When It Comes to Love & Your Relationships Are You Committed or Just Interested?


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There’s a difference between being interested in something and being committed to something.  When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient.  When you’re committed to something, you make the time to do it.

The same goes for people and our relationships—marriage, parenting, friendships.

A commitment signifies a completely different level of personal involvement and personal investment of our time and energy and our care and concern and wisdom.

Thus our commitments—our ability to make and keep and honor our commitments—is dependent upon our level of personal development.

Our level of personal development is shorthand for / the sum of many things:

      • Our level of emotional maturity
      • The clarity of our thinking
      • How well we have developed our critical thinking skills
      • How much perspective we have (beginning with the end in mind; not sweating the small stuff; The Serenity Prayer)
      • What our relationship to reality and to our own mortality is like
      • How dedicated we are to ideals like truth, justice, love, beauty, virtue
      • How well developed our conscience is
      • How warm, kind, compassionate, and understanding we are (the so-called “heart qualities”)
      • How resilient we are, et cetera.

There’s a world of difference between being interested in a person ( / being interested in being in a relationship with a person), and being committed to a relationship and a person.

Even saying that we’re committed to a person or even being married to a person doesn’t actually mean we’re truly committed to that person and that relationship.  It’s quite possible to be married and not very committed to the other person or the marriage.

When we’re merely interested in a person and a relationship, it shows: we prioritize that person and give him or her attention and time *only* when it’s convenient to *us* and *only* to the extent that it’s convenient to *us.*  We don’t stretch or extend ourselves.  We’re more self-centered and focused on what we’re receiving / getting out of the relationship and from the other person rather than the quality and quantity of our giving.  The other person isn’t essential to us, he or she is peripheral to us, an accessory—expendable and replaceable.  That person and that relationship are not at the top of our list or near the top of our list, but somewhere down the list —

      1. Ego
      2. Work
      3. Pride
      4. Greed
      5. Status
      6. Gratification
      7. Then the other person, and the other person only as much as he or she is a means to these other things.

On the other hand, when we’re committed to a person and to our relationship with that person, we prioritize that relationship and that person.  We show up and not only when it’s convenient for us to do so.  We engage the person, we really look at and notice and appreciate the other person and his or her uniqueness, essence, core, and potentials and talents as well oddities.  We set aside and make ample quality time for the other person.  We don’t accept excuses from ourselves or make excuses for ourselves.  What we do speaks more loudly than what we say.  We show our level of commitment through our consistency and our behaviors, and through behaviors that show how we are extending ourselves for the relationship and the other person, prioritizing that person, honoring and cherishing the other person, not taking him or her for granted.

When we’re inconsistent in how we treat another person, it shows that either we’re not really committed to that person and that relationship, or it shows that we need to improve our level of commitment and our ability to live up to our commitment.

When we’re consistent in how we treat another person—and we treat that other person consistently in a way that is honorable, respectful, kind and loving—then it shows that we’re deeply committed to that person.

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About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in Kenneth Blanchard, Love is a Commitment, Love is Not a Feeling, Mature Love, Mental Health, Personal Growth, Real Love, Spiritual Growth, The Examined Life, Truth, Waking Up, What is Love? and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to When It Comes to Love & Your Relationships Are You Committed or Just Interested?

  1. Jenny says:

    I am committed to you – and all your oddities. 🙂

  2. I guess what is more relevant in our lives is to explore the difference between “TRYING” and “COMMITMENT”. i presume we may end up trying in areas we may have some interest but are not truly committed to.

    Good post.

    Shakti

    • John says:

      Hello Shakti,

      Thanks for reading & commenting. And I would agree that trying precedes commitment. We have to try things first, and then we decide our level of interest in that endeavor or relationship–whether we will *commit* ourselves to it and to that person and the process of developing a deeper and more meaningful bond, or whether we’re just *interested* in the relationship because the sex is good, or the person looks good on our arm, et cetera.

      Thanks again for reading & commenting, Shakti,

      John

  3. Wow, this was so interesting because when I found out my husband was having an emotional affair with one of my good friends, I thought there must be something wrong with him. Turns out he wasn’t feeling your description of “commitment” from me, which led him to turn to another woman that gave him her full attention. I never MEANT to make my husband feel this way, but I definitely feel like we can lose sight of priorities and it’s good to be reminded.
    http://www.mrdarcycheated.blogspot.com

    • John says:

      Hello Elizabeth,

      I’m glad this post resonated with you. Love is something that is demonstrable. It’s something with show our loved one. It is so crucial to let those we love know that, and to know that both in word and deed, and to know with regularity and consistency.

      A book that might be of interest to you is “The 5 Love Languages” — it’s about figuring out our partner’s “love language” (what speaks love to him or her), so that we can love the other person in a way that speaks to our partner. (Of course, in reality, the other person should also learn to receive love in the language we speak. Love should have that type of mutuality to it. I mean, if two people really are drawn to each other and care about each other and want the best for each other, and one speaks Mandarin and the other German, then the seemingly very caring thing to do would be for both people to learn not only to speak each other’s language, but to hear it as well. In other words, to meet in the middle.)

      Also, we human beings are not just emotional creatures, we are also moral creatures with a conscience that is designed to guide and control our actions and responses. Which means just because our spouse isn’t speaking our love language or isn’t feeling like we’re committed to him or her (as opposed to seeing the actual evidence of us not being committed to him or her), that doesn’t give our partner license to cheat on us.

      Thank you again for reading and for commenting, Elizabeth.

      Kindest regards,

      John

  4. Summer says:

    Sweet you,

    I’ve an award for you, for the person who you are and the things you share with the world
    http://summer4soul.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/peace-is-a-free-choice-so-is-this-award/

    Thank you for that..

    Namasté, Summer

  5. Love Me says:

    Fantastic and thank you for the excellent article. Great work as always.

  6. Ellen says:

    Brilliant. There are only a few sites I visit regularly to read the articles, and this is one of them. About time I let you know that. Keep up the great quality work!!

    • John says:

      Thank you, Ellen, for being a long time reader and for the very kind comment. I hope you’ll continuing reading this site and comment so more!

      Kindest regards,

      John

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