How setting intentions can help with the fear of commitment
Setting intentions, showing gratitude and appreciation, creating rituals
At the end our last (sold out!) Hold Me Tight couples workshop in Nevada City, we created a ritual where each one of the couples gave an appreciation and expressed gratitude to their partners, made a commitment and set an intention, for and about their relationship.
It was a touching moment, many eyes got tearful. It struck a cord with many of the couples. Dreams were remembered, hopes were rekindled.
In the end of her book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson devotes a chapter to the idea of rituals and commitments, to keep love alive, and to maintain the benefit of the couples work done by reading the book, at the workshop, and in couple counseling.
Making a commitment to each other and setting an intention for the future of the relationship, are rituals most couples ‘do’ when they say ‘I do’…, however, I believe that there is a value in ‘re-committing’ as a regular, recurring ritual.
Once a relationship hits an obstacle or a ‘bump’, or worse, a serious injury, we fail to remember, and we forget to mention, the ‘good stuff’ of the relationship, and tend to focus on the injury.
What becomes obvious in the couples workshop, but is also transparent in the daily work I do with couples in my office, is that not only do we take each other for granted, and forget to acknowledge those attributes that originally attracted us to each other; we also tend to get focused and overwhelmed with the offenses, the injuries, and the wounds. We forget all about the gratitude and the appreciations. They get lost.
I once had a client who was a long-time, highly ranked veteran who said that in the military: “one ‘oh shit’, can erase a thousand ‘attaboys.'”
Setting intentions… If we do not know where we are going we may never get there… It is always a good practice to remind ourselves about the blessings in our life. Some partners like to keep a gratitude journal so as to create a ritual for themselves so they do not forget the ‘good parts’.
Commitments and rituals in relationship become a platform to come back to, and a practices to rely on. Rituals are interactions that work to build relationship when they are repeated, coordinated, and significant.
Having a relationship that is long lasting and secure is about helping you and your partner know that they are the most important part of your life .Your partner needs to feel more important to you than anyone else. Spending time and energy on the relationship is necessary in order for your words and actions to be consistent and therefore your partner feeling loved by you.
The fear to commit, before we get into a relationship can at time echo in the relationship itself.
In this blog, the author speaks to the fear of commitment:
“Commitment, either in relationships or life decisions, has become synonymous with loss of freedom and the need to compromise or settle. With emerging apps such as Tinder, and reality television shows, we are making the centuries-old practice of courtship into taboo. Our society is encouraged to engage in one-night stands and the pursuit of a “no-strings attached” relationship filled with emotionless and frivolous sex. We are not aware of the detrimental effect this has on the youth because we’re all victims, we sabotage ourselves to remain commitment-free.”
With the dating apps and dating sites being so available, and the next possible dating potential a click away, there is less of a need to make decisions or commitments. The FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) syndrome, makes us wonder if the ‘one’ is the ‘next one’, or the ‘other one’… With so many options in the dating world, the need to make a commitment is less crucial.
When we are afraid to make a commitment, to yourself, our job, our date, or our partners, we are missing the opportunity to go deeper into our fears and our vulnerability. We are keeping our self ‘safe’ so that we will not get hurt or rejected.
From this recent article in the Huff Post,
“You do it because you fear making the wrong decision. That may make sense to you but it is not very logical. Here is why: It is true that you take a risk when you commit to something or someone. However, you are also risking something by extending the wait for that “perfect” opportunity. In fact, the risk of losing the other opportunity is much greater than the risk of the commitment itself! Take a look at exceptional people and you will see that they were not afraid to take a risk and were rewarded by huge success and most importantly with personal growth and fulfillment in return. The cost of success and fulfillment is commitment. If you want to succeed, you need to commit to a goal or a cause.”
Even when we are in a ‘committed relationship‘ it is still imperative that we make it a regular ritual and intention, to remind ourselves and our partners, how much we value them.
In our Hold Me Tight workshops, participants start to look at the flow and cycles of their relationship. We get to identify and how fears hijacks the relationship over and over. We become raw and vulnerable and open up to our partners. Couples find way to re-connect with each other, and make a renewed commitment to their relationship.
Many of you have already been asking about our next Hold Me Tight workshop. Here are the the new dates (September 17-18th, 2016):
Owen brings with him the width of decades of leading and facilitating men’s group all over the country, helping men access their masculine vulnerability. Owen’s presence, and his work with couples and men, will enhance this upcoming Hold Me Tight workshop, by offering his depth, support, and perspective to the couples in our workshop.
As I keep the groups small and intimate, if you know you want to sign up, I will encourage you to do so shortly, as I do tend to fill up.
This is a great opportunity to have a deeper and vulnerable look at your relationship, develop new skills to recognize the cycle and patterns that inflict the relationship and keep you separated and apart, and it is also a beautiful time to connect and highlight the strengths of your relationship, and build on the positives that already exist.
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
~ Melody Beattie