It may surprise you.
But some of the worst relationships out there?
They are the most committed.
There are couples who have been together for years.
Usually in the state of alleged “wedded bliss.”
Of course there’s nothing blissful about it.
Yet people look at them and say, “Wow! Don’t they have a successful relationship?”
All because they are “still together after all these years.”
In most people’s minds, successful monogamy is measured by how many years you’ve been a couple. As if that has anything much to do with relationship success.
It’s sad really to see how far we’ve fallen.
But have we fallen really?
Maybe it’s just that we’re still waiting to learn our lesson about all this.
These days there’s lots of talk.
All about the abysmal state of long term monogamy.
About the horrible divorce statistics.
And what do they suggest?
A minimum of 50% of marriages end in failure in our modern day.
Add the people still married but are unhappy?
You can raise that number to 80-83%!
A lot of people think marriage used to work but now it doesn’t because the divorce rates are so high today when they weren’t before. But all this really represents is the “empowerment of women” now.
Marriages weren’t wonderful in “the good old days” either.
Long term monogamy is just plain difficult to pull off.
Girls back then were disappointed with the lack of connection with their partners too.
They just couldn’t do anything about it.
They were financially dependent on their spouses.
They were essentially “kept in their place” by the social realities of the time.
Once you girls became socially able to support yourselves?
Everything changed and the divorce rate sky rocketed.
65% of all divorces are instigated by you girls.
Since you don’t need to put up with your partners anymore if you aren’t happy?
You just file for no fault divorce and move on.
Some people think no fault divorce is a terrible thing. It makes it too easy to end your relationship. The old laws made it hard so you “stuck it out” and that was supposedly a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m a believer in working things through with your partner.
Making it past the hard times and all of that
Bailing on your partner at the first sign of trouble?
That shows a complete lack of character.
And really a lack of love for your partner.
I don’t recommend that at all.
If you really value your partner, you’re going to find out how you can work through your challenges. But commitment to your relationship is still a bad idea nonetheless.
Why do I say this?
Because this turns your relationship into an entity.
Something other than the actual connection between the two of you.
Your relationship is not a contract.
It is not an agreement.
It is not something to be negotiated.
Your relationship is the romantic love that actually exists.
Right NOW between the two of you.
It is about the fact you currently value each other.
You desire to give yourselves to each other because of this.
When we use the word relationship we’re really just using that word as short hand. What it stands for is your actual living romantic connection in the here and now.
This connection isn’t something that can be legislated.
Which is why traditional monogamous marriage is such a mistake.
It creates the illusion of a relationship without one.
By putting a legal structure in place you can point to.
You can say “See, I have a relationship!”
“I made a commitment back then.”
“I signed on the dotted line.”
“I haven’t dissolved that agreement yet.”
In the meantime?
You are not connecting with your partner.
You are not spending time together.
You are not talking about important things.
You are not showing each other affection or making love.
But you still have a relationship right?
Because you made a commitment and you’re “still together.”
This whole thing is very personal to me. I grew up in Evangelical Christian circles where commitment in marriage is a big deal. They even go so far as to insist that love is a CHOICE.
Well I can tell you I was committed to my marriage for years.
I was faithful and never fooled around.
I stayed forever.
To me love was a choice.
But my partner was left in an emotional desert the whole time nonetheless.
My commitment didn’t meet her emotional needs.
What she needed was for me to feel for her.
To actually be connected to her emotionally.
To be IN LOVE.
She was abandoned and lonely despite the fact we remained together and were committed. On the outside everybody thought we had a great relationship.
“Look how long they’ve lasted!”
But emotionally it was a farce.
I knew I wasn’t emotionally connective and it tortured me.
I just didn’t know what to do.
But it was a farce nonetheless.
No amount of ongoing commitment changed the fact our relationship was not where it needed to be.
Again, the word relationship is just short hand.
It means your actual romantic connection right NOW.
And we didn’t have one.
So our marriage was not at all successful.
Even though it lasted so long.
This is why I say commitment to your relationship is a bad idea.
If you truly love your partner you don’t need anyone or anything to make you say so. You just do. It will show by the things you feel and because you feel by the things you do.
If you aren’t doing those things?
Nothing external means anything.
Signing a marriage contract?
Agreeing together you’re “a couple?”
It adds absolutely nothing to this.
You either love each other and are presently seeking to express that love or your relationship doesn’t exist, no matter what commitments you’ve made in the past or claim to have in the present.
No matter what religious…
Or any other kind of external trappings you’ve put in place “around” it.
They may mean you’re committed.
But they don’t mean you’re IN LOVE.
What do you think? Are you ready to move beyond commitment and really love your partner now?