By Katie & Gay Hendricks
“To have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
You’ve probably heard these words many times, and perhaps you’ve even said them yourself.
These are the typical vows countless couples have made to each other for ages.
And whether you’re married or not, these vows are a perfect example of the impossible-to-keep commitments we make when it comes to romantic relationships.
If you’ve ever found yourself falling head over heels for someone… only to feel not-so-in love anymore later, read on.
If you look closely at the wording of traditional wedding vows, you’ll see that they’re largely focused on outcomes: unconditional love, fidelity, loyalty, and tenacity.
Sure, we want these things. And we have the best intentions when we make these commitments. But the truth is that you can’t control how you – or your partner – will feel every day.
Over the course of a long-term intimate relationship, you can bet there will be days when you will wake up and not feel very in love with your partner.
Think of your primary relationship – the one you have with yourself. You have good days and bad days. Sometimes you feel pretty good about who you are. Other times, you just want to kick yourself.
This is simply part of being human. If you think you’ll be in a great mood every single day, you’re bound to feel frustrated and as if there’s something wrong with you. Similarly, if you commit to unending devotion to your partner, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
So how do we get what we want – day in, day out? How does a couple achieve the outcome of lasting love when they intend to spend a lifetime together?
If you commit to going on a vacation as a couple every year, that’s great. But unless the two of you sit down, plan the trip, and take all the actions to make it happen, you’re not going anywhere… except on a path of frustration and disappointment!
The same thing happens with relationships. In order to achieve the desired destination – in this case a lasting, loving relationship – you need to commit to all the factors that make lasting love possible.
You commit to the process, not the outcome.
Wedding vows are wishful and hopeful good things, but they don’t have an effect on the day-to-day functioning of a relationship.
That’s because we don’t have control over outcomes.
In our seminars, we invite couples to instead make a commitment about processes in relationships.
Processes are the actions you and your partner take to achieve your desired outcome. And you have complete control over them. If you practice them consistently, then you will create the lasting love you want.
It is never too early, or too late, to make new commitments. If you’re single, you can commit to loving processes with everyone you meet. This is the single most important thing you can do to attract a conscious, loving relationship.
And if you’re in a committed relationship, you can recommit to new vows today – doing so will bring you and your partner to a whole new level of intimacy and harmony in your relationship.
When you promise to be honest with each other, and to listen without judgement, you are instead creating a safe space where trust and intimacy can truly flourish.
And that’s when lasting love becomes not just a wish, but a reality.
If you’ve lost the joy, spontaneity, and connection in your relationship, chances are you need to re-examine the commitments you’ve made.
And if you’re still searching for a committed partner, there are practices you can begin doing right now that will work to finally attract a genuine loving relationship.
We never tire of talking about commitment. Making the right kinds of commitments has been critical to the success of our marriage… and it was a major factor in bringing us together in the first place.
We look forward to teaching you all we know: