A young man was standing in an airport. He noticed a woman nearby with three children, who seemed to be waiting for someone to arrive. Soon another man walks up from the gate, and the kids got excited. When he reached them he set down his bags and took each of his children in his arms one at a time and gave them a huge hug. Then he turned to his wife and gave her the biggest, longest kiss that the young man had ever seen. The couple was completely oblivious to the crowds around them, wrapped up in the joy of being together again.
When the couple was done, the young man turned to the husband and says, “They really missed you. You must have been gone for a long time.” The husband smiled, “Three days,” he said. Nonplussed, the young man replied, “Well, you’re lucky. I hope that when my wife and I have been together for as long as you, that we’re still as into each other as you two are.” The man looked at his wife, smiled again, and simply replied, “It isn’t about luck, or about how long we’ve been together. We’re still into each because we work to make each other and our family the most important things in our lives. That’s where our love comes from.”
Like the young man in the story, many people assume that love and respect are the cornerstones of a healthy intimate relationship. They certainly are very important, but in reality they’re only a start. Couples make wedding vows of love and respect all the time, only to find years later that it isn’t enough to create the kind of relationship they had hoped for. But this is where we all start right? The love, the passion, the spark, the feeling that this will last forever. What else do we need?
Ask any happy couple that’s been together for more than a few years, and they’ll tell you that having a good relationship takes work – often lots of work. Most of us kind of know that, and do put real effort into our relationships. But even so, it’s still amazing how quickly and easily some couples give up when things become too hard. That’s why in order to really go deep, to experience that real intimacy, our commitment has to be more than just an idea, more than just a one-time vow.
If you’re thirsty and there’s a glass of water here on the table, it would be easy to walk over and take a drink. But put this glass on the ledge up there, and you’d really have to work go get it. Your level of thirst hasn’t changed, but the amount of energy you need to expend to get it has, so the question becomes: How thirsty are you? How much do you want it?
In order to have that kind of deeply intimate relationship, you have to be willing to stretch yourself – your comfort zone – and be willing to do whatever it takes to get it.
That’s what commitment to your partner is all about. Your own inner knowing that it’s worth it to work it. Once you have that clarity, it’s important to take it to the next level. Inner knowing is awesome, and definitely the first piece. But reality is built on actions as well as ideas.
If you want to really begin the process of creating deeper intimacy with your spouse, you have to be willing to tell them how much they mean to you, how important they really are to you. Just imagine if your spouse said to you, “Honey, I want us to be the best we can be. I know we’ve had some challenges, but you are worth it to me, and I’m completely committed to doing whatever it takes to make our relationship wonderful.” This kind of statement goes well beyond just, “I love you,” or “I respect you.”
Now, what if you take that first step? Imagine what would happen if you said something like that to your partner. Never take for granted that your partner knows what you think and feel. If it’s real, if it’s authentic, if you feel it, then be willing to speak the truth of your commitment to your spouse. After all, they’re worth it to you right? When you connect with that truth as a couple, it will naturally give you an instant boost to your connection, trust, and intimacy, and it also provides you the energy you need to do the work of building the relationship you both desire.
For couples who are struggling right now to find that starting point of connection, speaking your commitment can be a great first step.
Moving outside of your comfort zone to have something different than your current situation, is by it’s very definition, an uncomfortable experience. The question is: How much are you willing to stretch to have what you want? How thirsty are you for that ideal relationship? How much is it really worth to you?
Enough to take the next step?