Most of us stood in front of God, family and friends and made a commitment to our spouse. We said we would take them to be our spouse, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and cherish, till death we part. Perhaps your vows were not exactly these vows, but generally these are the vows we took.
Researchers have discovered that commitment plays a pivotal role in whether or not these vows are honored.
- The more committed a spouse is, the higher the satisfaction is in the marriage.
- Highly committed spouses are more likely to persist in making their marriage work.
- Commitment is the most direct and powerful predictor of marital success.
But what makes a spouse committed?
Caryl Rusbult, UNC Chaapel Hill researcher attempted to measure it with the development of the Future of My Marriage Scale.
Instructions: To what extent does each of the following statements describe your feelings regarding your marriage? Please record an answer from 0 to 8 for each statement.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Do Not Agree Agree Agree
At All Somewhat Completely
- I will do everything I can to make our marriage last for the rest of our lives.
- I feel completely attached to my partner and our marriage.
- I often talk to my partner about what things will be like when we are very old.
- I feel really awful when things are not going well in our marriage.
- I am completely committed to maintaining our marriage.
- I frequently imagine life with my pattern in the distant future.
- When I make plans about future events in life, I carefully consider the impact of my decisions on our marriage.
- I spend a lot of time thinking about the future of our marriage.
- I feel really terrible when things are not going well for my partner.
- I want our marriage to last forever.
- There is no chance at all that I would ever become romantically involved with another person.
- I am oriented toward the long-term future of our marriage (for example, I imagine life with my partner decades from now).
- My partner is more important to me than anyone else in life – more important than my parents, friends, etc.
- I intend to do everything humanly possible to make our marriage persist.
- If our marriage were ever to end, I would feel that my life was destroyed.
Add up your scores. Any score above 100 reveals a strong commitment to your marriage. Any score below 100 indicates that you have opportunities to work on your marriage commitment. The lower the score, the more important it is that you seek help from competent professionals who work with couples.
There are some specific actions steps you can take to increase your commitment to your marriage.
- Get connected to God. Being in relationship with God reminds us of His unfailing faithfulness to us and gives us strength when times are tough. One study found that couples who pray together have less than 1% divorce rate.
- Get connected to a Church. Being in relationship with other believers who value marriage can help you when your marriage satisfaction wanes.
- Get busy creating the marriage you want. Stop waiting on your spouse to change. Take action to create the change you want in your marriage by doing the things you are not doing. Date. Talk nice to each other. Have sex. Get to know your spouse again.
- Ask for professional help if you get stuck. You do not have to do it alone. Find Christian marriage support and get your marriage back on track.
What recommendations do you have for spouses with low commitment levels?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2015. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.