If you and your partner are married, you probably remember your wedding vows including “as long as we both shall live”. Even if you’re not married, when you and your partner made a commitment to one another, it was most likely with the intention that it would last for the rest of your lives.
Today, I’d like to challenge the notion of that commitment and ask you to be open to the the idea of seeing it through the eyes of “as long as we both shall love”. Just that slight change in wording changes the meaning of commitment significantly, doesn’t it?
In my opinion, for the purpose of a romantic relationship, it makes far more sense to make a commitment based on love, not on a physical lifetime. And while notions of commitment usually include the word love, as Paulo Coelho said: “Love is just a word, until someone arrives to give it meaning.”
Even the dictionary includes multiple meanings for love. So, when it comes to how you and your romantic partner handle the issues that come up in your relationship, don’t you agree that it would be wise to get clear on what love means to you?
Let’s just get to the point then….what does love mean to you? Does it include:
Or maybe you define it in the same way as your vows:
- for better, for worse
- for richer, for poorer
- in sickness and in health
For me, the definition of love needs to include honesty, respect and forgiveness. And that means if I commit to expressing these forms of love to my partner, I absolutely need to be honest, respectful and forgiving to myself first. I admit that it took me many lessons before I finally learned this!
If your definition of love matches what’s included in the traditional vows mentioned above, what do those mean to you?
‘For better’ is simple enough. But what about ‘for worse’? Does that mean you and your partner can treat each other unkindly until death do you part, and that would be acceptable?
‘For richer’ is certainly easier. But what about ‘for poorer’? Does that mean you or your partner can deplete your savings accounts or rack up huge credit card bills while the other stands by with no say?
And finally, ‘in health’ is ideal. But what about ‘in sickness’? If you or your partner developed a psychological disorder – or even a brain injury – that caused abusive behavior, does that mean you just have to deal with it?
Do you see what I’m getting at here? Words in a commitment don’t mean anything until you can clearly define what those words mean to YOU, not to whoever made up those traditional vows in the first place. And when your commitment is to a healthy and successful relationship, the other person in the relationship needs to agree to those definitions as well.
This is the whole purpose of why I created and built A Healthy Path to Love, and why I am so passionate about being a source of support for women who are struggling in their relationships. I strongly believe in the power of a healthy romantic relationship, and I believe that each and every one of us deserves to have the relationship we desire and deserve.
Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
P.S. If you’d like to explore the resources I offer to help you get started on an effective plan of action toward healthy changes in your relationship, please contact me here. I am committed and would love to help you feel supported.