A passionate and intense relationship that lasted 4 years before imploding?
Or a 30-year marriage that was good enough sometimes and not great most of the time?
Hold onto that answer and see if it changes over the next few minutes.
Marriage is the Holy Grail of commitment.
When you love someone, you want it to be forever.
Which is why, the instant you fall in love, your thoughts immediately turn to how you can make it last.
Being with him now isn’t good enough. You need to know that you’ll be together next week, next year, and however long it takes to truly build a life together.
Without that knowledge, it’s difficult to relax into the relationship. You don’t know what will happen. You don’t want to waste time and energy in a relationship that isn’t going anywhere.
(If this resonates, you should check out Commitment with 4 Questions. It’s in my online library of special niche reports.)
We ALL want a secure future. We feel better when we have some control over what is going to happen. That’s why people put money into retirement plans or take jobs they don’t like for the financial security.
But when it comes to love, seeking security too soon can backfire.
You already know that pushing for commitment can kill a relationship before it has fully bloomed. But you may not know what to do instead.
Before I explain what you should be doing instead, let me tell you a story.
It’s a story that reveals something important about human desire. Something that could even help you get your man to commit.
Psychotherapist Esther Perel grew up in a large community of Holocaust survivors in Antwerp, Belgium. Her parents were Holocaust survivors, the sole survivors from their large families.
When finally released from the concentration camps, their goal was to seize the day. They were elated to have survived, and they didn’t want to miss a moment of this glorious gift of life. They raised Perel to understand there was a difference between “not being dead” and “being alive.”
However, as a child, Perel noticed that most Holocaust survivors didn’t take that view.
“Those who didn’t die were people who lived tethered to the ground, afraid, untrusting,” she explains. “The world was dangerous, and pleasure was not an option. You cannot play, take risks, or be creative when you don’t have a minimum of safety, because you need a level of unselfconsciousness to be able to experience excitement and pleasure.”
Although most of us have never gone through anything like that, it’s still possible to relate to that feeling.
The more you’ve been hurt, the more you do retreat into your shell. You’re more worried about making sure you have a tomorrow than fully enjoying today.
On a scale from “trying not to die” to “carpe diem,” where do you think you would fall?
Do you make it through each day, enduring what must be done and planning ahead in the hope that someday life will fall into place?
Or are you overjoyed to wake up and savor fully the gift of another day, unconcerned about tomorrow?
After all, we cannot live our lives in the future. Life happens now.
This isn’t a call to live heedlessly. If you wait long enough, the future becomes the present. You want to think ahead.
But too much thinking ahead can take you out of the present moment and cause you to make poor choices.
Daniel Gilbert’s bestselling book Stumbling on Happiness suggests that we know far less than we think we do about what will make us happy in the future.
For example, if you save up for a new car, you’ll be overjoyed when you’re handed the keys. But a year later, the new car will feel like any old car. You won’t be any happier than before.
So, if we want to be happy, the answer is not to spend our lives planning for the future. It’s to seize opportunities today.
Don’t settle for not being dead. Strive for feeling fully alive.
That’s fantastic advice for relationships, too. Here’s how it applies to your romantic life and getting your guy to commit.
Instead of trying to capture the high of new love with promises of commitment, find out how good your relationship can get.
Put all that emotional energy into thinking of ways to make this relationship even better.
What can you do today to feel really great with the man you love?
What can you do this moment to juice up your relationship?
Making your relationship shine is the best way to lay a secure foundation for the future.
A wedding ring is no promise of a blissful lifetime together.
But a fun, fulfilling, mutually satisfying relationship gives you a pretty good shot.
That’s why I like to see couples focused on doing the work of relationships—loving each other in ever more creative and expansive ways—rather than getting angry at each other for not being on the same page commitment-wise.
Make today better than yesterday.
Then you can always trust that tomorrow will be incredible.
Always on your side,