Commitment: Liberation or Prison Sentence?

I work with couples, lots of them; married, dating, co-habitating and have found that committed couples have an advantage because they have a ground to stand on, a solid space in which to explore the craft of relating. However, like most things in life, commitment has a price. Let us take a closer look at that price and more importantly, at the value of commitment.

Waking up next to the same person every morning can be less than thrilling. You have heard their stories, some of them you might even know by heart. You are opening your front door to the same face, no matter how beautiful it is; as opposed to the excitement that comes from kissing a new  face for the first time.

Yet waking up to that same person also holds the key to being deeply and truly seen, to feeling less alone in this world and to knowing that there is someone out there who has your back and carries the sometimes heavy weight of the world with you.

What is commitment really? The author Neil Strauss says this, “Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it’s a relationship, a business or a hobby.” I agree. Depth and expertise come from choosing and sticking with one thing and investing in that one thing versus a broad but shallow field of too many options to dabble in.

Commitment requires dedication, requires choosing; it is an action, not a passive occurrence that is happening to us. Unlike falling in love, which has an air of unpredictability, of no choice but happenstance, loving and commitment are an act of will, not of chance. We choose to love and to commit and then we act accordingly, whether we feel like it or not. Feelings are fleeting; intentions give us a guiding post for when we do not feel like doing what we promised to do.

We know by now that it takes about ten thousand hours of practicing that thing we want to be good at. Being good at relationship therefore takes time. Can I not become a skillful partner with different people? You might. However, being with the same person has a distinct advantage. You are becoming not only an expert at the art of relationship, but also an expert at this one particular person. You have the chance to know another deeply; to understand their likes and dislikes, their joys and sorrows and thus knowing this person better than anyone else does.  What an amazing privilege and honor!

How would therapy help me?

As a therapist, I can walk the fence between dating and commitment with you and with mindfulness and guided imagery accompany you to the next step.

If you have doubts within a committed relationship, therapy can shed light on the areas you gave up on. As a therapist, I can help you find strategies to rekindle dormant passion and strengthen the friendship you long for.

I leave you with a quote by Criss Jami author of “Venus in Arms”, “To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.” 

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Posted in Relationships

Rudi Lion MFT
(805) 453-4826

2020 Alameda Padre Serra
Suite 217
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Near Santa Barbara Mission and downtown Santa Barbara, close to 101 freeway, easy access from freeway, wheelchair friendly, easy access from Goleta and Carpinteria. Click for Driving Directions.

Skype counseling sessions available to remote locations.

Specialties include couples therapy, EMDR, short term therapy, trauma therapy and PTSD therapy.