Let’s talk commitment, shall we?
More specifically, relationship commitment.
I really should save this post for next month, but meh.
I like now.
Why next month? The ‘why’ is coming…
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’d already know that “commitment” wasn’t really something practiced by my family…namely my dad…who decided another family/woman/person other than his blood were more important than, well, us – his family.
I grew up almost expecting guys to cheat on me…I thought that’s just what happened…that’s just how it went: I bend over backwards and he takes advantage of me.
Obviously, that is not at all how a relationship is supposed to work. It took me a long, long time to develop enough faith and belief in “the other person” to trust them and not be suspicious if they were late or didn’t call or what have you.
To this day, the only “other person” I have ever trusted implicitly is Tim. Granted, it didn’t start out that way…it started out completely the opposite. It started the same way it always had in the past: I didn’t trust him farther than I could throw him – and that wasn’t very far. At all.
It took years – YEARS – of him having to prove himself (for lack of a better phrase) to me. I really can’t even imagine how that must have felt for him…I was too wrapped up in my own insecurities to even notice how my non-trusting attitude affected him. It did get better, though. I learned to trust him. I learned to not “assume the worst.”
Once that happened? I was free! I felt like I was flying. I felt more freedom than I ever have in a relationship. I don’t really know why it feels like freedom when, really, you’re letting the other person free…out of their trust cage…but that’s exactly the sensation.
And it was wonderful.
Then, like the cruel joke life is sometimes, I soon realized that fully trusting another person is just step one in a myriad of phases that never seem to end.
Trust is just the beginning of a long, winding road that takes you through more twists and turns than you’d think was reasonable. Once you learn to trust someone, that’s the easy part.
Where it gets difficult and tricky and muddied is with commitment.
It seems like trust and commitment go together, like peas and carrots, and they do, to a degree. What I’ve learned, though, is that you can trust anyone.
What you can’t do as easily is commit to that person. Committing to someone requires a hell of a lot more effort than trusting them. Commitment is an on-going, daily task that requires lots of work and time. When you slack off commitment, it slacks off on you. You slack off on each other. Everything just starts to go into autopilot and autopilot doesn’t allow you to see any of those twists in that road I was talking about earlier.
We’re all hit by a bus because no one was paying attention.
It’s at that point you realize you haven’t been practicing commitment like you should be and that realization usually stems from some kind of tiff or disagreement or full blown argument. It is so easy to slide into autopilot and just keep on living like you always do…taking the other person for granted and turning into a sour puss because you don’t feel like you’re getting what you want or need or both – all because you’ve been neglecting the thing that keeps you fulfilled: commitment.
One month, exactly, from today, marks Tim and my seven year “meet-a-versary” – which is really the beginning of our “dating” (waaay back) in 2004. I asked him if that date still counted, since it’s not like we officially became exclusive on that date…and he retorted, “Did you see anyone else after that?”
Tim: Me either. So. Yes. It counts.
(He actually called and cancelled a previously scheduled date with some other chick after he and I went out for the first time…talk about timing. What if *I* had been the other girl who had the later scheduled date?)
I really can’t believe we’re coming up on seven years…so much has happened and so much has changed since then. We’ve grown together and figured out how to live with each other without killing the other person. We know how to deal with our faults and weird quirks. Though, personally, I think Tim is better at dealing with me than I am with him…even though I’m trying to improve…
Point is: we’re still learning how to be committed to one another each and every day. It’s not that we aren’t 100% on board with marriage and with the idea of FOREVER, it’s more like we have to navigate around obstacles that arise and learn how to best handle each one in a way that still keeps the other person in perspective. Sure, we could go off and just do it “our way” and say screw it…but that isn’t commitment. That isn’t what marriage is about.
The girl (me) who likes to compete in every.single.thing. in life is still learning that marriage isn’t a game where you keep score. Keeping score pulls you farther away from being committed and puts you into this box where you are still trying to be an individual in a relationship. I mean, yes, you’re always supposed to be yourself…stay individual…grow together…but what I am (unsuccessfully) trying to say is that if you’re always looking at your relationship – your commitment – as YOU versus HIM, then you aren’t really committed…are you?
The change in me is happening slowly – much unlike Tim, who seems to do a better job of staying present and thinking of us as the “whole” instead of the sum of its parts. I’m going to say his progression is because he has thirteen more years of life experience than me…or something like that.
Maybe I’m still trying to grow up.
Maybe it’s because I still have the daddy baggage.
Maybe it is something I don’t even see, yet.
But through all of those maybe’s, I have realized what it means to be committed and where I may be slacking off and not trying as hard as I should be. I see where I may need to make a course correction and I can see, usually in hindsight, where I was wrong and should have been the (first one) to apologize.
I think that probably counts for something.