Thursday, March 1, 2018

Creating a Context for your Relationship

I wrote a blog entry a while back with regards to how one goes about both finding as well as building what can be described as a soulmate-like relationship and connection with another person.  That original article can be read just here.  The title being "What is a soulmate?  And how to have this type of relationship."  And actually, I recommend it for reading as a precursor to this very article.  This one being a follow up of sorts, if you will, to that.

Within the book "The Soulmate Experience," which I found to be excellent, (actually, I would venture so far as to call it one of the best relationship books I have ever read), there is a chapter on the concept of creating a context for ones relationship, and why this is important.  Thus, please allow me to explain further, as creating a context gives your relationship meaning, depth, direction, and greater significance.

First off, what is a context?  Its a statement of what you intend to offer your relationship.  By pointing you toward higher possibilities, your context will be your guide not only when your relationship is feeling healthy and strong, but also when you are facing your greatest challenges.  A context will nourish and support your relationship, as it adapts to changing circumstances and expands in new directions.

So much of the time, we go into a romantic relationship without fully knowing why.  Sure, we are attracted to and love spending time within their company, as well as whenever around them we tend towards feeling great about ourselves.  But then what?

When asked, many people say they want a relationship for intimacy or companionship.  For others, it may be about being part of a family.  But all too often, being in a relationship is really about how it makes you feel good.  Many of us approach a relationship with mindsets and thinking such as, "my other half," or imagining that being with someone will "finally fill the emotional hole in my life."

If you really want to create a soulmate experience though, its essential to examine the reasons why you are in a relationship or looking for one in the first place.  Rather than focusing on what you want from a relationship, its important to turn your attention towards what you can offer one.

The belief that a relationship is a 50/50 proposition is sure to bring much frustration, misunderstanding, and disappointment.  As each of us bring different strengths, passions, and abilities to a relationship.  As well as the fact that, no relationship is the same as another.  Even those that look similar are still different in numerous, endless nuanced ways beneath the surface.  When you bring two different people together, a unique chemistry and result is spun each time.  Additionally, each of us tend towards being different with varying partners.  Alternate sides of us are drawn out with different people.  And finally, that sometimes some people are able to give more within their relationship at that time, whereas at other times, the other person might need to be the one giving more.
To name just a few of the reasons why those who assume relationships are generally 50/50 things often end up miserable, resentful, and disheartened.

We all have areas in which we can naturally and easily contribute more than our partner.  In some areas, we might contribute 80% to our partners 20%.  In others, the role can be reversed.  Many couples grow frustrated thinking of their relationship as having to be "even."  Including, trying to evenly split household chores, financial matters, and even making similar progress toward shared goals.

A more effective way of approaching things though is through the idea of a context.  Meaning, a personal declaration of what you intend to contribute to your relationship, as well as where you hope it may lead.  You can also think of a context as a "declaration of a higher possibility for your relationship."  Its a star that you can guide your relationship by.  Without that guiding star, instead, your relationship lacks direction and tends to spin round and round, like a compass without a sense of where its going.

Having a context in place can also be invaluable for when addressing challenges that will arise in relationships, including money, our partners habits, and emotionally charged situations.  Especially with regards to the latter.  For instance, if your context is something like "we are in this together for the long haul," then even when an intense or upsetting challenge occurs in your relationship, if that context is kept in the background for both people, it helps keep the difficulties or flaring emotions more guided within the mindset of knowing that ultimately, your goal and intent is being in this together, despite disagreement or difficulty.

Here is why context can actually be more powerful than commitment:

People have many different ideas about what the word "commitment" means when applied to relationships.  In conventional, usual ones though, it often means things like:

-Always keeping your promises, no matter what
-Putting the other persons needs ahead of your own
-Focusing all your sexual thoughts on your partner
-No matter what happens, even if you fall out of love, you stay together

Defining our relationships through commitments such as these has the potential to entangle us in a thick web of rules and expectations.  At its core though, true commitment isn't about defining what you or your partner should or should not do.  Instead, true commitment is a personal act of intention, of declaring yourself, "I intend for this to work."  Rather than producing expectations, a commitment like this (aka, a context instead), produces possibilities.

How to create a context for your relationship...

-First off, create such when you are feeling clear and grounded, so it will contain your greatest wisdom.
-Make sure its something that feels possible for you.  You want to be able to say and believe, yes, I can do this.  I have the ability to choose this consistently on a regular basis.
-Your context should be clear and concise, yet, broad enough to apply to a variety of situations.  You want it to be clearly accessible when facing something that could be challenging to your relationship.  This will take some thought.
-And finally, your context should point you in the direction of greater love, intimacy and connection.

Also, its worth noting, your context will change and evolve as you do.  As you experiment with and apply it to different areas of your life, you may discover it grows or shifts.  You may discover you would like to fine tune or alter it in even big ways at some point.

The final takeaway message to this post: people in soulmate relationship often (though not always) report that they have a higher purpose for being together.  This is something that goes beyond the usual reasons like intimacy or companionship.  Some couples are committed to a charitable, humanitarian, or ecological cause, or to raising their children in a conscious, loving environment in the hopes they will grow up to make a positive contribution to the community.  Others devote their partnership to more personal endeavours, such as learning to be more compassionate to everyone they encounter, or opening and growing a small business together.  Some couples have complimentary but opposite strengths, and choose to meld these together in personal projects or in the encouragement and invitation of intense growth for one another.  The list goes on.

Consider this question: is there something we are both passionate about and/or have strength in, that we could contribute either to the world or meaningfully to each other or to those whom we are close?  And, in what process, enhance our own relationship?

Creating a shared context will not only enrich your relationship, but also deepen the connection you experience every day.  Having a higher purpose gives you and your partner a truly worthwhile reason to be together, in addition to being attracted to and just garnering joy from one another's company.

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