Historically, few cultures have allowed individuals to choose their own mates. The majority of marriages throughout the world have been arranged by the families of the couple. Arranged marriages (which are considered a successful, traditional aspect of family life in many cultures) still continue in many parts of the world. Typically, parents arrange marriages in order to achieve a socially appropriate match and/or economic advantage. Often the bride, and sometimes the groom, has had no part in the decision. In many cases, the couple's first meeting takes place at the wedding.
While the institution of marriage appears rather stringent and inflexible in the way it is governed by societal rules and customs, modern day civilization retain certain idealistic beliefs about the importance of committed love relationships and about marriage specifically. And yet, increasing divorce rates throughout North America suggest that either the institution of marriage as we have created it needs re-evaluating, or our beliefs and views about the purpose of marriage, and of love itself, needs an objective second look.
The Purpose of Your Love Relationships
All of your love relationships serve an important purpose in your life. Each has the potential to act as a metaphorical stepping stone - bringing you one step closer to your ideal relationship. Each love relationship teaches you valuable life lessons. To learn these lessons - means that with each relationship, you evolve - in who you become and in your choices for an ideal mate.
In an altruistic love relationship, you are challenged to see your vulnerabilities, flaws, and errors, and yet you feel supported to improve upon them. What gives a love relationship meaning and purpose is its innate ability to encourage and inspire both partners to grow - to become more than what they were as individuals. In fact, it is likely that you are encouraged to become a better human being through learning about yourself, and observing and appreciating certain qualities in your mate.
The purpose of your love relationships is to help you become complete - whole. Feeling 'completed' does not happen because you have someone to make you feel that way, rather it is through being in relation with this particular person that you are inspired to learn, develop, and evolve - thus becoming more. Since your partner has the single most important influence on your present-day life, it is important that you choose, with full consciousness, the best person possible.
A healthy love relationship facilitates consistent growth and evolution. Even as it is your responsibility to remain consciously aware and to actively direct your individual growth, it is your partner's capacity to support, love, and encourage you that profoundly affects your ability to do so. You evolve by practicing present moment awareness and then applying the knowledge that you gain from doing so.
Love relationships also teach you about ending points and how to acknowledge when they no longer provide the mutually respectful environment that contributes to the integral quality of your life. To move on from your love relationship teaches you much about self-sufficiency and self-respect.
The following purposeful elements are possible through being in your love relationships. They are presented here as an overview, and are expanded upon in conjunction with other constructs throughout the book.
A healthy love relationship challenges you to evolve.
Being in relationship requires that you to think beyond your individual needs, to openly communicate thoughts and feelings that you might otherwise might refrain from sharing, and love without conditions. Because you and your partner have chosen each other based on qualities that you respectfully admire and appreciate, it is expected that you will both learn and develop aspects of yourselves as a result of being together. In a healthy love relationship (even if it does not end up lasting forever), you grow and evolve largely as a consequence of your varied experiences.
A healthy love relationship allows you to work on changing aspects of yourself even though it does not demand that you change who you fundamentally are. Your consciousness expands as you experience your self honestly and authentically in the presence of someone who loves you, and you are able to come to your own set of conclusions about what you need to change and what needs to be different in order for you to be happy. Your partner supports the changes that you desire and is patient with you, just as they may be working on changing aspects of their own self.