Your Personal Relationship Coach

Christine Kniffen, MSW, LCSW

COMMITMENT: What is it and are you both fully engaged in your relationship?

I was recently a guest on City Corner with Steve Potter (see website for full interview). I was asked to be a guest to talk about my SKYPE Services, as it is was something different and trending. I was asked about relationship coaching/individual counseling, my book and naturally many questions pertaining to relationships. Actually, when we stopped filming a camera man asked, “Is a relationship like a business arrangement”? I told him that yes, it was much like a business arrangement with a business partner. Just as in a business partnership, in a romantic relationship we need to negotiate the differences, talk about any problems, look to the future for planning and much more that involves working as a team. Put these things all together and what is needed to be successful it commitment. However, commitment is all about actions rather than simply words.

Commitment runs both ways. It’s not just about someone committing to you. It is equally about you committing to someone else. Commitment runs the gambit from saying “I Do” all the way down to helping to take out the trash. You have to be committed to the relationship in order to put forth the effort to keep it running smoothly. Have you checked out emotionally, do you find yourself refusing to participate in conversatons that you don’t want to have or do you resist some equitable division of labor that is necessary to keep things running smoothly? If you can answer yes to any of the previous questions, then you are not fully committed in the relationship, as actions speak louder than words. You can’t operate a business partnership like that and you certainly cannot successfully operate a supposedly “committed” relationship in that way either. Part of being committed is to stay open with the relationship. No topic is off limits and you don’t get to shut down communication. Commitment is about being present every day, being approachable for discussing dicey topics and showing a general willingness to work as a team in various situations.

So, now that we have a better understanding of what it takes to be committed. You need to assess whether your partner seems to be participating in the behaviors that show real commitment or not. A lack of commitment results in a lack of feeling “connected” in a healthy way. If you are not feeling fully connected, then attempt to have a conversation with your partner about how you feel regarding certain aspects of the relationship. Find out if they are committed to making some changes for the sake of the relationship. This is a very hard step for many people. Perhaps you have simply given up trying to request anything, as the requests go unanswered and appear to fall on deaf ears. However, there is no way this situation can improve if the two of you are unable to have these types of conversations. Many couples need a little help learning how to express individual needs and talk in a way that lets the person making the request know they have not been dismissed. Having these conversations and making necessary changes all require commitment. It requires commitment to the process, commitment to the relationship and most of all commitment to you.

So, remember that commitment is about actions, not just about “I Do” and a paper certificate. Couples Coaching helps individuals bridge the gap between trying to request something, feeling that you have been heard and then seeing tangible action take place. After all, this is what true commitment looks like in practice and this is how real change for the better begins to happen.

Christine Kniffen is a Relationship Coach and Therapist. To Schedule a free consultation call 314-374-8396.
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