Menu
Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!

3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Enter A Relationship

Love

“Love does not obey our expectations; it obeys our intentions.” ~Lloyd Strom

Recently, I did something radical; I entered into a relationship with the intention of extending love. I consciously set the goal of peace.

It’s with the intention to experience more peace than ever before that the relationship began, and it’s with that same intention that we decided to end the relationship. In between it all, I felt deeply connected, heard, and loved.

What did I do differently this time that allowed me to experience a new level of peace and love? What about this relationship created the space for us to peacefully “break-up”?

Unlike other relationships I had that seemed to pull me deeper into fear, this relationship accomplished the complete opposite—helped to release me from it.

Whatever I did differently with this one, I wanted to bottle it up! As I took some time to reflect, I realized that what I did differently comes in the form of three simple miracle-minded questions that I asked myself before I even entered the relationship.

The three questions below helped me step away from fearful relationships based on getting and filling my perceived voids and instead, helped me step into a loved-based relationship built on extending the love and completeness I found within myself first.

And what a difference this shift made in my experience!

The next time you find yourself getting ready to join with someone in a relationship (or even a friendship) ask yourself these questions first:

1. What is it for?

In the past, I would just jump into relationships without any real intention set at the beginning. I wanted the attention and for someone to prove I was loveable. I wanted to get more than I wanted to extend. I was motivated by ego fears and desires to fill my perceived voids.

The way we move beyond these ego fears is by stopping and asking ourselves, what is this relationship for?

Without a clear goal set at the beginning, it’s easy to get lost and stuck in a fearful place. So with my last relationship, we decided that our goal would be peace, and that we wanted to help each other remember the truth about ourselves, instead of getting lost in the illusions about ourselves. What is this relationship for? To extend peace.

And this makes all the difference. When you do find yourself in a disagreement, you can remember that your goal is peace and then act accordingly.

The value of setting a goal in advance is that it will pull you through the tough times. Without the goal, it’s easy to get caught up in the ego’s drive to be right or justified. Having a common goal in mind allows you to move forward together instead of working against each other. In my last relationship I found that a shared goal connected us and gave us something to focus on.

2. What limiting beliefs are blocking me from authentically connecting?

A lot of times when we don’t experience something we say we want, it’s because we have some underling fear associated with getting it.

For example, if you say you want to experience a deeply loving relationship and it hasn’t shown up yet, it might be because deep down you’re scared of it. I know for me, I said I wanted to have a loving relationship, but when I got honest with myself, I realized I was actually scared of falling in love.

Somewhere along the line I decided that being in love would make me weak and vulnerable. When I went even deeper, I noticed that I had the belief that I wasn’t good enough yet to be loved. I didn’t think I was skinny enough, successful enough, or funny enough, and deep down I was scared that other people might find that out, too.

So what do you do when you realize you’re scared of what you want? What do you do with the belief that you’re not good enough? You simply become willing to move beyond the fears. Often times the awareness of our fearful patterns is enough for them to be released.

Sometimes I will even say to myself “I hear you fear, but I’m not going to let you determine my actions right now.” Instant personal power.

This opens the way for you to step beyond the limiting beliefs you carry about yourself. The truth is, you’re good enough right now in this very moment. There is nothing to prove. Become curious about your beliefs and behaviors. Invite them in, question them, and watch as they melt away.

3. Am I focusing on the content or the frame?

Fear-based relationships often start with a strong attraction to a body. I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been sucked into relationships because the frame was lookin’ good. I paid no attention to the content, aka the mind.

But at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you’re always getting in a relationship with a mind. If the content is not engaging and exciting, circle back to the first question: what is this for?

When we put all our focus on the content and not the frame, we simultaneously release our expectations and allow ourselves to experience peace and love in ways that we might not have thought possible. The frame will shift and change, but lasting fulfilling connection starts and ends with the content, not the labels and clothes we place around it.

Ultimately, within others you can either lose yourself or remember yourself, because from a spiritual perspective, everyone is a reflection of you. And with that idea, relationships become a miraculous teaching device.

You decide if you want fear or love based on the intention you set at the beginning. I’ve both lost myself and remembered myself in relationships, but I prefer the latter.

The three questions above are how you open the doorway for a love-based relationship to enter your life.

By setting the goal of peace, becoming willing to move past our beliefs of not being good enough, and focusing on the content, not the frame, we can experience a deep connection and trust, which is perhaps one of the most miraculous things you can share with another human being.

Photo by Marina Aguiar

Avatar of Amanda Christian

About Amanda Christian

Amanda is the hiking yoga buddy you always wanted but never had…until now! She’s a miracle-fueled yoga instructor and a modern day voyager with lots of strange ideas. (Strange ideas that just might be what you’ve been waiting for.) Over on her site you’ll find weekly Soul Workouts with practical ways to experience more peace and personal power.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • Willow Lucas

    Thanks for the reminder.

  • Deanna Lang

    Amanda, this was an amazing read – thank you! Would you mind terribly if I shared it on my blog at earthmama02.wordpress.com, with full credit to you as the author and link to its source? I think it’s an important read for everyone!

  • Pingping

    You have written this article with so much maturity and yet it sheds light on the usual mistakes we do when entering a relationship. I can really relate to your last point. Content or Frame. So true, the frame is the projection of the individual on the outermost layer of his personality. Content remains the most important, his innermost self. Thank you for these wonderful pieces of advice. Stay blessed =)

  • anon-y-mouse

    Whew–this is powerful! I need to read this a few times and embrace this point of view as I consider my next relationship. Brilliant!

  • scalderon

    this is beautiful and touching amanda. and it couldn’t have had better timing than today. it all seems so simple & common sense but its the true deeper meaning of our fears we need to overcome in all aspects of life. thank you!

  • lv2terp

    Wonderful post! I love this…. “Ultimately, within others you can either lose yourself or remember
    yourself, because from a spiritual perspective, everyone is a reflection
    of you. And with that idea, relationships become a miraculous teaching
    device.” Beautiful!!! :)

  • Amanda

    That would be fine with me Deanna!

  • Deanna Lang

    Thank you so much! I’ve even printed it for myself! <3

  • Amanda

    Would you mind putting the link back to TinyBuddha instead of my site? Only because it’s published here first. Thanks so much :)

  • Deanna Lang

    Done!

  • Octarin

    I loved your post, so well-balanced and centered and yet… I just got out of a relationship with a narcissist. I can tell you that no matter what you do and how much openness and soul connectedness you have, if you make that mistake, you won’t find love and acceptance… My weakness was exactly that I was willing to commit, and I wanted a deep relationship, so I gave my all in earnest. And then I learned my lesson the hardest way. I wish it were as simple as you make it out to be. I’m afraid it’s not. Maybe I tripped at the “what is this for” step, I don’t know. But I know that what I got for tripping up a step … I didn’t deserve. Be well. Good post.

  • Mariana R.

    Number 2 is something I’ve recently been thinking about. I too find myself limiting the love I can accept but as they say “The first step is admittance”. So I can only move forward from that.

  • Naomi Maisey

    For sure

  • Arashi

    Thank you so much for this insight and wisdom!

  • http://www.drugata-realnost.com/ Georgi К. Zhekov

    One of the best articles on the topic, I’ve ever red! Thanks for sharing, Amanda! Love and peace on your way! :)

  • Tim

    Ditto. There are people out there who just want to take away and harm others. Then they go about their lives perfectly happy. It’s like wolves and sheep when it comes to affairs of the heart.

  • Tim

    I have to be the dissenter here. I stopped reading your post as soon as you said, “What is the relationship for?” This doesn’t seem like love in any way to me. It sounds like you are trying to get something out of another person. It just sounds like you are making contracts with men and then breaking up after you’ve grown old of them. There has to be wonder in love just like there should be awe and wonder in life. I say the opposite of you. I say go in to it with reckless abandon and see what happens. It’s supposed to hurt like hell when you break up. your philosophy of love and relationships is good if you want to control people and not get hurt yourself, but I think that you are wading in the kiddie pool of love. Sorry if I offended you. I’m not trying to be mean, I just don’t agree.

  • Lannetta Leigh Miller

    needgod.com

  • Triton

    How can you validly disagree when you didn’t read past the intro? There is wonder in the way this person treats the relationship as well in my opinion. Going with reckless abandon will most likely hurt the other person too when there’s a break up. Just because both people are in pain doesn’t mean it’s necessarily okay. Also, I believe this jumping into relationships is almost a cultural thing in itself so saying that it’s supposed to be a certain way is just not true.

    I do believe however that instead of asking “what is this relationship for?”, one should be asking “what is my motivation?” But it’s probably just wording.

  • Luke Nelson

    I completely disagree with your 3rd point. Focusing entirely on content and not the frame is the same as denying nature. Imo, “half” the reason we are together is to fill the need of physical intamacy(nature’s procreation). Focusing on the content is the other half. Since when is it one or the other. Absolutes, almost never exist. You can be completely connected with the content, and if you can’t “get it up” or “get wet”, then your in a relationship that’s headed downhill. For most of us at least, unless your the one in a zillion Dali Lama and you meet your other, Lady Lama, then I suppose you both could go without sex for years and be hunky dory. The lasting, happy relationships,IMO, are the folks who used their content well and had PATIENCE to find their match of both the content AND the frame.

  • Christina Woelz

    Thank you so much for this. Very, very timely for me! <3

  • Angela May

    This is a very logical approach to an emotional experience. Love is art – a process of falling deeper into the abyss and letting it carry you. Distrust anyone who believes there’s time to “stop and ask questions” before falling in love. That’s simply a protective mechanism of the wounded and unaware. And as for the “content and not the frame” you’ve got to be kidding me. We choose, care for, and maintain our bodies as our reflection to the world. The body is a huge piece in love (not the only piece) but for anyone to say “choose the mind not the body” hasn’t ventured too much into the experience of lasting relationships. You simply can’t create a lasting intimacy with someone whose body is repulsive to you, no matter how much you connect on a mind level. As an avid follower of tinybuddha, I’m actually surprised such a dualistic article was published here.

  • Jai

    Amanda, what if it’s hard for you to answer the question, “what is this for?”

  • Elita Van Buuren

    Its because you havnt yet learned what true love is, its not uncontrolable feeling, its a completly intentional action

  • arrow&whsiper

    these are great points for folks who get alot of attention and have many relationship opportunities, and are ready to bring some authenticiy into their experience. That said, many folks aren’t missing relationships and opportunities because of some unadressed fear. Many of us are just not fitting into the image of desirability. Even folks who seek authentic connection and living are often, I’d say mostly, still bound by societal expectations around body image, gender roles, and material reward/commodfication of self in relationship. That’s normal, that’s ok. My point is this: you have some good advice in here, but your frame reads for the beautiful and the privileged. Keep that in mind when you are working with people who don’t, or haven’t had heaps of opportunities in relationships, love, and even just sex. Many folks go years of trying without ever finding a partner. Some of said folks suddenly arrive in success and find they are getting lots of attention, and all the social expectation about who to connect with and what shape that should take flood in, suffocating their heart connection just as they begin to experience some reciprocity. What relationship advice would you give to someone who has reached out again and again, who has been working these points in one form or another for years, who has a personal practice and takes care of themselves, but still finds themselves alone after two or three or ten years? More and more people are living in that condition.

  • Fleeb McFurby

    I completely agree with Elita Van Buuren (and sadly disgaree with Tim). That question, “What is the relationship for?” is a very important question we tend to ignore until we feel bad (and by then we jump to “it’s for nothing” and then we break-up). Relationships are not just feelings, emotions or blushes, they are also two people working together. They are the intentions and actions that follow. Of course said intentions and actions need to be fueled by feelings, but that’s the difference between an adolescent view of love (i.e. “I love you so much I could DIIIIE for you”) and an adult one (i.e. “life is a path, so is a relationship, so where do you want us to go?”).