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Commitment: What Does it Really Mean?

Updated on February 8, 2013

Until Death Do Us Part?

Like a lot of things in life commitment means different things to different people.

Some believe it means once you make a decision you stick with it (no matter what) you learn along the way. There are others who go to the other extreme by stating; “I meant it when I said it.”

A commitment is a pledge or agreement to dedicate one’s efforts to insure a desired result.

Good Intentions

The majority of people on their wedding day have no thoughts of getting divorced or cheating. It’s easy to be happy when the sun is shinning and the sky is blue as one embarks on a new adventure. In essence on this day no one is lying about their intentions or desires.

Know Thyself Above All Else

One common mistake people make is signing onto something without knowing their tolerance for stress. Not everyone can withstand the same amount of pressures in life. This explains why a multi-millionaire might commit suicide over a stock crash while someone barely existing in a third world country continues to forge on. Some people are “clock watchers” and can’t wait to run out the door at 5PM and others don’t leave until the project they’re working on is complete. Before giving your word to someone it’s important to know your vices or limitations. Biting off more than you can chew does not make you a "bad person". It makes you an "irresponsible person".

Due Diligence

The care “a reasonable person” exercises to avoid harm is part of the “due diligence process”. Basically it’s the process of uncovering important details before making a decision to move forward. In relationships we call this the dating or courtship phase.

Aside from spending time together and having fun, dating is a phase for gathering information and making observations in order to determine if a person is someone we want to have an exclusive relationship with or possibly marry. Does he/she want the same things as me? Do we agree on strategy as to the best way to reach our goals?

Making promises or commitments before you have important facts is a recipe for both disappointment and failure. It takes more time to get to know someone than most people are willing to invest these days.

Beat the Clock

Another common mistake that leads to breaking promises or discovering one’s inability to follow through on a commitment is having relationship goals tied to a specific time frame. Within 6 months we should be saying “I love you” to each other. At the one year mark we should be discussing our lives in terms of building a future together which includes moving in together or getting engaged. Some couples literally go from the “infatuation phase” to becoming engaged without ever having a major disagreement! They have no idea how their mate handles stress. They don’t know if the person they’re seeing is living under a mountain of debt. Last but not least they don’t know if the person they are dating is being their “authentic self” or simply working hard to “impress them” in order to forge an emotional commitment.

Once the “Save the date notices” are mailed any doubts or trepidations are either dismissed or attributed to having “cold feet”. Venues are selected, flowers are chosen, lining up bridesmaids, groomsmen, photographer, videographer, DJ, honeymoon destination, bridal shower, bachelor & bachelorette parties consume the majority of time for the couple.

Stick a fork in it!

For many people after the wedding day is a period where they ‘relax”.

Vows have been exchanged and at long last they have someone who is “committed” to spending the rest of their life with them. Mission accomplished.

“Before marriage, many couples are very much like people rushing to catch an airplane; once aboard, they turn into passengers. They just sit there.” – Paul Getty

Getting past New

Whether we want to admit it or not most of us look forward to getting to a place or time where we can "relax" and "take things for granted".

We can’t wait for the “probation period” to end at a new job. There is an element of stress that comes with trying to hold onto something. We look forward to a time where we don’t have to put in our best efforts to “maintain our position”. Some people see this as the time where you don't have to "worry" about what you "say" or how you "act" because their mate is not going anywhere. In their mind "love and commitment" means "forever" regardless of what happens.

In reality there is no such place or time! Marriage like a job is an "at will" contract. Being in a committed relationship does not mean you can stop being good to your mate and they won't go anywhere. No one is "stuck" with anyone. You have to keep "impressing" someone to keep them. Competition never really goes away. A garden must be nurtured to remain alive.

Commitments are not written in stone

New information changes everything. If you agree to follow someone heading East to watch the sunset and along the way you discover their strategy is flawed. You realize you should be headed West…You are not under any obligation to keep going in the wrong direction just because you agreed to stick with them. Relationships are living evolving things. Communication is your GPS navigational tool to keep track of where you are heading.

A commitment is only good for as long as both parties agree on a strategy to reach a desired goal. Being committed to someone does not mean you “turn off your brain ”. You are still entitled to have “deal breakers”. In fact if you don’t have them odds are you don’t love yourself or you have low self-esteem.


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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 5 years ago

      Rebecca Jimenez, Thanks for stopping by and posting your wonderful comment!

    • profile image

      Rebecca Jimenez 5 years ago

      Great hub! Enjoyed reading it.

      A relationship is built on trust, honesty, and so on.. A happy relationship based on points you brought out, will have a healthy and lasting relationship.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 5 years ago

      Mellonyy, Thanks so much for taking the time to read my hub and post your comment. I believe the most important thing for a couple is to share the same values and have the same goals for the relationship. People that (naturally agree) with each other on the major things in life tend to be happier and stay together! :-)

    • Mellonyy profile image

      Mellonyy 5 years ago

      Great hub! I have no idea, why some people consider signing papers that they are in a committed relationship. You pointed out brilliantly!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Emma Harvey, Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience. Marrying the wrong person would have been the (real) mistake. :-) Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Nice hub and so many valid points.

      I have had a bad past relationship - we didn't get married, but lived as 'partners', although didn't feel very equal at the time.

      That was a real eye opener, and I learned from my mistake.

      I am now getting married. We live together and know each other's traits - we are compatible and know what we both want.

      A bit of life experience may cause problems but a decent person will learn from them.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Dr. Ope, Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

      You are so right, many people do see commitment as a form of bondage. They seem to forget being in a relationship or marriage (in most countries) is by CHOICE. One has to be "free" in order to make a choice. The best marriages are between people who (want) to be married to each other. No one is stuck with anyone! :-)

    • Dr.Ope profile image

      Olive Ellis 6 years ago

      Interesting hub dashingscorpio. Just looking at the picture of the couple handcuffed together - that is how most persons view a commitment as being imprisoned or in shackles. Keep sharing and all the best

    • profile image

      MsTracy222 6 years ago

      No problem ! I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      MsTracy222, Thanks for stopping by and posting your comment.

    • profile image

      MsTracy222 6 years ago

      I like your hub. Very Interesting .

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      wonderful1, Thanks for stopping by and posting your wonderul comment! (no pun intended). Ok that pun was intended!lol.

      As you read my hubs you will discover they all have one thing in common, (self empowerment). I try to remind folks that their life is generally the result of (their choices and decisions). This is especially true in relationships. Each of us (chooses) our own friends, lovers, and spouse. There's no getting around that one. Hopefully with life experience we learn to make better choices for ourselves. One of my favorite quotes is, "When we change our circumstances change". Thanks again for stopping by!

      With regard to the post I made on your profile...I meant every word of it. I believe the only way to post to a profile is when you first become a follower of a writer. There is an option to post your thoughts about them and their work. You already wrote something nice on mine as well. :-)

    • wonderful1 profile image

      Sheila Varga Szabo 6 years ago from Southern California

      Man, that was deep. I would bet money that your personality type is ENFJ, cause you sound a lot like me. Thank you for that insight.

      By the way, that was a really nice thing you wrote on my profile, and I would love to reply to you on yours, but I can't find a way to leave a comment for the life of me. Know that the respect and admiration is mutual. I'm hooked on your Hubs.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Internetwriter62, You made a valid point. People really should realize marriage/commitment is a "gift" and not an "obligation". No one wants to be taken for granted.

      Thanks again for your comment!

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Great hub, if only more people put thought into their commitment, maybe the divorce rate would diminish.

      Once my youth pastor taught us, "Marriage is a gift, not a divine obligation" Maybe if people thought that way, they might realize that there really is no rush.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Darknlovely3436, Thanks for stopping by to read and comment on my hub. It's kind of sad how much things change after marriage. I believe some people look forward to being in a (routine) and others want to strive to keep things (fresh). If only there was a way for marriages to take place just between "like minded" individuals! Maybe we would have fewer instances of divorce and infidelity. Thanks for the vote up too!

    • Darknlovely3436 profile image

      Annie 6 years ago from NewYork

      Interesting, vote up great hub

      Before marriage, many couples are very much like people rushing to catch an airplane; once aboard, they turn into passengers. They just sit there.” – Paul Getty

      love the quote

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Ingenria, Thank you for your comment, the vote up, and the tweet! :-)

      Unfortunately too many people do view marriage as the end of the road or "mission accomplished". As you said,

      "Marriage is just the beginning of a marathon of life together."

      There is no moment where one can scratch it off their "to do list" and move onto something else.

      "We're either nurturing it or we're neglecting it."

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 6 years ago

      “Before marriage, many couples are very much like people rushing to catch an airplane; once aboard, they turn into passengers. They just sit there.”

      I think that's sad but true to many couples. It doesn't have to be so.

      Marriage is just the beginning of a marathon of life together.

      Well written. Voted up and tweeted.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      bee123, Thanks for stopping by to read my hub and post a comment!

    • bee123 profile image

      bee123 6 years ago

      so true. Great hub!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Mcham Law, You are so right. Our lives are the result of the "choices" we make.

    • Mcham Law profile image

      Mcham Law 6 years ago from Round Rock, Texas

      I think you're both right! How much in love with you is someone who sticks with you because they don't have options. Real love is when they have options but they stick with you because they chose you!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Xkom, Thanks for your comment! "You are responsible for your own happiness". It makes no sense for anyone to stay in an "unhealthy relationship" simply because they said, "I do". By the same token we must also treat the ones we love as if they have "other options" because they do! No one is "stuck" with any of us. :-)

    • profile image

      Xkom 6 years ago

      Great hub! I find it very insightfull and relates to it. It is very true that there is life after making a commitment. One should not be a slave to love. If it doesn't work out, to hell with the commitment. No one should subject one to a toturous relationship in the name of love.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      rikabothra, Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment!

    • rikabothra profile image

      rikabothra 6 years ago

      Interesting read dashingscorpio and so true!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Mcham Law, Thanks for your comment and the vote up!

    • Mcham Law profile image

      Mcham Law 6 years ago from Round Rock, Texas

      very nicely done! up for sure

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 6 years ago

      Ashantina, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I truly wish I had this type of understanding in my youth! lol! You are so right! (self awareness, maturity, respect, and keeping the child alive within)are very important when it comes to having a fulfilling life!

      Terishere, Thanks so much for your comment! Self-wareness is a major key! One really has to KNOW what they are capable of handling/dealing with BEFORE they make commitments or promises. You really do have to play a sort of "what if" game before saying "Yes". Having "deal breakers" insures we still have love for ourself.

    • Terishere profile image

      Terishere 6 years ago

      Great article! Relationships need respect, understanding, patience, and if a person lacks self-awareness, it makes it difficult.

      There are definitely deal breakers, or at least there should be, otherwise you partner could walk all over you

      Up and useful!


    • Ashantina profile image

      Ashantina 6 years ago

      You have a deep understanding of relationships dashingscorpio.... I really enjoyed reading this, and it most def takes a high level of love, self awareness, maturity, RESPECT and 'keeping the child alive within' for both parties to truly make a union work.



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