I had been in a relationship for several years before coming to do the ISM courses.

We were not married, and I hadn’t seen that as being a particular “problem” as such.

I had seen friends married and then divorced. Similarly, I had seen friends who chose to live together and not marry, and be seemingly happy in their lives.

For years, I had argued against marriage. But being on this path means that you have to look honestly at the issue of respect and responsibility for yourself and others, and at the nature of the relationship between yourself and your partner.

There were so many different aspects to this. To name but a few, there was my responsibility to my partner. What sort of commitment was I offering her, if I wasn’t prepared to commit to our relationship for life? What responsibility was I accepting for this relationship? How much true respect existed in a relationship when I was sleeping with someone to whom I had no intention of committing, yet with whom I expected to share my life?

When I started to ask these questions honestly and to listen to what my heart was saying on the matter, I had to face some very uncomfortable truths.

Namely, that I had not grown up and was still expecting my “mother” to look after me.

The lack of commitment to my partner reflected a lack of commitment to myself.

I was evading responsibility left, right and centre.

My partner is a strong woman and I feared what commitment would bring. Would I be able to cope? What, if having made a decision, I regretted it – what then? Could I handle the responsibility of divorce when I had just scraped together the responsibility to marry?

So many questions were buzzing through my mind and the only thing I knew for certain, was that our relationship couldn’t stay the same. Something had to change.

After a while I realised that I simply needed to continue the process I had set out on. The process of being more aware of where I was at and challenging that – I was faced with the prospect of taking on a challenge which I had spent my life thus far avoiding.