posted: Sept 30, 2021
Time to Read: 5 minutes
This blog post serves as part of our six part series featuring the Cornerstones of a Healthy Relationship. You can find the list and links to the blog posts for the rest of the series below.
- Self Esteem
- Commitment (this post)
Many people hop into relationships without giving any thought to their readiness. They see someone that they are physically or emotionally attracted to and they start to get to know them better. Once this happens, they feel that the natural next step is to enter into a relationship together. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it is laden with problems. They’ve had lots of conversations, but none about one of the most important aspects of a relationship.
It’s a word that is known to evoke fear and anxiety. But why? Why are men and women so concerned about commitment? Commitment provides some level of security and predictability for your partner. It starts much sooner than when you say “I do”. It lets them know that you will do what you say that you will do. It is the glue that ideally keeps you in the relationship, even after the most difficult days. It is the intention behind the actions that you complete on a daily basis. It is the social contract on which strong, lasting relationships are built.
Questions to ask to assess the level of commitment in your relationship.
1. Am I there for my partner in all the ways that he/she needs me to be?
Your partner should be able to depend on your presence whether they are at their best or their worst. Not being reliable can send the message that you are not as committed as your partner, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and abandonment. Simply being present during conversations and validating your partner’s concerns or needs can be what is needed to set their mind at ease.
2. Do I honor the rules of our relationship when my partner is not around?
Hopefully, you and your partner have discussed the rules for your relationship. This conversation sets the parameters for what each of you believe to be acceptable behavior within your relationship. If you both have agreed that talking to friends and family about disagreements within your relationship issues is unacceptable, that means that you telling your favorite coworker about the huge fight that you two had last night is a breach of that contract. This is not honoring the commitment that you made to your partner, nor is it fostering trust within your relationship.
3. Do I care for this relationship to continue?
As tensions flare and while emotions are high, it is not uncommon for you to feel unmotivated to continue your relationship. However, after the argument is over and life has returned to normal, where do you stand? If you are not sure, it may be time for you to take an honest look at why you got into this relationship in the beginning. You may discover that this relationship still means the world to you. Or you may identify that you no longer feel that this relationship is the right fit for you. Doing the introspection and being honest with yourself are necessary to get the answers that you need for the direction of this relationship.
Every relationship needs some form of commitment or contract that has been agreed upon in order to succeed. Set yourself and your partner up for success. Ask the hard questions now to avoid having to manage the difficult situations later. Getting over the disappointment of not agreeing with your girlfriend’s definition of infidelity is much easier than getting over discovering that your girlfriend has been talking to her ex without you knowing.
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Next week’s blog: Friendships