Obligation vs. Freedom in Your Relationship

Freedom is a hot topic this month in the United States! And it’s not just about the freedom and independence of our country (which is a beautiful thing!) – it’s also about feeling free to live our individual lives the way we want to.

Because the truth is, when hindered from expressing yourself in a way that feels authentic and real, your life often feels more like an obligation than a life of freedom.

Here’s a perfect example: How many people do you know who are fed up with office politics and sick of doing things in their job that they don’t really want to do?

Whether the job itself doesn’t feel purposeful, or we’re required to work in a way that’s out of integrity with our personal values, feeling like we “have to” do something is certainly not conducive to living a life of freedom and empowerment.

The same concept applies in your romantic relationship. If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t feel purposeful – or you feel obligated to ‘make it work’ in a way that’s out of integrity with your personal values – you’re most likely feeling more confined than free, and you’re missing out on the benefits of the healthy relationship you desire.

Obligation vs. Freedom
This quote by marriage and family therapist Sevin Philips sums it up nicely: “The best relationship is based on freedom, not obligation.”

Obligation feels like a duty…like paying taxes, stopping at red lights, or even taking your dog on a walk when you feel exhausted. But your choice to comply in these situations gives you something in return…like staying out of jail or a happy pet that loves you.

When it comes to your romantic relationship, however, you shouldn’t feel obligated to be in it. Sure, a healthy relationship certainly requires commitment, but that commitment was based on your freedom of choice and inspired by love.

In some countries, marriages are arranged and, based on cultural beliefs, the two people getting married don’t get to choose each other. I can’t personally relate to that experience…and neither can marriages that originate from free will.

In most countries though, people do choose their life partner and they do so willingly! Through their freedom of choice, they commit to a long-term relationship in which they will honor and love one another.

It Started Out Great, But…
Even with the best of intentions, what started out as a loving commitment may turn into a feeling of obligation, particularly when children are involved. And most likely, this is due to unexpected and unresolved conflict, which easily lead to feelings of frustration and resentment.

Personally, I believe that part of the commitment in a romantic relationship is to keep love in the relationship even when there’s conflict. To do the best you can to resolve the lack of harmony in a way that serves both parties.

Even if a couple is not able to resolve the conflict in a way that works for both of them, I still believe it can continue to be handled with love and integrity. After all, the commitment was to love and honor each other in good times and in bad, right?

Honor doesn’t mean just put up with the other person’s behavior no matter what. Honoring each other in a relationship means being honest, respectful and fair with one another.

When One Changes, But Not the Other
So often, and especially if you’ve been with your partner for a long time, one of you will change over time, which naturally affects the way you see your priorities. What was important to you in the beginning of your relationship may not be as important to you now – and something more meaningful may take its place.

When your partner doesn’t understand or like this new point of view, and wants things to stay as they were – or vice versa – this usually causes disagreement and conflict. If you’re able to resolve that conflict AND still be true to your individual values and beliefs, that’s ideal!

But if you and your partner realize that you’re no longer able to stay true to your individual beliefs and priorities without creating conflict in your relationship – and you’ve done everything you can to make it better, but with no success – you have the freedom to let each other go.

It may not be easy, but at the very least, it allows you to stay in integrity with yourself and your original commitment to true love. Next week, we’ll be talking more about true love and how it directly relates to true freedom.

Special Offer for July Only
As a reminder, be sure to take advantage of this month’s special offer for Healthy Path to Love subscribers. I’m offering 20% off my exclusive 8-module program called: The HEALTHY Path Process: 8 Steps to Know…Should I Stay or Should I Go?

If you’re tired of wondering whether or not you’re with the right partner – or whether or not you’re doing everything you can within your power to make your relationship better – this program is for you.

This special offer is only good for the month of July, so now would be an excellent time to say YES to yourself and receive the guidance and support you need to end the spin cycle of frustration.

If you’re ready to take your first step, simply use this link to schedule a Q&A call to see if the program is a good fit for you. Together we will put the HEALTHY pieces in place for you. I’m ready when you are!

You can go here to read testimonials.

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,

Catherine Dietz
Healthy Relationship Coach

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