You never hear songs about “staying the course,” or following through with your decisions. On one level, concepts like commitment just don’t sound that romantic. However, there are many stirring songs and movies where the main character must face challenges, and commit to a set of values in order to succeed. Commitment is like a solid handshake, and a gesture of enduring love.
These days, commitment seems to have become synonymous with “servitude” and the loss of precious freedom. True, it implies a willingness to do the hard work of holding a relationship together, even under challenging circumstances. Making a lifelong commitment to someone means saying no to all other competing possibilities once and for all. That isn’t easy and should not be undertaken lightly.
However, the responsibilities of commitment are simple compared to the deep love you will receive in return. Commitment serves as glue during several key phases of a relationship:
1. During the early years
Some studies indicate that half of all divorces take place during the first two years of marriage. This is not surprising. Melding two lives together is hard work. But if the couple made their vows with seriousness, they will hang on and give the relationship a chance to mature and meld.
2. When boredom sets in
Every relationship has periods when growth stops and nothing exciting happens, like low tide when the energy of the surf recedes. Pledges of lifelong loving become invaluable guidance systems during these times.
3. When trouble comes calling
Most relationships hit more than a few snags through the years: career uncertainties, the demands of parenthood, ill health, or a myriad of other real challenges. These are the times that test us and define us. Commitment to love “for better or worse” can save a marriage when the going gets tough.
4. When building trust and intimacy
How can we share our innermost selves with another person if we sense that we are being evaluated, that we may be disposed of? Impossible! But if we know beyond any doubt that our partner is absolutely committed, it is safe to let ourselves be vulnerable and transparent. This is infinitely valuable to personal growth and to the strength of the relationship.
5. When struggling with fear of abandonment
Many of us carry childhood fears of abandonment into adulthood and throughout our lives. We worry that we are not good enough or that we will be left behind. Knowing our relationship is secure frees us from this fear and allows us to move forward with full confidence.
A big part of finding the love of your life is knowing how to keep the love of your life. Making a commitment to the person you love is not only a daring and romantic gesture; it also doesn’t hurt to gain a trustworthy companion.
Read on for similar articles in our Stages of Love road map!