I have been reading this great post on SELF.com about how important it is to be aware of the purpose of our relationships. And I have to agree with the author, that we are not thinking of it as much as we should be.
I would say that by default everyone’s purpose when they get married is to “live happily ever after”. And mine was too, by the way. No matter how much “realistic” we think we are before making this big step and creating a family, we tend to underestimate the seriousness and difficulty of this venture.
Sure, we heard about divorce rates, family conflicts and compatibility issues. So we read a few popular books on the subject, note down a few “clever tricks” from blogs or Cosmo and make sure we search for “The One” (meaning – the most compatible one). We think we got it under control and that we can afford to keep our default purpose unchanged, because we have researched the topic and have higher chances of success.
Let’s note that “living happily ever after” can be slightly different from person to person. So one will say that their purpose in the relationship is security. For another person it will be adventure. Whatever is associated with happiness for us, we will put as our purpose, right? I don’t think there is anyone thinking “the purpose of my marriage is to tolerate that person next to me no matter what”. No, our purposes are more likely demonstrate our desires.
But then comes a problem.
Let’s say you found your “most compatible one”. That means that your purposes are probably the same at the moment. Let’s say you sat down and discussed what you want from this relationship and both of you agreed on “adventure” as one of a few words.
Imagine yourself 10 years down the line. With 3 small children around you all the time your purpose of the relationship changed to “share responsibilities, so we could rest and sleep in turns”. What if your husband’s purpose stayed the same? You are bitter that he’s not keen to help, he is unhappy because now he is alone searching for adventure.
Similar scenarios can be imagined for any other purpose you come up with. Your purpose is security? What happens if your spouse loses his job, or becomes chronically ill?
Basically, let’s think what’s going to happen with the relationship when your dream purpose is not fulfilled, when you realize you might never-ever get what you desire with this person?
Logical answer would be break up, right? So that’s what we see happening all around.
I don’t want to be negative, but I’m just trying to see how this can play out in the future. That’s how it played out for my relationship too. After all life can be unpredictable and “live happily ever after” purpose will set us up for a great disappointment.
There is no doubt that knowing the purpose of our relationships is important, it’s just we have to consider our options carefully, to avoid pain in the future.
An alternative option would be to focus on what you want to give in the relationship, rather than get. Doesn’t sound very appealing, I know. But I really like how it is explained in this quote:
“Fundamentally you’re seeking the relationship, because you want to be happy, you want to be joyful. Or in other words, you’re trying to use the other as a source of your happiness. But if you are happy by your own nature, relationships will become a means for you to express your happiness, not to seek happiness.” – Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
We hear a lot that “love is about giving, not getting”, so maybe it’s worth to experiment with this idea in our relationships?
Maybe simply expressing our nature, our happiness, would be a better default purpose for all of us to consider?