Commitment is a conviction to stay together. This feeling is an easy mindset to have when you are headed for the altar together. You are full of love for one another and looking forward to spending forever as a couple. As you were committing to your marriage, you may not have realized just what the future would really be like. Commitment means not giving up, even when you desperately want to.
No one goes into marriage thinking it will end prematurely. But all too often, it does, causing heartache and negatively affecting the lives of everyone around them. Children suffer when their parents split up. Friends are not sure who to believe or whose side to take. Extended family members blame the other spouse, even though they once accepted and loved them.
Marriage is a verb. You can’t stay married if you don’t consciously work at it.
One of the best mindsets to have about marriage is that you are in it for the long haul. Commitment is a “’til death do us part” thing. We need to have an attitude of commitment where both partners are willing to sacrifice something for the marriage to make it as strong as possible.
How do you show your spouse that you committing to your marriage 100%? Here are six tips to keep a dedicated and devoted mindset to your spouse no matter what comes your way.
What do you picture when you picture the future with your spouse?
No matter what season you may find your marriage right now, think a few life stages ahead. If you are newlyweds, what will it be like when you have kids? If you have children, what will your life look like when your kids are older or when you’re empty nesters? Imagine your retirement together.
You can show that you are committed to your marriage by discussing those images with your spouse. Let them know that the future you picture includes them. Talk to your spouse about your dreams and goals for the future. Include them in those pursuits, and you are committing to your marriage for the long haul.
To be future-focused, set aside at least one weekend a year to get away and discuss these goals and make plans together. Talk about the things you would like to accomplish together in the coming years or decades! Make sure that you set goals that require actions from both of you so that you are integral to each other’s success.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3
Go All Out
What have you worked really hard for in your life? Maybe you went after a better job or got your degree. Did you lose weight or compete in a sport.
During the Olympics, I was watching the men’s final for the 400m hurdles. The world record going into the event was 46.70 seconds, which is just ridiculous if you ask me! Seriously, how do people run that fast?
Rai Benjamin from the United States broke that record, finishing in 46.17, but he didn’t win! A 25-year-old Norwegian named Karsten Warholm crushed the record by finishing more than half a second faster, at 45.94 seconds.
He went all out, leaving everything on the track to achieve his goal of winning a gold medal in the Olympics and breaking the world record (which will probably stand for a very long time). Many of the people in that race, and other races, fall to the track after crossing the finish line. They gave their all to something meaningful to them.
When you go all out in your commitment to your marriage, you put forth the greatest possible effort to feel committed and help your spouse feel secure. Show your spouse that you are enthusiastic about your marriage no matter how long you’ve been married. Build a commitment mindset and put that mindset into action with the words you say and the actions you take for your spouse.
Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture
Another way to show your spouse how committed you are to your marriage is to be particular about the issues you let upset you. Since none of us are perfect, there will always be conflicts to overcome. Which of those conflicts poses a life or death problem for your marriage?
Marriage can be like a television or computer screen. Sometimes a pixel or two can black out. And although those missing pixels can be a little annoying, they don’t generally obscure the big picture. Ignore the things that are just annoying and save your discussions for the things that are affecting the big picture you have for your marriage.
In other words, whenever you feel upset about something, try to imagine how many pixels are affected in the big picture of your marriage. If the picture is distorted, then it is worth bringing up.
Be willing to compromise.
You can’t always get what you want. (Did you sing that line along with the Rolling Stones?) And in marriage, you have to be willing to not even try. If you and your spouse are far apart on a subject, both of you have to be ready to give up some of what you want to do what is best for your marriage. What is best for your marriage is not always what you want.
Some ways you can compromise are:
- Meet in the middle. Do you want to go on vacation for a week, but your spouse insists on just a weekend? Offer a four or five-day trip.
- Offer to do one thing for your spouse if they’ll do something for you. If one of you wants to go out with friends, and the other is looking forward to a romantic dinner for the two of you, agree to do both.
- This time my way, next time yours. Take turns choosing activities. Let go of the control and let your spouse pick next time.
Build a strong friendship
Be your partner’s best friend. Friendship is a vital component of a healthy marriage. There is absolutely no one in the world I would rather spend time with than my husband. He is the one that I can run to and share the great things that happen and the shoulder to cry on when things go wrong. I’ve had some really great friends in my life, but he’s the best. That adds a layer to our marriage, a deeper connection.
You should absolutely have same-sex friends, but if you are more attached to them than to your spouse, there’s a connection problem you need to deal with. Committing to your marriage requires putting quality time with your spouse ahead of time with other people in your life.
Committing to your marriage also requires a set of realistic expectations. You and your partner are flawed human beings who will have days where you are, well, not the nicest. (Where are my grumpy morning people?) Understanding that living together will bring these flaws to light.
Give your spouse some grace, and don’t expect them to change. Sixty-nine percent of problems in marriage are “unsolvable” because they are related to childhood experiences and temperament. Yes, we all can improve ourselves, but we can’t demand it from our spouses.
Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20
Remember that they were not raised in your house by your family. The expectations and roles of the family members were different than what you are used to. We naturally assume everyone learned the same lessons from their childhood as we did. They didn’t. Don’t expect them to do things like you think they should.
Enjoy the differences between you instead of fighting over them.
So think about where you are in your marriage right now. Are you committed to making it work no matter what?
I once knew a couple who were on track to divorce. They went to a marriage counselor who asked them how dedicated they were to saving the marriage. He said 10. She said zero.
On a scale of one to ten, how committed are you? Do you show it in your daily interactions with your spouse? Which of these six mindsets we’ve talked about today are you not as likely to do? Choose one and start committing to your marriage in a bigger and better way.
If you need more inspiration to live a more committed marriage, check out this devotional from Lifetree and Group Publishing. We: Outrageously Committed to My Marriage is a collection of real stories about real life and the commitment these men and women share in their relationships.
As we think about commitment, this article by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk over at forthefamily.org have this great list of five things to commit to in order to keep your marriage healthy. Click here to read Five Commitments to Make in Your Marriage When You Face the Hard Stuff.