Commitment-Phobia

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.

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Assisi (18)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)

 

 

 

 

7 Comments

  1. I am 100% guilty of being “The Over Discerner.” I have some friends who tell me I’d make a great priest. I have other friends who keep asking me when I’m going to “find someone.” I’ve been getting this a lot lately. I think it’s because my younger sister just got married. I keep praying but still no answers. Any suggestions???

    By Andrew Lind | 3 years ago Reply
    • Just wait and let it go for a while. When it’s right, you will know. Visit a seminary if you can, and pray for your future wife. God will lead you. Try looking at the uncertainty as an adventure; God’s written your plot, you are just the character waiting to find the answers. I’m an Over Discerner too, and we tend to over think things WAY too much! It’s ok. <3 I promise. Just live your life and above all, don't be afraid. God's got this. Try asking for St. Michael's intercession if you get scared like I do! 🙂

      God bless. <3

      By Anonymous | 3 years ago Reply
    • Take a girl out on a date, Andrew. Discern through action and God will lead you to the “someone” in His time. Remember His timing is perfect, and he knows what is best for you. If you desire to pursue a woman and pure intentions motivate you, go for it. And above all trust in Him.

      By John | 3 years ago Reply
    • Hello Andrew,

      While I am not a counselor or by no means a professional this topic, I would like to give you some advice. I have a young priest friend that recently told me his personal road to becoming a priest. He had never thought that is what he would want to be in life and always dreamed of getting married and raising a big family. He dated a girl in college who brought him closer to Christ. They both talked about marriage paisiabilites and were going to medical school to become doctors and help server God through their profession and mission trips. They got engaged and were both very far in their medical profession when his fiancé sat him down one day and told him that she was constantly praying and feels like God is pushing him to become a priest and that he would make a really awesome priest. At first he denied this. She pushed and prayed for their relationship to be what God wanted and God’s plan. Every month they would have this same conversation until it was every week. His mother sat him down and told him this also. Finally, he told them he would go to seminary school for two years and if he wasn’t convinced that this is what God wanted then he would quit. So, he did just that and realized God was calling him into priesthood. He and his fiancé loved each other deeply, but his love for God was what his life was calling him to and they both realized and accepted this. They are still in contact with each other and she even helps his parents when he cannot. She became a doctor and went on missions and eventually owned her own practice. Now she is selling her practice and is going to become a sister because she feels like she is being called to serve differently.

      I always had a passion in the back of head to become a nun. I dates several times and was really close to marriage at one point and then the realitionship fell apart. Although, now I can see why the realizationship wasn’t meant to be, it took me a while not to see it as a sign to become a nun. After this heartbreak I instantly started researching a sister convent and was pretty sure this is where I wanted my life to go, I was worried about my parents though and was holding back since I was the only child and they were looking forward to grandchildren. I went to a catholic conference (SEEK-FOCUS which I highly recommend doing there is one ever two years this one is in Nashville, TN Jan.1-4) and a talk to a priest who was an only child and told me my parents would either eventually accept this or that I would find satisfaction in my service to God to know that I did the right thing. I still was not truly convienced this was my path even as I talked to some sisters and gave them my info. One sister gave me the best advice that I pass to you. Pray. Pray daily that God will open your eyes and heart to seek His word and plan and help you know the difference between what you want and what your meant for. In the end, your path will include both, what you want and what you are meant for. So, I prayed. I prayed a lot. I prayed that God would send me a sign on if I was called to religious life or called for marriage. Long months later I met a guy, and long story short, he is now catholic and we are sure each other is the one and are both about ready to leap to the next step of marriage. Now, this does not mean that I’m positive of my new path and that this is what God wants, but I am learning to live my life, not worry about the next steps, and to keep my eyes and ears open.

      The reason I tell you this story is to give you advice and show you that sometimes you have to just go with the flow of life and live your life instead of waiting for a sign. God will send you signs, you just have to have your eyes and heart open when they come, and they will come often not just once so you won’t miss it. You will know when God is calling you to fatherhood or the priesthood, it will be a connection and you will feel like you are complete or whole. It will not suddenly hit you, it will be a progression of things that happen in your life to make you realize God’s true plan. God has his reasons and plans. He works on His own time, not yours. Pray daily, trust him to guide you, but also, let Him guide you. If you are constantly worrying about what the next step is in your life then you could miss a very important sign. You must Carpi Diem, seize the day and let what happens just do exactly that, happen. God will show the way in His own time. Either you will eventually meant the woman of your dreams and raise a family or your will find your fulfillment in serving The Lord and raise a church family. Either way you will find happiness as you let God guide you and be an everlasting burning light in your life and in your heart. I hope these thoughts and advice help you and mah God bless you! You will be in my prayers!

      By Brandi Bazemore | 3 years ago Reply
    • Andrew, maybe your prayers are being answered, but you’re really only focused on one answer right now. Have you tried just simply praying, “Thy will be done”? And enjoy life a little! Don’t stress so much about your vocation because when God knows you’re truly ready to see His plan for you, He will make it clear to you.

      By Bernadette | 3 years ago Reply
    • Hey there! Yeah, discernment is rough–oh, I’ve definitely been in those “over-discerning” stints before. Every single person is different, but here’s what I’ve learned in discernment: 1. There is value and merit to hearing out what other people tell you, but we can’t let ourselves be controlled by other people. 2. Regardless of your vocation, you will need to be a holy man. Ergo, 3. Commit yourself to growing in holiness and building up holy friendships with both sexes. 4. Wherever you experience the deepest peace of God is most likely where He wants you at a given moment, since He is the Prince of Peace.

      I know plenty of men who have gone to seminary and ended up leaving and getting married, and I also know priests who had dated prior to discerning God’s will for them in the seminary-sometimes you need to walk with God down one path before He shows you where He wants you. Andrew, I will pray for you! (I also talked a little bit about discernment in a recent blog post, so if you take a look at my blog link, you should find it)

      By AnneMarie Miller | 3 years ago Reply

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