So the problem we face in relationships is that people want to find relationship before they really know what they’re doing, who they are, why they’re here, what their destiny might be. They just want a relationship; they want to fill that void of emptiness and loneliness. And they’re encouraged by advertising or pressures from family to get married early. They’re pushed by their own insecurity about they don’t know who they are and how to be. And, “They’re having a relationship, but I’m not having relationship, so what’s wrong with me?” Can you all relate to this? Okay.

So what happens is people establish relationships prematurely. These relationships are partial, or even often very destructive. So you end up with failed relationships, failed marriages, failed families and a lot of personal pain and agony along the way. Some of this personal pain and agony can have a real damaging effect on someone’s life and future. So this is a serious problem; this is a serious dilemma. And if you look at the condition of people’s relationships in the world, which you can see all around you, it is clear we need a real upgrade. We need a big upgrade.

I feel that romance, for example, is one of the most destructive human activities in the world. More energy is spent and lost, more time is spent and lost, more suffering is engendered with little to show for it than most other human endeavors—except for war.

And the New Message goes so far as to really create warning about if you start to feel a romantic surge within yourself regarding someone, to really step back. You’re heading into dangerous territory. You don’t know what you’re doing, but something’s compelling you. And you want to stay grounded, just as grounded as you can if that does happen.

So this is the big problem with relationships. People want relationships before they want to know what they’re doing in life, really doing in life. And people bring that into the New Message when they come to study here and they learn about relationships and higher purpose, which to them looks like a super romance; looks like the biggest, most glorified, most awesome romance you could have—to have romance and higher purpose. And of course, that just ignites the flame, turns up the burner on your stove. Right? On your passionate stove.

And so they come with the same blind approach. And perhaps they will ask, “Well, you know, where is my relationship of higher purpose? Who is my relationship of higher purpose? Maybe it’s her. Maybe it’s him.” And often when we have big gatherings and I can see how people are sort of checking each other out, like the attraction meter or whatever the gauge is they’re using…And we just do that unknowingly unless you can hold yourself back or say, “Whoops! I’m not going to do that with these people.”

And it’s a powerful biological force, I mean, because frankly throughout most of our history, I mean, you had to have a family before you were 15 years old because you’re only gonna live to be 35 or 40, or less, and so time was of the essence to reproduce. And so that’s all wired into our biological code.

So instead of having a relationship determine where you need to go and what you need to do, you need to find out where you need to go and what you need to do, and that will determine the kind of relationship that would be appropriate for you. Otherwise, the cart is before the horse.

So people are circumscribed in marriage and family before they even have a clue of what they’re about. And they live a life of frustration or escape or self-repudiation as a result, and their marriages are incomplete and frustrating and often just break down over time. There are exceptions, but this is generally what happens with people. Whatever is unfulfilled that is essential to them never even had a chance to find itself, for you to find it.

So I tell people, you know, purpose, and direction come first. Relationships, if they’re meaningful, come later, instead of the other way around.

In this August 2019 teaching by Marshall Vian Summers, in Boulder, Colorado, Marshall speaks on how people form relationships before their destiny is known. Marshall expresses the hazards of romance, the difficulties associated with engaging in relationships before knowing your life direction or having a sense of your destiny in the world and why relationships need an upgrade to become relationships of higher purpose.