Saturday, January 20, 2007
Commitment - Your Shield Against Relationship Adversity
What timing. I turned on Dr. Phil one day this week and saw a couple who have been married four months. The husband is constantly wondering if she is "the one." He struggled mightily before deciding to go through with the ceremony -- at one point his fiancée found him curled in the fetal position, crying. Her father confronted him the day before the wedding and said, "Well, what's it going to be? Are you going through with it?" Not long after the ceremony, the groom went so far as to tell her he would give the marriage six to twelve months and then see if he thought it was worth continuing.
What commitment! (What a shame, if you ask me.)
Needless to say, his bride is shattered. She feels like a car being taken out for a test drive. They're getting along okay, apparently, but that's not good enough for him. He still can't convince himself to really commit.
If the responses you folks provided to last week's Question of the Week are any yardstick to go by, those two are in serious trouble right from the get-go.
Anne wrote: Commitment combined with love is everything. It's the glue of trust, of respect, and of understanding. It isn't old-fashioned at all. What it says is that two people think enough of themselves -- and of each-other, to try to salvage (and perhaps even deepen) something they thought was precious originally.
Rose Connors backed up that sentiment: I think commitment, whether in marriage or other relationships, is a seminal concept if one hopes to be stable. I don't think close, meaningful relationships can exist without it. Therefore, only if one is content to have a string of relationships that disintegrate at the first sign of conflict, is it possible to go through life without commitment.
Then Kelly chimed in: I know that relationships are not just fun and games, but they are hard work. People go through ups and downs, and so do relationships. In this instant-gratification world we live in, it's easy to think after a few months of "bad times" that bailing is an option. But the bad times could be years. It doesn't mean that the relationship is doomed (though I'll agree with the above comments that there are times when you must get out). Patience and commitment and being willing to work through the tough stuff is a huge part of marriage. (P.S. I just visited Kelly's site to mention this post to her, and lo and behold I find out she became engaged a couple of nights ago. So a big CONGRATULATIONS to Kelly and her fiance!)
I could cite several more of your comments -- so many of your responses are right on the money. Thanks to everyone who contributed. I'm sure some of those words will end up in a published book in the not-so-distant future. (Everyone out there has their fingers crossed, right?)
Your collective message to the husband on the Dr. Phil show is clear: "Make up your mind if you want to have a shot at a successful marriage!"