This is the deeper meaning of commitment
Posted Tuesday, July 31 2012 at 19:00
- Your spouse will disappoint you once in a while, so it’s a good idea to have at least two reasons to stay in the relationship when you just want to pack and leave
I once came across a quote that says: “You are not responsible for everyone that knocks at your door, but you are responsible for everyone you let in.”
This sentence speaks volumes about the responsibility placed on us by the commitments we make to others. This week, we will examine the issue of commitment in the context of relationships.
Committing to self
When we get into a relationship, we already have our own values and principles. These provide the blueprint of our lives, determining whom to admit into our lives and whom to reject.
As we engage with people, these become increasingly important in making the myriad decisions expected of us, from the mundane and routine to the complex. It is, therefore, important that we make a commitment to our own values because this way, we give our relationship the support it needs.
It is amazing how easy it is for some people to get completely swallowed by a relationship to the extent of losing their personalities. This is unhealthy for a relationship. The mathematics of marriage, as we are reminded at every wedding, is 1+1, and not ½+½=1. In other words, one has to be full to effectively compliment their partner.
Committing to your partner Commitment to the person means a lot of things, but one stands out — accepting them for who they are. It is a promise to stand by them, to share their good and bad times, to love them.
Acceptance is a universal human emotional need that is the basis of security in any relationship. This, in my view, is the beginning of any relationship, a bonding of souls in an almost mythical intertwine.
Relationships once started acquire a life of their own, providing purpose for their existence that can very easily exclude the very people who initiated them in the first place. Constraints associated with children, business, work, and other commitments can make spouses to ignore each other, to the detriment of the relationship.
Committing to the relationship
As is bound to happen, soon after the honeymoon, the hitherto smooth corners peel off to reveal some pretty prickly edges. One pastor back in the day repeatedly warned the couple getting married that the person they saw in a suit and beautiful wedding gown could turn out to be very different once the clothes came off.
The physical, he would add, may not be as troubling, even if the person had a body that resembled a badly done chapati. At least that could be covered by clothes and darkness. Not so with character, though, and many times when you wonder what blinded you, it is commitment to the relationship that helps you to hang in there.
Some theorists consider this to be the most important factor in a successful relationship.
One of these is Cherry Noris, who argues, “Do your part and hope your partner does theirs. People are imperfect human beings. We all screw up. Therefore, commit to the relationship and not your partner. Your partner will disappoint you at times. (Sad, but true.) So it’s a good idea to have at least two reasons to stay in the relationship when you want to ‘kill ’em’.”
While I agree that this aspect is a important, I am of the opinion that commitment must begin with the individuals committing to self and to each other as the foundation for a successful relationship.
In conclusion, I would say that commitment in relationships must be holistic.
Individuals need to commit to their own values to have the ability to relate effectively. On the other hand, the soul of any relationship is the commitment that couples make to each other. But as experience shows, there are times when you are “out of each other” and the survival of the relationship rests solely on your commitment to the relationship.
The writer is a counsellor. Do you have a question? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org