Marriage requires commitment- we all know that. When times are good, it’s easy to commitment. No worries, high intimacy, great communication. But what about the times when commitment is hard? When you’ve fallen out of love? When you are hurt by what they did? When you are frustrated by what they didn’t do? It’s during these times when your commitment becomes more challenging. This is a test of the strength of your marriage. This is when it hurts…
Can you accept the hurt and pain associated with true commitment?
No one wants to talk about the pain of commitment. Well let me be the first to tell you, if you stay married long enough, you will experience it. You may feel deep disappointment, anger, sadness, dismay, loss of respect, etc. Sometimes it’s easy to forgive. Other times, you can’t forgive as easily. True forgiveness is REQUIRED to move forward and truly be happy in your marriage. If you still think about it all the time, hold it over their head, make them work for your acceptance- you have not forgiven them. If you say you’ve forgiven them- then let it go. If you can’t let it go- seek guidance (self-help books, counselor, pastor, friend, prayer). If that doesn’t work, then the relationship will be unhealthy and you will both be unhappy.
People think that saying “I do” solidifies your commitment in a marriage, but it doesn’t. Saying “I do” is only the first step to the responsibility of marriage. Marriage itself is a process. A loooooong process of promising yourself- “I’m in this marriage and I will do whatever it takes to keep my marriage strong.” I think we get so caught up in the idea of marriage, that we don’t consider the process of marriage.
Marriage is not only a promise to your partner, but also a promise to yourself.
“I promise to be honest. I promise to be faithful. I promise to be open. I promise to be compromising. I promise°”
If you don’t go into a marriage with your promises- you won’t have an expectation or standard to live up to. This is why many marriages fall apart. They are not faithful to their promises, because they didn’t make any. When you are committed to your “I will” and “I will not,” this helps fortify your relationship- you just have to find a partner with the same values and standards as you.
So marriage has ups and downs. It’s to be expected- two people, two different backgrounds, two different perspectives. You won’t always agree. But when you’re committed to your relationship, you work through the problems and look toward the future. Stay focused on your goals and do everything in your power to reach them TOGETHER!
Commitment in your marriage requires a minimum of these 3 things:
- TRUST- being supportive and dependable; being honest and always be real; knowing that if you hurt them, you will acknowledge your actions and their feelings, and always being there for them as they heal
- INVESTMENT- giving your time and effort toward creating the marriage you want, putting in the work to maintain a healthy relationship, believing in your spouse and their gifts, committing to their dreams
- DEDICATION- to joint goals, dreams, aspirations; to the “process” of marriage; to learning how to be the best partner by fulfilling their needs
What you can do:
- Acknowledge you will both make mistakes and things happen that are out of your control
- Acknowledge that you only have control over your own behavior
- Acknowledge patience is key to success
- Acknowledge that it takes working together to create a healthy marriage
- Acknowledge that apologies are needed to heal
- Acknowledge that it’s your job to learn how to fulfill your spouse’s needs (they MUST tell you what those needs are (and you should listen closely- many times we assume and get it wrong)
- Acknowledge that you will not always get it right (don’t give up- just ask for clarification)
- Acknowledge that falling out of love is possible if needs are not met or damage to the foundation of the marriage occurs
- Acknowledge that when commitment is damaged or destroyed, that part of the marriage will never be the same- you can’t pretend nothing happened or try to piece things back together without truly healing- trust can be restored with acknowledgement of wrongdoing, consistent action demonstrating your promise and dedication to change, and true forgiveness (from your partner and for yourself)- you’re marriage may never be the same- but it can ALWAYS be better (if you commit to the work required)
- Acknowledge your love for one another and release your faith to believe it’s possible to re-commit and be happy again- without this belief, it can’t happen.