Committing to Commitment. (Sisterspeak)

Article excerpt

COMMITMENT. The dictionary defines it as something pledged; the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled.

In man-woman relationships, commitment means devoting your love and your life to your mate and making your relationship work. It means putting your partner before all others. It means giving as well as receiving. It means compromise and communication and making an effort to work through the glitches.

Commitment can be a scary thing. Many are leery or afraid of it. Some actually run from it. Perhaps what makes some people fearful is the permanence of it. The fact that you are pledging your love, your support, your financial resources, your life (aaaahhhh!) to one person.

Recently there was a wedding in Augusta, Ga. It was a beautiful affair, as most weddings are. The bride was gorgeous and radiant despite being nervous. Her satin, off-the-shoulder, beaded bustier gown was elegant and quite appropriate for the glorious setting of the historic cathedral. A chemist for a Fortune 500 company, the bride had employed her attention-to-details professionalism to make sure her big day went off without a hitch.

Though the ceremony had been rescheduled at least once, the dedication and commitment of the bride to her groom, a youth counseling director who is completing his Ph.D.--and the groom to her--were evident. Four years after meeting at the university where they were both studying, she was finally realizing her dream. She was committed to getting married, committed to the institution of marriage and committed to her man.

Among the celebrants was an accomplished career woman in her 40s who has never been married but who is in a committed relationship with a man she has known for 21 years. Years ago, her partner got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes and proudly wears her diamond ring; but she demonstrates no interest in setting a wedding date. In fact, female friends constantly warn her, "You'd better marry that man before he gets away." Though that does not concern her, he is a good man, a homebody who is considerate of her needs and supportive of her dreams. She loves him; he loves her. Yet she is reluctant to make that ultimate commitment, to take that final jump over the broom and into matrimony. But she is committed to her partner.

Sitting beside Ms. Noncommittal was her best friend, who has been married for 27 years and exemplifies commitment. This woman is a devoted mother of two children, now young adults. And she has been a committed partner to her husband, sticking with him through the ups and downs, being supportive as he moved about the country to advance his career. Though college-educated, she had not been able to develop a career, but years ago she made peace with herself and her life. She has found love, contentment and happiness in her commitment to her husband, her marriage and her family. …