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For better or worse – what is a committed marriage?

You maybe think that to have a successful marriage that lasts, you have to pick up hubby’s dirty clothes behind him, cook dinner every evening, look after the children, tell him often how much you love him, make love to him regularly, be loyal to him and who knows what else. If you don’t do that, you’re not loyal, you are a bad wife and hubby is going to walk out the door . . . or at least that’s what you think. But what does it mean to have a truly committed marriage?
Yes, commitment is the key word when it comes to a successful marriage, but it doesn’t mean that one should be the other one’s slave. We’re also not talking about commitment in the sense that you are not allowed to cheat on him, but it is rather a choice that you make every day to be committed to your marriage and to be willing to do the work that it takes to be a success.

Commitment: the key to a successful marriage
Dennis Leese focuses on the importance of commitment in his article on, “The most important ingredients to a healthy marriage”. He explains that both partners must be committed to the marriage to make it work, and that commitment is a terrible word for some people that cause them to run away from it. “It creates thoughts of a ball and chain, a nagging partner and accounts that pile up, but if you grow and want to have success in your marriage, both parties must be committed to work towards the same values and goals.”

Carol Ann says in her article, “Marriage and the true love in it”, that she compares marriage to a dance – both partners must work together to reach the same goals, to adapt and to change as the circumstances dictate.

“There’s no way that your marriage can avoid the daily challenges and stumbling blocks. Some people will use it as an excuse to get out of the relationship, and some will see it for what it is: an opportunity to grow. To have marital problems, does not mean that there are problems with the marriage – it’s part of life, and true love means to find a way together to work through it and to stay committed.”

It simply means that you and hubby must decide together which tasks are whose responsibility, you must support each other in the respective tasks, and when the storms come, you must know your partner is standing behind you through thick and thin.

Choose commitment
According to Julie Lowe from, you can’t make a marriage work without commitment because your marriage then can’t grow and flourish.
You most likely ask: How do you do it? Where do I begin, what’s involved and how do I choose it every day?

If you are not yet married or are standing on the verge of getting married, you must ensure that you look deep into yourself and ask yourself the following questions: Is this (to get married) what you really want? Are you prepared to make the necessary commitments that your marriage will demand? Is your partner someone who you will stand with through thick and thin? When you make the decision, stay committed to it.

If you are already married, you must know that commitment is a choice you have to make every day. You choose every day to love your partner, to support him and to show it by caring for him, to say you love him, to make time for him, etc. (And yes, naturally this applies to him too – he can also pick up some dirty socks, cook and hand out compliments!)

Julie also writes that it’s important to remember that a marriage is all about decisions and that marriage is not just an emotion, but also a choice. “To make a marriage work, is not an easy task, but if you and your partner are committed to each other and you both keep your commitments, things will fall into place as you want it to. Naturally this doesn’t mean that your marriage won’t get a few kinks in the cable every now and again, but a commitment to support and help each other will help to overcome the problems more quickly.”

Tips for a committed marriage
With choices come priorities – what lies at the top of your list, what enjoys preference and what can wait for later.

Tony Derbyshire from explains that commitment should be one of your highest priorities. “A relationship is something that you must work on, and it requires care and effort if you want your marriage to blossom and grow. A beautiful flower gets more beautiful when it gets care and attention to prevent it from dying. The same applies to marriages!”

Some people stay married for the sake of their children or out of obligation towards God, their family or friends. We can admire those people’s dedication, but we need more than a sense of responsibility to be happy. True commitment stretches further than loyalty and responsibility and is formed through duty, trust, friendship, hard work and a long-term vision for the relationship.

Here are a few practical tips for commitment:

Step 1: Make your relationship a priority. How important is your relationship to you? How much time have you spent with your partner recently? What specific things have you done to protect your relationship? Does your partner know that you are committed? How can you both find out?

Step 2: You must both get a pen and paper ready. Make five categories: money, work, marriage, entertainment and friends. Number each item according to what you think your partner’s priorities are. Swop your lists and talk about the changes that you can make to make your commitment even stronger. You must ask yourself: What can I do to show more interest in the things that interest my partner?

Step 3: Get rid of all forms of infidelity. It does unbelievable damage to your unity. This includes pornography or a romantic relationship with a colleague or friend. Ask yourself: When last did I flirt with my spouse? If you are attracted to someone else, limit your contact with that person and keep it professional.

Step 4: Show a bit of initiative during the day to show your partner that you are committed to your marriage. Whether your marriage is rock-solid or a bit wobbly, make time to spend with each other. Always work on staying committed to your marriage.

“Everyone is busy these days, but try to make time for quality time together as often as possible,” says Tony. Celebrate each other’s successes and support each other through thick and thin.
Dirty socks, cooking, hard work and sweat to raise the children – in other words, the work that a marriage takes – is most likely not what a bride thinks of on her wedding day. The reality is that a marriage lasts much longer than the wedding and the last waltz, and that you must realize that you have to choose every day in your own way to be committed to your marriage.
Remember that commitment to a marriage comes from two sides. Hubby must also choose the marriage and commitment and you must decide together to work on it. If you do that, you don’t have to worry that the other one will leave.
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