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Is Commitment Enough? Part 2
By Barrington H. Brennen, February 27, 2002

What does it mean to really commit to a marital relationship? Commitment is not a mental assent to a euphoric ideological image of marriage. Instead it is work, lots of it. Last week I indicated that there are at least three kinds of commitments in marriage. The first is a commitment to a happy marriage. The problem is that this type of commitment only lasts as long as the happiness. Secondly, there is a commitment to marriage itself. This kind of commitment occurs when couples just "rough it out" because "it is the Lord’s will." I call this blind commitment. Thirdly, there is a commitment to both marriage, happiness, and the spouse. This is healthy commitment. I call it total commitment.

COMMITTED TO WORK
Commitment involves physical, emotional, and spiritual loyalty to the relationship. To accomplish this requires lots of hard work by both spouses. Too many spouses take for granted the commitment of their partners. Thus, they do things that in the long run destroy the relationship.

Here are seven ways spouses take for granted the commitment in their marriages:

  1. Regularly going on separate vacations. Vacations are times for couples or family closeness. It is a big mistake to seek fun during vacation times without your spouse. It is dangerous to marital health.

  2. Long-term or permanent conflicting work schedules that divide the couple’s sleeping times together. The marriage bed is designed for two people to sleep in at the same time. It is a time for nurture and care, cuddling and romance. To regularly ignore sleeping together (because of work schedules) robs the marriage of a basic ingredient for marital happiness.

  3. Living in different countries, or away from each other in a different part of the same country. It is not a marriage when husband and wife cannot live together in the same house or country and only come together once or twice a year to make love. This just sounds like legal prostitution. It is a recipe for marital discords and affairs.

  4. Placing the relationship with your children above the relationship with your spouse. Nothing takes the place of your spouse in marriage–children, job, church, money, or relatives. When spouses are second in a relationship, commitment is thrown out of the window.

  5. Living financially independent lives. Happy is the married couples whose all financial assets are monitored by both spouses. Too many couples enter into marital fights because their financial assets are not joined in a marital whole, and either spouse feel that the other in intruding into his or her personal life when questions about money comes up. They take each other’s love for granted. They believe that their intense love will squash the need for financial oneness. This is a big mistake.

  6. Neglecting to affirm each other every day. Every day of the marriage couples should find something to say to do that will honor or show love for the person in their life. Neglecting to do something nice each day is taking for granted commitment. Just as we must eat and drink every day to live and keep healthy, so marital relationships need the food of love, affirmation each day for survival. Lack of daily affirmation will surely bring a slow, painful death to the marriage.

  7. Constantly forgetting or ignoring special days. There is no excuse when a spouse habitually forgets his or her partner’s birthday. It does not matter how great the love making, or how much food is in the kitchen cupboards; ignoring wedding anniversaries, birthdays, or even important family ritual times together, simply because you think they are not important, is dangerous to marital health.

It is foolish for a husband to say: "I don’t have to worry about my wife. She will never leave me." It is also foolish for a wife to say "My husband doesn’t mind me going out each night. He is a quite man who always likes to be home." These are only excuses to ignore what is profoundly more important to long-lasting marital happiness–physical closeness and togetherness.

Dear friends, stop taking for granted the love of your spouse for you. Remember, commitment is an action word, not just mental agreement. Keep your marriage on fire with total commitment–a commitment to happiness, each other, and the marriage vows. Act on it now.

 
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Permission is granted place links to these articles on social media like Google+, FaceBook, etc..    Permission is also granted to print these pages and to make the necessary copies for your  personal use, friends,  seminar, or meeting handout.  You must not sell for personal gain, only to cover the cost to make copies if necessary.    Written permission (email) is needed to publish or reprint articles and materials in any other form.   Articles written by Barrington H. Brennen, Counseling Psychologist, Marriage & Family Therapist.  P.O. Box CB-13019,  Nassau, The Bahamas.   
 
 question@soencouragement.org or barringtonbrennen@gmail.com  Phone contact is 242-327 1980.   
 
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