Commitment

Now honestly, how many people during courting situations and weddings promise love and affection to someone, only to break their promise? Perhaps, it could be summed up in one statement; they did not really understand what commitment is. I like the way the dictionary puts it. It describes commitment as an act of pledging and the state of being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person. I am not entirely sure of what proportion of our married couples can say that they are bound emotionally to their spouses. I would like to submit that commitment is not just about being bound emotionally or intellectually as the dictionary puts it but a combination of both. As you do one, you cannot but do the other so it is like a cycle. I have illustrated this in the stacked venn diagram below and the diagram shows that to have a lasting marriage, you need to be committed both intellectually and emotionally. The other side of the coin is that if you are emotionally committed to your spouse, then you will be intellectually committed and this leads to a lasting relationship.

So many people expect to be committed with their hearts without engaging the services of their head or intellect to commit to the success of their marriages. No wonder why their hearts are refusing to engage and they start to say things like they are no longer in love with their spouses.   In the same way, some people expect to be committed with their heads only without involving their heart, this is like kidding oneself or better illustrated, it is like sitting in front of a book and not actually reading it. To be able to have a lasting relationship, we need to not only be committed cognitively but also intuitively committed to our spouses and our relationships. Young people need to watch from a distance when looking for a spouse as the Bible ONLY endorses relationships with young men and women that lead to long term commitment and eventually to marriage. The problem with our modern dating system today is that it encourages young people to be with many people, rather than just patiently waiting for the right godly Christian young person whom you could develop a godly “FRIENDSHIP”, with hopes and Intentions of a long term commitment leading to marriage.

I have discovered that commitment is a word that is used flippantly in our generation. When used, it is alluded to with a particular time frame in mind. When you hear the word commitment from most people, it is usually during phases in their relationships when things are rosy. You will hardly hear anyone mention or re-affirm their commitment to their spouse or marriage when things are rough. Whereas, commitment is an on-going process that couples need to engage in on a daily basis, irrespective of where they are in their relationships/marriages. It is very easy to stay committed to someone who is perfect but we all know that there is no perfect person on this side of eternity. Moreover, if there was such thing, then we would not need a word such as commitment as we would all naturally know how to stay committed. Let’s look at some of the hindrances to commitment.

  1. Going into a marriage or relationship for the wrong reasons, i.e. to meet a selfish need, pressure to get married, ego, immaturity, financial gain, escapism etc.
  2. Fear of being trapped
  3. Individualism
  4. Bad precedence set by parents or people of authority figure
  5. Lack of understanding, adequate appraisal and know-how
  6. Lack of fear of God.

The list above is not exhaustive but only a handful of some of the barriers to commitment. Unless people understand what they are signing up for, they are unlikely to stick to the agreement. However, how many times have you signed a legal contract or document and failed to notice the small prints? Has this ever deterred the companies, for example a credit card company from asking you (the borrower) to fulfill your obligations, even when some have used the excuse of missing the small prints? I can guarantee you that this has never stopped a financial lender from making an individual responsible and accountable for what they signed for albeit, they may claim not to have seen the clause. Therefore, why do people commit to stick together for life, for better and for worse, yet, at the first sign of hiccups/problems, they are reneging on their promises? Shouldn’t they be held accountable also?

Commitment is exactly what makes you pay your debts even when you don’t feel like it because you are committed to paying the lender and you do so both with your heart and head otherwise, you know that there are consequences and your credibility will be questioned by other lenders in the future.

If we view our promises to our spouses like this, there is no way you will want to reverse your commitment the moment you are not feeling committed. We do not have to feel committed to be committed but we have to commit to being committed and this is what leads to a lasting marriage. That is the difference between marriages that last and those that do not. Commitment is the adhesive of marriage.

Another problem with the World’s Dating techniques is that they encourage breaking off commitments. That’s right! People date. They get emotionally and physically involved (though Christians should not) and then something comes up that bothers one or both people involved and they “break off the relationship”. This type of attitude in relationships has certainly impacted the divorce rate in society. During the dating game, we can develop an attitude that says, “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just find someone else.” This is not God’s plan. God does not want you to commit to relationships unless you intend to keep the vow.

Finally, how do you think you are doing on your commitment level to your spouse and marriage? Think of how your behavior and paradigm may be preventing you from staying committed and things you might do to commit you and your spouse to staying committed.