- Is Commitment
Enough? Part 2
- By Barrington H.
Brennen, February 27, 2002, 2017
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.
are seven ways spouses take for granted the commitment in their marriages:
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
going on separate vacations.
or permanent conflicting work schedules that divide the couple’s sleeping
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Barrington H. Brennen, MA, NCP, BCCP, a marriage and family
therapist and board certified clinical psychotherapist,
USA. Send your questions or comments to
firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box
CB-13019, Nassau, The Bahamas, or visit
www.soencouragement.org or call 242-327-1980.