Many of us have gone through the process of checking event invites on Facebook. And sometimes, there’s an invite to that one party you just don’t want to attend. But, you want something to do Friday night. So, wanting to keep all options open—in case nothing better comes along—you click “maybe attending.” No commitment, no accountability, and if you have nothing better to do, you can go. For me, clicking “maybe attending” on Facebook invites has always been an easy answer, because I don’t have to commit. Yet, I’ve found little fulfillment in giving such noncommittal responses. And, unfortunately, “clicking maybe” seeps into our culture as people try to not commit themselves. In regards to relationships, I have noticed a few different tendencies:
The Neverending Flirt. Many of us have seen the cute guy in the hallway who has an entourage of women that he flirts with continually. Yet, he doesn’t commit himself in a relationship. Or, the woman who floats from one man to another, clinging to the companionship and emotional comfort, but never really dedicating herself to a relationship with one man.
The Over Discerner. Many people, since they don’t want to make a wrong choice, pray and discern, trying to reason through every possibility. While discernment is good, it can be easy to “over discern” and never actually get around to making a decision.
The Perpetual Date. Instead of moving a relationship towards engagement and marriage—or breaking it off if marriage isn’t in the picture—many people have no committed purpose to their relationships. Sometimes, these relationships will go nowhere for years on end, until finally they become engaged and get married. Other relationships will go on for several years before finally dissolving and leaving the individuals very broken and damaged.
The Cohabitating Couple. For many people, shacking up is a “normal” activity. With no commitment of marriage, people move in together for a variety of reasons. Yet, living together out of wedlock has several negative effects, which includes damaging relationships and the intimacy reserved for marriage
Ladies and gentlemen, we are made for more than this.
We have the ability to love and sacrifice, and we can consciously choose to work for the good of other people. When we cling to a fear of commitment, our relationships suffer, and we fall short of the tremendous love that we are made for. However, when we commit ourselves to others in purpose-driven relationships, we open ourselves up to a deep and immense love. In Love and Responsibility, Karol Wojtyla (now St. John Paul II) states that “Love develops on the basis of the totally committed and fully responsible attitude of a person to a person.” In order to fully love others, we need to build commitment. Especially in a relationship between a man and a woman, commitment builds trust, deepens intimacy, teaches sacrifice, and helps them look to the others’ needs before their own.
This challenge to commit ourselves is not easy; it can actually be quite terrifying and daunting. When people start purpose-driven relationships, they don’t know the extent of growth that will take place within them. When individuals get married, they have no idea what kind of challenges and adventures they will have down the road. Doubts and fears will swirl around us, but we can’t live in fear. Honesty and commitment are better than fearful doubt. We need to have the courage to commit.
I encourage all of you to look honestly at yourselves and your relationships, and see if you are holding back because of fears, or if you are willing to courageously commit in whatever way God is calling you to—whether it means dating, engagement, marriage, or even breaking up.
You owe it to yourself, and to your significant other.
Anne Marie Miller studies Theology and English at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has a passion for the Catholic Faith, chastity, and St. Francis of Assisi, and frolicking around barefoot. In August 2013, she was blessed to marry her incredible husband, and the two of them enjoy the epic adventures of married college life. When she’s not doing homework, housework, cooking, or playing chess, AnneMarie reflects on her random observations on her blog, Sacrifice of Love. (http://marianninja.blogspot.com)