No, it's not to make babies! Although making babies is a very important consideration regarding the propagation of our species, especially in Europe and the United States where the birth rate is plummeting, it's not the prime purpose. And it's not to keep you company. Or make you financially or psychologically secure. Or to help the other person get by in life, or any other of those kindhearted, empathetic reasons. No, it goes much deeper than that.

Think about what a relationship is. You meet someone, find out about each other, and if things are compatible test the waters a little further. Then a fondness grows, and a trust, a caring, and a terrible feeling when you are separated from that person - you have fallen in love. For awhile, you might completely absorb into your partner and it seems as if you are both part of the same organism. Something happens, however, and this oneness eventually turns into separate identities once more.

While you both were one, you became one with the world as well. The world that once upon a time might have been dark and lonely now becomes a wonderful place, and everyone and everything is smiling. There isn't a thing that you and your partner couldn't achieve, and your elevated consciousness seems to affect the entire universe. Everything changes, however, and this is true of relationships as well. What was heaven on earth now becomes just the earth again as our relationship shifts from all encompassing love to the administration of life.

The relationship then becomes what the true purpose of relationship is - a study of life itself. In this study, the important thing is to be aware of life as it changes and takes on the different hues and colors that relationship provides, and not to become stuck in images of the past. What is past is past, and if we dwell there, we will miss out on the tremendous energy of life and life's lessons that the mirror of relationship provides.

A close, open relationship will reflect our fundamental being. A relationship, therefore, is a search for and a reflection of truth; and a search for truth is something that goes on every day, every moment. If we become lost in our relationship and live off the images that we have formed about our partner, we will never give him or her opportunity to change, or the freedom to breathe. If we become stuck in our images and perceptions of what each other should be, we can be assured of jealousy, envy and all the other negative emotions that many relationships experience every day.

The true purpose of a relationship therefore involves freedom; not freedom from the other, but mutual freedom within a relationship with the other, no different from a freedom of relationship with the world without depending upon the world for our happiness. This is all connected to the fundamental purpose of relationship, which is to learn about life, and which is learning about ourselves and learning how to become free of life's negative influences.

The true purpose of relationship is learning to trust as well; trusting that our partner is allowing us to change. That he or she is accepting those changes and adjusting to them. That their love exceeds any changes that are happening within ourselves, and that they promote our changing - grateful for our changing and not afraid of it. And when we return the trust, our partner deepens theirs in an elevated spiral. This is when romantic love changes into something so much better; a mature inquiry into human nature, and the wondrousness of it. This is when a relationship begins to get interesting.

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, His twenty-nine years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit