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The Two Faces of Commitment: Acknowledging expectations is the first step to managing them effectively in your relationship

Commitment is crucial and an essential ingredient in the recipe for marital success, relationship satisfaction, as well as trust in longevity. Commitment is pledging yourself to each other by word, action and giving up or making choices. However, couples often struggle with commitment due to disenchanted, resentfulness, experiencing conflict or having ‘grass is greener’ visions.

When couples stop acting on commitment in their relationship, they can get off track (something we never dream of when we first get together). The success of a relationship is a strong sound friendship with our partner, staying deeply committed to each other and the partnership so that we can continually build a strong emotional bank account.

Unfulfilled expectations often become the source of conflict because preconceived notion distorts the actual experience.

Acknowledging expectations is the first step to managing them effectively in your relationship. Once you and your partner both know each other’s expectations, adjustments can be made based on the how realistic they are. In doing this, it’s important to remember not to compromise the integrity of your original expectations. Instead restate them to better set you and your partner up for success.

In practice:

Wanting and expecting your relationship to stand the test of time:

  • Believe in a long-term future together, even in conflict or the hard times.
  • Don’t make threats or ‘out-plans’ when it’s not going well.
  • Have a support system that agrees that marriage is for life and that you can achieve this.

I believe we can expect great things in our marriage when commitment, love and skill work together. Sure, there are times in our lives when we have to concentrate on some of these areas specifically or seek support to help us overcome challenges but with support and understanding, we can all enjoy the blessings of a strong and committed partnership.

I hope these tools prove useful and help you enrich your relationship. If you would like further reading on commitment, please contact me on 4979 1370 or

by Robyn Donnelly
Co-ordinator, Marriage & Relationship Education CatholicCare and Secretary and NSW Representative MAREAA.

Marriage and Relationship Education is a learning opportunity, much like you would do in any other important life event. Check out the video for couples on YouTube: Keep up with the latest from the MAREAA online:

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