What Does Commitment Actually Mean in a Marriage?

And is there always an asterisk for infidelity?

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.

“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 baby?”

There are many ways to be committed, but the “I’m willing to sacrifice for us” way is the one that’s going to give your marriage a better chance at succeeding, the researchers say.

Award-winning journalist, coauthor of “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels,” mom, changing the narrative about older women

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