What Does Commitment Actually Mean in a Marriage?
It seems that whenever anyone talks about divorce, the C word comes up — commitment. The problem with couples today, the typical comment goes, is that they just don’t know what commitment means.
OK, so what does commitment in a marriage mean?
It isn’t declaring, “I like this relationship and I’m committed to it,” or at least that’s what two UCLA researchers who’ve explored what commitment means have to say.
A deeper — and essential, if you want your marriage to last — level of commitment is needed. It’s a commitment to be willing to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work, and that means there are going to be many times when you’re just not going to get your way. And you’re going to have to be OK with it, they say.
“It’s easy to be committed to your relationship when it’s going well. As a relationship changes, however, shouldn’t you say at some point something like, ‘I’m committed to this relationship, but it’s not going very well — I need to have some resolve, make some sacrifices and take the steps I need to take to keep this relationship moving forward. It’s not just that I like the relationship, which is true, but that I’m going to step up and take active steps to maintain this relationship, even if it means I’m not going to get my way in certain areas’? This is the other kind of commitment: the difference between ‘I like this relationship and I’m committed to it’ and ‘I’m committed to doing what it takes to make this relationship work.’ When you and your partner are struggling a bit, are you going to do what’s difficult when you don’t want to? At 2 a.m., are you going to feed the…