Photo courtesy joedonovanbrown
What does it mean to be committed to something?
Am I to give everything for the sake of my commitment?
Will I lose myself because of my commitment?
We make commitments all the time. To jobs, community, creditors, family, spouse. At the outset, these relationships begin with a commitment; but it quickly turns into something else. If we affirm the economists claim that behavior is basically driven by self interest, then we will buy into the entitlement culture that we live in. The question for most things in our lives becomes “What’s in it for me?” This question traps us in a world where the dreamer is considered a fool. The passionate artist becomes a hopeless romantic longing for love that can never be attained.
The implication of this type of world is that if you don’t come up with a good enough offer for me, I am not interested. I deserve better. I am entitled to more from you. You owe me something. If I am to care about what you have to offer, there must be a payoff.
If my commitment is conditional on your response or delivery of a promise, then it never really was a commitment. It was a deal.
In marriage, or any committed relationship, how do you balance commitment with the give and take relationships require? Having a marriage fully alive requires following your dreams and desires. It requires taking a risk to look foolish. To live from integrity. Or better stated, altruistic integrity. It further requires that you let your partner in on the process. Because in many ways, if the marriage is going to last, they have an impact on the journey.
A natural part of any relationship is the limitations they impose on life. But do these limitations mean you no longer live life? No. You can incorporate your dreams into your marriage or your marriage into your dreams. As you read the rest of this post, keep this in mind: relationships are choice. It is possible to live a life fully alive and stay married. In fact, staying married as you live fully alive only increases the joy as you share the journey.
If you are struggling in a marriage, ask yourself these questions.
What matters to you, really?
What make you come alive?
What stirs something deep within?
If these questions are too difficult, here’s a few that may help you discover their answers.
What are your dreams that are unfulfilled today?
What did you want to do or experience in life?
How much of your dreams have become reality?
It could be that the disconnectedness you feel at times is due to these unrealized dreams. It’s not too late for you to create your own “Bucket List” or clarify a Dreamline.
Other questions you can explore:
What do you want said at your funeral?
How do you want to be remembered?
What will be your legacy?
Answering these questions will stretch you to determine more about what you want in life and relationship. More about the impact you want to have on others.
Then compare these answers with the manner in which you live your life, this will uncover any regrets or shame. Once these are revealed, work to amend them.
Live a life fully alive! Take the risk. Make the commitment to life now. There’s no need to wait for a better deal to come along.