Over the years, however, the wear and tear of marital conflict has taken its toll. Do you still feel as strongly committed to your mate?
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Commitment is the solution, not the problem. Many people today are skeptical of commitment. Some would compare commitment to a ball and chain that shackles you to a bad decision. Instead, think of it as an anchor that can keep your marriage steady. A wife named Megan says, “During a conflict, one of the best things about commitment is knowing that neither you nor your spouse is leaving.”Having confidence that the marriage itself is secure—even when certain aspects of it are in turmoil—can give you a foundation from which to resolve your problems.
The bottom line: If you are experiencing problems in your marriage, now is the time to strengthen commitment, not question it. How can you do that?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Examine your view. “Married for life.” Does that phrase make you feel trapped, or does it make you feel secure? When problems arise, does leaving always loom on the horizon as a viable option? To strengthen your commitment, it is essential that you view marriage as a permanent union.
Examine your history. Your view of commitment might be influenced by what you observed in your parents. “My parents divorced when I was growing up,” says a wife named Lea, “and I worry that their experience may have left me with a negative view of commitment.” Be assured that you can make things different in your own marriage. You are not doomed to repeat your parents’ mistakes!
Examine your speech. In the heat of a disagreement with your spouse, refrain from saying things that you will later regret, such as “I’m leaving you!” or, “I’m going to find someone who appreciates me!” Such statements undermine commitment, and rather than address the issue at hand, they merely involve the two of you in an onslaught of insults. Instead of using hurtful speech, you might say something like this: “Obviously, we’re both upset. How can we work together to resolve this problem?
Send out clear ‘commitment signals.’ Keep a photo of your spouse on your desk at work. Talk positively about your marriage to others. Make it a goal to call your spouse each day while you are away. Frequently talk about “we,” and use phrases such as “my wife and I” or “my husband and I.” By such actions, you will emphasize to others—and to yourself—that you are committed to your spouse.