'Til Death Do Us Part...
So, what’s the deal with commitment? We’ve all experienced it in some way, through either family or friends who are willing to stick with us. They see us at our worst, as well as our best, and yet they still love us. What does it mean to be committed to someone? A true commitment is ultimately a choice. It’s not conditional or dependent on when we’re “in the mood”. If we are truly committed to another person, we’ll be faithful to them, and we’ll stand by them, even when things get difficult. Most of us long to have one person who is committed to us no matter what, who will love us for who we are and stick by us when things get tough.
In our society, that kind of lifelong commitment is usually associated with marriage. Ironically, though, most of us have seen marriages that have fallen apart and individuals in marriages who were far from committed. So, clearly marriage doesn't always mean lifelong commitment. But that's generally the idea people have going into it.
Although there seems to be a lot of negativity about marriage, one of the deepest desires communicated by teens is often that of having a faithful, lasting relationship. Most of us hope that in marriage, we will be able to find true happiness, contentment, and fulfillment.
Are there benefits to being committed to one person and is it something you should even consider, given the divorce rate today? Yes! Although commitment does require work and there are bound to be disagreements and tough times, research shows that committed individuals (specifically those in a marriage relationship) are better off:
- married people are generally healthier, both physically and mentally
- married people are more satisfied with their sex lives (who knew?!)
- married people live longer than people who are divorced or separated
- married people experience greater satisfaction in life than single people1
Some might argue, “What’s the big deal about marriage? Can’t I get all these same advantages if I’m in faithful relationship with my partner?” But research shows that the relationships of couples who live together unmarried are less stable and marked by more arguments. Also, violence, depression, and problems with drugs, alcohol and sexual infidelity are greater among couples who live together without wedding vows1.
So even though it might seem premature, since, after all, you’re only a teenager, thinking about this now will guide your relationship choices over the next several years, as you pursue relationships with people who can offer you the kind of commitment you’re looking for long-term.
1Sex and Character, Deborah D. Cole and Maureen Gallagher Duran. (Dallas: Pandas Publications, 1998), p. 168-171. For info on specific studies referenced, email us.
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