In Romantic relationships the assurance of a deep and lasting commitment remains the elusive butterfly for many who wish to take the relationship to the next level: Marriage. The strength of the bond linking one individual to another is the best predictor of a long and lasting union and that bond depends on their connectedness which is predicated on shared value systems, core beliefs, and understanding. The simple fact is that, in the long term, the more similar we are to our love partner, the stronger the bond.
Traditionally viewed as the bedrock of our family oriented culture, marriage, for many couples, is looked upon as the ultimate commitment between two individuals. Visions of spending their lives together are part of the mutual understanding that couples share as they enter wedlock with no ideas or plans of breaking the bond and ending the marriage at some future time. Yet, the vows made on the day they wed somehow lose their power and, for many couples, the love and commitment once shared is no longer. The divorce rate in the US is more than 50%.
This means that one of every two marriages ends up in divorce. Reasons for divorces include poor communication, financial problems, spousal abuse, and, of course, infidelity. The bottom line is that something changed from the day they said “I do” to the fateful day of surrender when all they can say is “I’m done”. So, what happened to commitment? Well, for one thing the term means different things to different people.
Commitment is a concept that can only be measured by the degree of intimacy, closeness, and shared feelings that two people have for one another. It’s like preparing a robust, yet delicate bouillabaisse. First we add a spoonful of attraction , then a sprinkling of friendship followed by a cupful of shared intimacy, and, finally, a healthy helping of commitment, stirring gently and letting the aroma of love permeate our senses. Voila! We have Romantic love. Over time, Romantic love blends into Companionate love which is when just being together is pleasurable and satisfying and the nearness of the loved one can be felt from across the room. It has its roots firmly embedded in the commitment that sustains the relationship through the good times and the “not so good” times, and it is the overwhelming feeling of loyalty and devotion that is shared with that one person who is our lover and friend throughout our lives together.