Commitment is an essential quality in any healthy, long-term relationship. In a traditional marriage, the vows that get expressed are – “forsaking all others.” Imagine if those same vows were the underlining foundation in every relationship?
So, what would that look like?
Commitment is more than gritting one’s teeth to forsake “all others.” Instead, it is a life-time process of choosing your loved one over-and-over, again-and-again, when relationship alternatives come your way. The Bible says, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).
You see, in a long-term committed relationship, people are interdependent, not independent, and thus, they look to this sacred relationship, this sacred trust, to have their central needs met. Losing that would be traumatic – and may I add, should be.
Carol Rusbult, a key commitment researcher, observed that this favorable comparison of choosing your loved one over-and-over, again-and-again, is the power behind loyalty. For people in a committed relationship cherish one another; they think fondly of one another when they are apart; they are grateful for who their spouse/child/friend is. Such commitment promotes emotional safety, and that emotional safety promotes intimacy. And when you think about it, sounds a lot like God’s covenant with us, doesn’t it?
Now, let me give you five things to consider when it comes to being committed to such relationships:
1. Examine your heart. How often do you make negative comparisons between the one you love and to whom you are committed and any other alternative relationships? The more you choose your loved one over all others, the greater your level of commitment will be.
2. Express appreciation, admiration, and gratitude. Cultivate an attitude of cherishing the positive qualities of those you love instead of complaining about their qualities you do not like. And make sure you express such appreciation, admiration, and gratitude to those you love.
3. Begin relationship building conversations. Now, this not only takes commitment, but effort. You will have to carve out time, and protect that time, in a world of busy.
4. Do the “little things.” Doing the “little things” daily have a greater impact than doing greater things occasionally. Start by making a list of the small actions that you can take to demonstrate your commitment to others.
5. Revamp your calendar. No two ways about it. Your calendar reflects your commitments. What can you put in your calendar today that will reflect your commitment to those you love?
We are in the people business my friends – and the right people to begin with, are those you say you love the most.