When people first hear the word commitment, they often think of it in terms of vows said in front of a room full of people.
In truth, commitment is incredibly private.
Happy couples don’t just say “I do” once; they find a way to reinforce it to one another daily.
It happens way before a wedding or commitment ceremony. Somewhere along the way, two people basically say to one another, “you’re my person, and I want to be your person from now on. It’s irrelevant what anyone else thinks.
“Splendid isolation is for planets, not people.” ~Sue Johnson
Humans are not designed for isolation. This has been proven time and time again. Solitary confinement was originally conceptualized by the Quakers who believed it would be helpful in criminals rehabilitation. The idea was that they could be alone with their thoughts in total silence to heal through contemplation and meditation.
But you probably already know that that is not what happened at all. People started exhibiting symptoms of psychosis. Solitary confinement is now used as the worst kind of punishment and torture.
Suffering is part of life; but suffering alone is intolerable.
Not only that, but there are multiple health benefits to being in a long-term committed relationship. Harvard University researchers found that lack of strong human connection is up there with obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
Here’s the data:
The risk of heart attack and stroke is double. People with social support live an average of 7 years longer, and lack of strong social connection leads to premature death.
Even though we know that people in close, intimate relationships are healthier and happier, it is often misunderstood in that people assume it needs to be a primary romantic relationship. The good news is that any strong consistent emotional bond will bring you this comfort whether it is family, friendship or long-term mentorship.
Maybe it sounds cliché or sappy, but regardless of the type of relationship, human beings are difficult, and relationships require hard work.
Everyone knows you have to water your plants if you don’t want them to die. But if you want them to thrive, you have to figure out how much light they need, and you have to pinch off the dead leaves (and a bunch of other stuff I always forget to do).
The same is true for your relationship.
The way to make your relationship thrive is by saying “I do” every single day.
Your commitment is reinforced every single time you greet one another to say hello and goodbye with your full attention. Simple things like asking one another how their day was will bring a sense of connection and belonging. The commitment is reinforced every time you let your partner see that your world stops when they are in pain.
Whether your primaty attachyment figure is a romantic partner or a long-term best friend, you are lucky to have someone to go through life with.