What Does True Commitment Mean?


In A Relationship, What Does True Commitment Mean?

In a relationship, commitment is a choice we make every single day, over and over again. We choose it even if we are tired and overworked and stressed out. We choose it no matter what attractive person crosses our path. We also choose it every time our partner makes a bid for attention and we put down our book, or look away from the television, or up from our smartphone or stop whatever it is we're occupied with to acknowledge their importance in our life.

This acknowledgment may call for just a smile or for a conversation, but whatever it calls for, we authentically try to deliver. We make our relationship a priority by showing that it's a priority. We build trust and demonstrate our loyalty far beyond any words we say in our wedding vows. According to Gottman research, it is the small positive things done often that make the most difference and build a cocoon of trust and safety in your relationship.

So what does true commitment mean? The most obvious meaning is that we resist possibilities with other people. It means we are faithful sexually and emotionally to our partner. There is no question that committing to a person can be a difficult prospect. It means putting all our eggs in one basket. There will be no one waiting in the wings if this relationship doesn't work out. There isn't a safety net if things aren't going well. We go to no one else to complain. Instead we need to go directly to our partner to work things out and/or to a counselor if things become too difficult--hopefully sooner rather than later.

Choosing commitment means accepting your partner as he or she is, despite their flaws. It means never threatening to leave even if at times you might want to. It means talking to each other kindly when the inevitable differences and conflicts do occur.

It also means caring about your partner's pain as much as if not more than your own. In a committed relationship, you will both stop the world to try to understand and ease each other's pain. This is partly why we get married and this is partly why we love. We need each other and we need to be needed by each other. True commitment is choosing each other over and over again because ultimately what makes relationships work is the decision to make them work.

Committing to a relationship requires a certain level of vulnerability. Will she meet my needs? Will he really be there for me? Will she love me for who I am or try to change me? Will she criticize me to others? Will he betray me? Will he love and care for me if I get sick? Will he leave me?

These are all very real fears we may have when we decide to commit to one person for a lifetime. When we fall in love, we are often on our very best behavior. But as relationships progress each person gets more real, more transparent, and therefore more vulnerable. None of us has it all together, and none of us is without our idiosyncrasies or insecurities no matter how together we may appear. And here's where all the magic comes in. The more honest we are, the more we can discover that our partner really loves us for who we are and not the idealized version of us that shows up when we first began to date.

Vulnerability creates trust and trust is the oxygen your relationship needs to breathe. (More about trust in my next blog post).

Remember: Good marriages begin when you marry the one you love and blossom when you love the one you married.

For further inquiries:

Check out Jim Covington, marriage counselor, at https://www.marriagecounselormanhattan.com

Phone: (917) 656- 4363