By Basee Saka
Well let’s look at them individually.
‘Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found. Such a union, often formalized via a wedding ceremony, may also be called matrimony’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage
What does this actually mean? First marriage is a contract between two people that may or may not have benefits to extended family. One makes promises to another publicly. It doesn’t have any guarantees, much like any other contract, it can b roken and, also like many other contracts there are penalties to be paid on breaking that contract. People often confuse marriage as validation of a relationship or validation of emotion instead of validation of a union or legalising of a union as it were.
Women especially, feel that the ultimate form of ‘love’ is marriage, or the ultimate DISPLAY of affection, is marriage. It often sounds like ‘I am prize, if you want me, you have to work for me and win me, once you have won me I will allow you to etch your name on me and you can keep me’ A very one sided concept. I often read women say things like, I’m not going to do this or that unless he marries me’ or ‘if he’s not prepared to marry you then he doesn’t want you’. Marriage for many is the ultimate goal!
‘Commitment means to show loyalty, duty or pledge to something or someone’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commitment
What does this actually mean? It means that a decision has been made to follow through with a promise. That promise doesn’t have to be TO anyone it is more do with an ideology. It’s knowing that you want to meet the criteria of the decision you have made and working towards actualising it.
Often you hear people demanding a commitment from another. That’s a bit like expecting someone to use the toilet on demand. A person has to be ready, in their mind, The honour of a commitment doesn’t belong to the giver, but the receiver. For someone to say to you, I want to be part of your life indefinitely means that they have seen in you something they feel will enrich their life for the rest of their life. What greater compliment is there to receive? You can’t demand that from a person, either that’s how they feel or they don’t. When they do, everything fades into insignificance. It’s pushing for that pledge rather than letting it come naturally that often creates problems later on. No amount of ultimatum or bargaining can make that feeling come to a person. If they don’t feel it then it will be hard for them to give the level of loyalty that is needed to maintain it.
So back to the question, what came first, the marriage or the commitment? Some would say that getting married means you will commit to each other. Others would say that the commitment is already there and marriage is a celebration of that commitment. However, you can have marriage without emotional commitment, that is, two people can enter a contract and meet the criteria of the contract, quite successfully because they are committed to the benefit of the contract. Likewise a person can be committed to another WITHOUT marriage because the commitment is not based on a contract that has been agreed by both parties, the commitment is a contract with them self.
An example, you are bored, need something to stimulate you, you stumble across an old piece of furniture, it looks battered and worn, is rickety and in dire need of an overhaul. You don’t know where to start, but you know you want to. You read up on restoring furniture you take a class in carpentry, upholstery etc. You set to work on the piece of furniture, you hit your fingers with the hammer, you drop the heavy end on your foot, it’s costing you a fortune, yet in your heart you know that you are not going to stop until you have completed the overhaul, no matter how long it takes or how hard it is; you’ve made that commitment, not to the piece of furniture but to yourself and the process.
That level of commitment can only come from within. If someone dumped the piece of furniture on your doorstep and said ‘care for it’, you might do it, depending on who it was making the demand, but you wouldn’t put as much care INTO it as you would if it were your own choice.
So for those of you who are married, look at your marriage and both yours and your partners commitment in that marriage think about what came first and you will have a good understanding of what is to come in the future. For those of you who are not married yet, ask yourself, are you committed to being with that person or are you committed to getting married?
What say you? Enquiring minds want to know… leave a comment!
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