True Love leads to commitment in steps. The first step is
stating your love to each other.
But how can you be sure that, when you hear "I love you,"
it's the real thing? Obviously, if the words are only
murmured in moments of passion, they don't count. Even if
spoken in the sober light of day, they don't mean much if
the other Steps To Commitment (see below) aren't
Few couples, of course, follow this sequence exactly. Some
would never dream of moving in together before getting
married. Nevertheless, these steps show how a typical sound
relationship grows closer and progresses toward marriage.
If your relationship is more or less following this pattern,
The Steps To Commitment
- You begin dating every Saturday night.
You miss each other whenever you're apart.
You agree to make your relationship monogamous
You make future plans together.
You begin seeing each other all weekend and during the
week as well.
You sleep together almost every night.
You're happy with your relationship 90 percent of the
You spend vacations and holidays together.
You give each other little gifts.
You meet each other's families.
You discuss finances.
You move in together.
You seriously discuss having children together, or
You start to acquire property together (anything from a
VCR to a house) and co-mingle monies in some way.
You marry or make some other form of lifelong
commitment to each other.
How Long Should It Take?
A typical and reasonable time to progress from meeting to
marriage is two years. If your relationship has stalled
somewhere along the progression or has slid backwards, you'd
be wise to look for a cause. It's natural for relationships
to progress. Conversely, it's very rare for both parties to
remain satisfied with a partially-developed, uncommitted
relationship which just goes on and on.
After You Commit, Protect Your Relationship
Once you've reached the commitment stage, stand together.
Act as if you're husband and wife and it's the two of you
against the world. Friends and family, not knowing him or
her as you do, may subject your relationship to some
Assuming he or she has passed all the checklists in "Qualifying Someone" with flying
colors (if not, none of this applies!), forget other's
opinions. Even well-meaning friends can plant seeds of
doubt that can poison a new relationship if you let them.
They don't necessarily understand what's best for you, and
they often have their own agendas. Unconsciously, some
would rather have you stay single as a drinking buddy or a
girlfriend to go shopping with than see you happily settled
So ignore friends who say things like, "I'd let her know
who's boss," or, "You can find someone better than him," or
"Oh, I wouldn't put up with that." Who knows what your
friend would really put up with for True Love?
Also, be cautious when introducing your new love to your
family. Everyone's family has their own ideas of what's
best for you, and they may not instantly take to him or her.
Or vice versa. While your family may seem lovable to you,
they may be off-putting or intimidating or otherwise hard
for someone new to warm up to.
Expect some buffeting, share the surprises with a sense of
humor, and make the commitment to stand by each other and
protect your relationship no matter what. If you do, your
love will endure.
Related Keywords: Commitment, Making Love Grow
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