I could write several posts on this single word (and probably will).
We hear it all the time, “I need commitment”, “they’re afraid to commit”, “why can’t people just commit?”, etc. I’m sure you’ve either heard or said some variant or another of these phrases. Having been in committed relationships where I was fully committed in some and only “mostly” committed in others, I’ve come to learn and respect the various layers of the word ‘commitment’. In short, it is not to be taken lightly. I feel that, like most beautiful ideas about relationships, commitment is an idea that is romanticized and it is not fully understood what it means and what it carries. Commitment means far more than just being faithful and forsaking all others. No, it goes much much deeper than that. And if you’re not careful, you can end up hurting someone or being hurt deeply.
What I came to learn is that a healthy, thriving, relationship requires multiple commitments. Not only are multiple commitments necessary, they need to be the right commitments. So naturally, the follow up question is, what are the different kinds of commitments? Well, there’s a total of 6 (3 for each person). But here they are:
- A commitment to the relationship
- A commitment to the other person
- A commitment to yourself
Now, I know many people reading this are going to think that the first 2 are the same. They are not. A commitment to the relationship means you honor and respect the rules, boundaries, and expectations you two have set for the relationship. This definitely includes staying faithful (if that’s what you two have stipulated), as well as maintaining boundaries with other people in your life. This also includes making a concerted effort to make sure that the relationship is thriving. Taking it upon yourself to pay attention and see what needs work and doing the work. On the flipside, this also means making sure that you communicate to your partner what you need and want from them and the relationship.
A commitment to the other person looks a little different. This commitment is when you hold and uplift your partner to a higher standard. What this looks like is supporting and loving them through their journey in life. This means holding them accountable when they slip, and praising them as they rise and become better versions of themselves. And whenever you see something they need to work on, you let them know with love and support. You are committed to being a witness and supporter of their growth and progress towards their goals. Additionally, you take personal responsibility for satisfying their needs and desires from you and the relationship. And no, you aren’t responsible for their happiness, but you are definitely responsible for doing your part in providing what they need and want from you.
The commitment to yourself is essential. What this means is setting boundaries as well as personal goals for yourself. This means knowing full well what you want and need from your partner and relationship. Some boundaries include how they speak to you, how they treat you in public, how they treat you when they’re angry, etc. You must set the tone as to what’s acceptable and what’s not. In addition, you must have personal aspirations. This does not mean get a better job, but rather personal development aspirations. For example, being a better listener, not being so quick to judge and/or dismiss, etc. Basically, a commitment to be a better you; for yourself, for them, and for the relationship.
All of these 3 commitments are critical for a relationship to thrive. If any one is lacking or misplaced, you’re headed for disaster. So what say you? Which commitments were missing in your past relationships? What commitments were you missing? What were they missing? Tell me about it in the comments!
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