When You Commit, Who Are You Committing To?

Today, I was thinking about commitment. Your level of commitment is not dictated by your partner. Granted, there may be things that you love about your partner that makes you want to commit to them, but the commitment you make is about you and you alone. If you choose to be committed to someone else, you are making an agreement with yourself. If you get married in a church, then you are making a covenant between you and God. But, it always comes back to you.

What does that mean? It means that no matter what your partner does or doesn’t do, your ability to commit to them is your responsibility to yourself. If you cheat on the other person, you are really cheating on yourself. That may sound odd, but you never actually cheat on the other person. You cheat yourself out of the commitment to whatever rules you decided that you would live up to within the bounds of the relationship. The integrity of the relationship is only as strong as your personal integrity. In order to cheat, you have to give yourself permission. You have to make up new rules that say that you are permitted to ignore your commitment. You may blame it on your partner if it makes you feel better, but it is still your commitment that you are breaking. It’s the commitment to yourself.

“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”-Buddha

This reason is why there can be difficulty in relationships. Each person in the relationship has their own commitment which has its own rules. In marriage, you make a vow and spell it out for the other person what they can expect from you. You will love, honor, cherish in sickness and in health til death do you part. In a relationship, it may not be clear what the level of commitment is and to what. Often in the beginning of a relationship, both people are open to doing anything to make the other happy. So, she will sit and watch basketball games with him. He will go to romantic movies with her. In the beginning of a relationship, you don’t always show up as yourself. You send your representative. Your representative loves everything the other person loves. As time goes on, you layoff your representative and the real you changes the rules to your commitment. She decides that she would rather watch paint dry than sit through another basketball game. He decides that he would rather play video games than sit with you through another sappy movie. The rules of your commitment can change without warning to your partner. This can lead to a struggle because when the representatives were meeting they thought it was decided that they wanted to do things together that they enjoyed.

This is why communication is important in any commitment. Also, you have to hire back your representatives on a contingency basis. If both partners can discuss the rules of their commitment so that each one agrees and is willing to provide for the needs of the other, it can make commitment a much happier union. Sometimes, each partner will have to send in their representative to do something that they would prefer not to do, just to make the other person feel special or appreciated. As a person in the relationship, you have to change the commitment to yourself. You have to commit to do things that you don’t want to do to keeps your larger commitment to your partner because you have decided that in the end that it will be better for you. Life can be wonderful alone, but relationships are designed for your growth. If you commit to your growth, then you will make choices that maintain your relationships rather than destroy them. The growth that you will experience through your commitment is to be selfless and to put the happiness of someone else before your own. You will ultimately learn what service is. And we were all made to serve others.

  “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”- Vince Lombardi