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Renewing your commitment in marriage

Tuesday 11 February 2020

CatholicCare, Communications Office
 
This St Valentine’s Day, we celebrate the patron saint of romantic love and happy marriages with CatholicCare by sharing some thoughts on renewing and strengthening your marriage commitment.
 
In Australia, it’s a sad fact that one in three marriages will break down. Despite marriage implying that each partner is ready and eager to commit to sharing a life together, marriage isn’t as simple as a ceremony and an exchange of rings.
 
What is a commitment in marriage?
 
Likewise, commitment isn’t just a pledge made on your wedding day and forgotten. It’s a daily practice of caring and communication, sharing and sacrifice. It is about intentionally working together and relating a couple.
 
Of course, commitment is more than just being happy and comfortable in your relationship and wanting it to continue. It’s easy to commit to a relationship when things are going well. It’s when things aren’t going very well when commitment kicks in. Then commitment becomes about having the resolve to make necessary sacrifices and take any steps necessary to keep the relationship steady and moving forward.
 
Commitment is more than loving your partner or your relationship; it’s the decision to take action to maintain the relationship, even if it means not getting your own way. Couples with two people who are willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the marriage are more likely to be happy and go the distance.
 
How can I overcome conflict?
 
It doesn’t need to be said that relationships take work. Every relationship will be tested during the small trials and tribulations that everyday life throws our way. When two different people merge their life trajectories, conflict is inevitable and totally normal.
 
It’s how we resolve conflict that matters. This is foundational to staying married. Dealing with conflict is uncomfortable, but it’s important we don’t sweep problems under the rug or shut down emotionally.
 
Listen actively to what your partner is saying, and be willing to compromise. Focus on the issue at hand, rather than attacking your partner. Even when you’re angry, find ways to stay connected to one another. Instead of becoming defensive or hurt, make sure each conflict is coloured by respect and even little signs of affection.
 
Deal with an issue quickly, solve the problem and let it go. Forgive for good. That means not keeping score, or holding grudges, and remember that you’re not perfect. We need to build a genuine acceptance of ourselves and our partners, blemishes and all. No one is perfect, and everyone is different.
 
How can I renew my marriage commitment?
 
A deep level of commitment is a good predictor of lower divorce rates and fewer problems in marriage. Here are some helpful ways to re-establish or renew the commitment you have with your partner:
 
Reaffirm your vows by reading or reciting them with your partner. You might choose to frame and display them somewhere in your home.
 
Rekindle those early feelings by recalling how you first felt when deciding to pop the question, when you said yes, or when you first walked down the aisle.
Celebrate anniversaries together. Break up the routine of marriage by taking time out of your schedule to celebrate the milestones. It’s a reminder that your union is something to be cherished.
 
Promise to work through conflict, and keep arguments respectful. Everyone handles anger and conflict differently, so discuss techniques to help you will deal with conflict in the future.
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