Back in the days of courtship, there were relatively clear steps in the formation of a long term committed relationship. Both parties entered the relationship knowing that it was a build up to marriage, and had a strong motivation to grow, maintain, strengthen and deepen the relationship.
Courtship provided the space and time for a young man and woman to share thoughts, feelings and experiences with complete trust, honesty, respect, and fairness and to explore, learn from each other and nurture each other into mature adults. Not to follow the procedures of courtship was inconceivable.
In some cultures, courtship rituals lasted several months and even years. The bonding that took place in this space and time created very strong and deep feelings of genuine affection, trust, love and commitment.
Not any more. Attitudes towards marriage have indeed changed to a point that “life-partner relationships” need to be updated to match the demands, challenges, tastes, interests, desires and lifestyles of the 21st century man and woman. Yet even with of the changing shape and tenuous nature of modern relationships, the deep longing for the experience of genuine affection, trust, love and commitment still exists.
- Without commitment, you’re always fearful of making the wrong move because you think you might drive the other person away.
- Without commitment, you don’t feel truly loved because you’re not sure about the other person’s desire to be involved in the relationship.
- Without commitment, it feels like a great risk to open your heart to someone because he or she isn’t there for you in a way that makes you feel safe.
- Without commitment, you don’t know what to expect from the other person and from the relationship because there is no structure for some kind of accountability.
- Without commitment, it’s hard to just be in the moment and enjoy the relationship because you’re always afraid of being distanced and rejected the next day.
- Without commitment, you can’t make plans for the future, because you have no guarantees that the other person will be around.
- Without commitment, you find it hard to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of relationships because there is no degree of stability to return to.
- Without commitment, you can’t form a stable and satisfying relationship because you just can’t form a committed relationship all by yourself!
- Without commitment, you’ll always wonder, “Is this the one?”
And in this age of online dating and long distance relationships where uncertainties and risks are magnified, mutual commitment is even more important.
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