It’s been one of those days when me and Deborah just look into each other’s eyes over the coffee table. We realized today that we’ve been together for two and a half years. So much has happened in that time. It makes us think of what made us so certain about each other in the first place—for each to want to spend the rest of our lives with the other. It’s the discussion of common goals early on in the relationship that really cemented our love. Some of the goals are coming true. For example, our baby. For some, it’s strange to discuss kids as early as we did. But it was important for Deborah to know my values, and for me to know hers.

Today and every day, it’s important for us to reflect on the things that made us want to commit to each other in the first place, because it’s those things that will keep our commitment alive.

I like to think of commitment in levels. You can commit to dinner with your date. You can commit to only seeing that one person. You can commit to “spending the rest of your life with someone.” But I’d like to think there’s at least one more. It’s when you’re able to say, “things aren’t good right now, but I’m still in this until the end.” For this, I believe you need to reflect regularly on what made you want to commit in the first place. Here’s what we’ve come up with:

1) We were ready to commit when we became a team

Deborah and I work together, and when we got together, we instantly became more tactile about who does what job.

We both know who is more creative, and who is more technical, for example. It doesn’t take long to figure out who’s going to do the logo design and who’s going to handle the financials. Additionally, a lot of the things you do by yourself, become instantly more fun with a partner because of the person he or she is. Deborah says she knew she wanted to be with me, because the activity didn’t matter. We always had fun together. Everything from cooking to working to karaoke became a game.

2) We knew the other person was serious

If you feel like the person you’re seeing has eyes on other people, your gut instincts might be right. Quite frankly, if you’re not made to feel like one in a million, he or she doesn’t deserve you.

“Fair enough,” you might say, “I’m a very ‘commitment-type’ person, and I give it my all in relationships,” but if you’re not getting it back, then it’s only one sided. A committed relationship is a two-way street, and you have to get back what you’re investing. There are a lot of people looking for the amount of devotion that you’re willing to give. Move on, and find one of them.

3) We always met halfway

Imagine you’re kissing your significant other for the first time. He goes in 25%, she goes in 25%, then he goes another 20%, and she goes another 20%. You’re probably wondering where the last 10% is. That’s what we call suspense. Ideally, you want to not even know who kissed who first, because you both wanted it equally.

Of course, this isn’t just about kissing, but rather it’s a representation of the whole relationship. Very often, you hear stories of people saying, “I do this, this, and this for my partner, but I’m just not getting it back.” Don’t think that you putting in more work is going to make him or her feel obligated to return the favor. If anything, that person is taking you for granted and will continue to stay the same. Doing too much makes you undesirable, because there’s no chase. Likewise, doing too much makes the other person comfortable right where they are.

4) We made plans to interact with the most important people in each other’s lives

If you’re committed to someone, and they’re just as committed to you, the two of you will literally merge your lives together. The natural consequence of that is forming relationships with the other person’s friends and family. You have to realize that your relationship cannot exist inside of a test tube, where you have no mutual contact to the outside world. If he’s serious about you, he’ll want to meet your family. If she wants a long term relationship, she’ll get into deep conversations about how her friends shaped who she is.

5) We were still happy with each other at a distance

Pay close attention to how your partner or crush acts when not in direct contact with you. How does he treat other people while making his way around that party? How does she act when dinner doesn’t go the way she thought it would? Does he respect everyone like you thought? Is she still fun and lively like the person you know and love?

Deborah and I knew we were ready for commitment, because we saw each other in a million different circumstances, and we liked what we saw…most of the time.

6) We talked about what the future held

How do you and your partner talk about the future together? Is it vague and hopeful or is does it come with a specific plan?

By now, you should know what you want. And if you know what you want, your significant other knows what he or she wants. Communicate it to each other and get specific. No need to be shy, because the longer the two of you go with competing views of your own future, the more of your own time you’re wasting.

Deborah and I made this easier using a vision board. While the vision board didn’t bring about any real change by itself, it helped us get clear about how we saw ourselves in the future, and it forced the conversation about how we would make it happen together.

 

Have you made a lifelong commitment to a partner? How did you know when you were ready? Are you thinking about committing? Let us know in the comments below!

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