From a religious perspective, sexuality and relationship are not generally regarded as serving a “higher purpose”. This article explains the spiritual importance of both sexuality and relationships.
The Purpose of Sex
On a basic level, the spiritual purpose of sex to motivate people to connect with one another who would otherwise choose not to do so. I.e., it is a means for motivating people to establish intimate relationships, and to treat others is a loving manner, who would otherwise not choose not to enter a relationship.
As children of the Divine, God loves us unconditionally. What this means is that God fully accepts us as we truly are. Not as who we wish we were, or who we pretend we are, but as we actually truly are. He accepts us with all our faults and all our “sins”.
Likewise, love in a relationship is accepting a person and caring about that person regardless of who that person is. In most relationships however, our (conditional) love is based on who we think our partner is, or who we want our partner to be. When we start to realize that our partners are not who we thought they were (or they stop behaving the we way we desire), our acceptance of them begins to diminish.
Part of the problem with romantic relationships is that many people do not think others will accept them as the truly are. Therefore, they initially act in the manner that they think will be more attractive to potential partners. This leads to relationships where a partner will eventually realize that the person he or she is with is not at all like the person she originally met. After a while, such a couple will become less and less accepting of the other until they eventually “fall out of love”.
The Relationship with Oneself
It is only possible to love someone else to the extent that you love yourself. If you do not unconditionally love yourself, you are unable to unconditionally love another. The same is true with your relationship to God: to the extent that you love yourself is the extent that you can love God. Therefore, the relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you have.
As stated previously, in order to love a person unconditionally, it is necessary to accept that person unconditionally as he or she is. This point brings up an interesting issue, because to accept yourself as you are, you have to know who you are. And in life we have spent so much time pretending to be who others want us to be, that we are not even sure who we are. Generally speaking, we are deathly afraid to find out and show our true selves, because we don’t think that others will accept who we truly are.
Sustaining a successful relationship depends on maintaining intimacy. To have an intimate relationship, each partner must continually gain a deeper and deeper understanding of who his or her partner truly is.
Intimacy is lost as a result of a partner:
- a partner who believes he already knows everything there is about the other, OR
- a partner who feels too vulnerable to reveal anymore about herself to her partner
(In truth, it is never possible to know “everything there is to know” about a partner. It is always possible to go to deeper and deeper levels.)
Relationship as a means of self-discovery
While it’s very easy to see the faults in other people, it is extremely difficult to recognize the faults in ourselves. That said, one of the interesting things about a relationship is the fact that the faults that your partner has that get on your nerves are the very faults that you have but are not consciously aware of. Once we recognize this truth, we can then use our partners to help us increase our understanding about ourselves.
Note that finding out about our faults is not negative: on the contrary, just the opposite. As long as our faults are not in our conscious awareness, we are unable to do anything about them. But as soon as we are aware of our faults, we can begin to investigate and eventually release them.
To be more specific, faults are not our characteristics: they do not define us. Instead, they are based on unconscious defense mechanisms that were developed due to earlier (and sometimes traumatic) experiences. By understanding what originally triggered our defense mechanisms, and in some cases healing the wounds of those past experiences, we are then able to release our defenses that are triggering the expression of our faults.
Therefore, if we look at the larger picture: the “normal” experience of relationships is one compromise, struggle, and conflict. But if we can see the meaning of relationships from a spiritual perspective, we can honor and appreciate the fact that they are designed to help us know ourselves more intimately, and as a result, know our partners more intimately. And at a higher level, we will then also become more intimately connected with God.
Maintaining a healthy relationship
In order for an individual to stay balanced, he or she should maintain a healthy balance of all four aspects of himself: the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. These same four aspects can be found in a relationship as well, and they also should be kept in balance to the greatest extent possible. If one aspect is stressed more than the others, the relationship will not be as healthy, and as a result, will not be as satisfying for either or both partners.
Physical: physical intimacy isn’t just about sex, although sexual contact is important. Other intimate physical contact such as hugging, kissing, and hugging also keep the physical aspect of the relationship strong.
Emotional: being comfortable at expressing one’s feelings with his or her partner is important here. The emotional aspect also deals with spending time doing activities together that both partners fully enjoy, whether it is spending time outdoors, going to a movie or show, or cooking a meal together at home.
Mental: For a strong relationship, it is also healthy for both partners to have at least some common interests that can be mutually discussed, debated, and shared.
Spiritual: the spiritual aspect is about learning to love and connect with other and continually deeper and deeper levels.
- Eva Pierrakos . Creating Union: The Essence of Intimate Relationship. Pathwork Press. 2016.
- Joshua David Stone. Soul Psychology: How to Clear Negative Emotions and Spiritualize Your Life. Wellspring. 1999.