Commitment Phobia???

At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, what’s with all this living-together-before-you-marry experiment?  And why are young people waiting until their late 20’s on into their late 30’s before tying the knot?

I should preface my thoughts by saying that my generation has a poor track record to stand on when it comes to successful marriages.  50% is nothing to shout about, for sure.  Maybe this new way of marrying will work out better than it’s predecessor; only time will tell.  But I do have some concerns about where young adults heads are at when it comes to committed relationships.

Many 20-somethings seem to have a mismatch between their aspirations and reality.  They believe that they are going to find this perfect mate and have this perfect relationship right off the bat.  Perhaps this derives from the fact that they have been pushed their whole lives to be perfect in academics, athletics, and any other activity they were involved in.  Many have been put on pedestals and indulged for the unique, bright champions they are expected to be.  It’s tough to drop these labels and expectations.

This indulged generation has also grown up not having to delay gratification, and thus they expect instant fame, success, abundance, and gratification in all aspects of their lives.  This makes me worry that they don’t know what it takes to sacrifice, put off pleasure, collaborate, cooperate, and be fully responsible when it comes to relationships.

In the past, we valued the process of couples growing together.  You built your careers, nest, family, and futures together.  Talk to your grandparents about their marriage, and I bet most will look back at those lean years as the most fun and gratifying of all.  Tough times and sacrifice for a common good brought people together, and created the grit and closeness to carry them through challenges.

I believe that satisfaction and fulfillment come mostly from commitment, not from succeeding in getting results.  It’s the process that’s most important, not the outcome.

And I worry that living together before marriage is not the same commitment as marriage.  Without the vow, it’s just playing house.  And that may not give couples motivation to do the hard work involved in creating a life-long relationship.

5 thoughts on “Commitment Phobia???”

  1. Interesting perspective. I agree with several of your points. This generations did grow up believing that they are entitled to whatever they want and many also seem to believe that someone else should fulfill their desires. They want things instantly and seem to lack a desire to work (in any capacity) for what they think they deserve.

    However, I firmly believe that one of the reasons that our generation had such a high divorce rate was that we followed the rules and believed in the fantasy of a perfect pairing after marriage. We went into our marriages thinking that everything would work out with this person who had presented only their best side during the dating experience. Had we spent some time actually living with them, we might have figured out that those little irritations can become deal-breakers when they are in your face every day.

    Let’s face it, there are personality traits that we can overlook if we only have to deal with them occasionally or think that we will be able to change. If you deal with those traits on a daily basis and realize that they are part of the basic make-up of a person, you may not choose to commit to that person. I would much prefer that my children understand a potential mate very well before making a lifelong commitment to them. I advised each of my children to spend at least a year living with their potential mates prior to marrying them. It seemed to work for the most part. (Some people have an evil side that doesn’t surface for years.) The one child who chose not to live with his spouse in advance was divorced less than 2 years later. She decided he was boring when she had to live with him every day.

    No one can know everything about a person just by living with them for a year, but I think one would have a much better understanding of what kind of relationship they will have if they test it intensely first.

    P.S. I don’t remember what you did prior to marrying, but you made a great choice 🙂

  2. I have NO idea why Anne said yes!!! I believe that it doesn’t really make that much difference if you live together or not before marrying. What will predict a good marriage has mostly to do with their communication skills; do they have the tools to listen to each other and peacefully and respectfully work out issues. Couples need to be willing to grow together, and also to do things like couple’s retreats and seminars so that they keep learning about each other.
    There is a big difference between being married and living together; the word is commitment. It means you no longer have one foot in and one foot out, and divorce is not an option. I think that changes everything….Tim

  3. Gracie and I have been sharing your blogs and it has led to some interesting conversation between us. The A& F blog was great.


    Sent from my iPad

Comments are closed.


You are now subscribing to our newsletter list for more good stuff!

Family Meeting Guidelines

Get your free copy of these guidelines for effective family meetings!

Scroll to Top