.
Not to complete her, mind you, but to complement her. Love no longer believes that she needs a significant other to make herself whole.
“Now, I’m more about being my own soul mate,” she says.