Create a Context For Your Romantic Relationship.

What is this? And how can it improve your relationship significantly? As well as save it during challenging phases?

image by Jyotirmoy Gupta from

First off, what is a context? It’s 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 healthy and strong, but also when you are facing great challenges.

A context will nourish and support your relationship, as it adapts to changing circumstances and expands in new directions.

Frequently, we go into a romantic relationship without fully knowing why. Sure, we are attracted to and love spending time within their company. We feel “sparks,” a “great connection” and are “head over heels for them.” And, whenever around them, we tend towards feeling great about ourselves too.

But then what? This is not a premise for creating an enduring relationship (and, of course, one that is happy and healthy) that has staying power to go the distance. It also isn’t the foundation for building an emotionally deep and abiding connection. You need more for these two things.

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 patterns of thought 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 and relationship though, and if you want an emotionally deep connection that will go the distance, it's essential to examine the reasons why you are in a relationship or looking for one in the first place.

And further, rather than focusing on what you want from a relationship, it's even more 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. Why is this so? For a few reasons.

It is because each of us brings different strengths, passions, and abilities to a relationship. Along with the fact that no relationship is the same as another. Even those that look similar are still different in countless nuanced ways beneath the surface.

When you bring two different people together, unique chemistry and results are spun forth 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, sometimes people are able to give more within their relationship at that time, whereas at other times, the other person might need to be the more giving one.

Those are a few of the reasons why those who assume relationships are generally 50/50 propositions 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 partner’s 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.” It's a star by which you can guide your relationship.

Without that guiding star, your relationship lacks direction and tends to spin round and round, like a compass without a sense of where it's 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, that context is kept in the background for both people. This helps keep the difficulties or flaring emotions more guided and within the mindset of knowing that ultimately, your goal and intent is being in and getting through 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 person's 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, 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 and rules.

A commitment like this (aka, a context) produces possibilities.

How to create a context for your relationship

-First off, create this when you are feeling clear and grounded, so it will contain your greatest wisdom. Do not try and do it when within an argument or when personally stressed or distracted. It won’t come out the way you want it to.
-Make sure it’s something that feels possible for you. You want to be able to say and believe that, 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 for your relationship. This will take some thought.
-And finally, your context should point you in the direction of greater love, intimacy, and connection.

Also, it's 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 will likely discover that you would like to fine-tune or alter it, in even significant and wildly different ways, at some point.

The final takeaway message to context: people in soulmate relationships 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. And, part of creating a soulmate relationship is having a context for your relationship.

Why are we together? What is the broader meaning of and purpose for our relationship? What are our mutual and shared goals?

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 complementary 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 for possible contexts. Only you two can decide on it.

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, within that process, enhance our own relationship?

Creating a shared context will not only enrich your relationship. It will also deepen the connection you experience every day with each other.

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.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author.

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