Choices and commitments set our direction.
Rituals and habits build a way of life.
And somehow the little things become the forever things.Elaine Fraser
What does forever mean to you?
In the shared narcissism and white noise of the social media age, where your stories can now disappear in minutes or become a forever digital footprint, what does forever mean?
It’s scary to think that my husband and I promised forever to each other 34 years ago. There have been times when forever looked like nowhere, no-how, no-way, but what made it stick?
Eli J Finkel wrote in Psychology Today, ‘We should be wary of making promises about our future emotional states … can you solemnly vow that you will experience love for your partner not only tomorrow but also 20 or even 50 years from now?’
So, if you’re getting married, or in a long-term relationship, is ‘Let’s see how it pans out’ a healthy mindset?’
A reporter once asked a couple who’d been married for sixty-five years what the secret was. The answer has gone viral around the world. ‘If something was broken we would fix it, not throw it away.’
Again, is this enough? How do you fix things? Relationships are complicated.
One way is to try and develop decisions and practices that are within your control on a daily basis.
Ask yourself, what commitments can I make that will lead to forever? Here a few to get you started:
- Commit to grow as individuals.
- Commit to treat each other with decency and respect, even when angry. Even if I feel like I hate you in the midst of an argument, love lurks underneath and cushions the blow.
- Commit to allow the other person to grow.
- Commit to the relationship. ‘There is nothing you could do that will make me stop loving you.’
- Commit to shared adventures.
- Commit to serving and meeting each other’s needs for love and support.
- Commit to honesty, even when it hurts.
- Commit to resolving arguments and working through issues.
- Commit to laugh, sing, joke, and play–life is too short to be too serious.
- Commit to trust and be all in with the person. Both of you. No trust–no relationship.
- Commit to build friendships with people who will be with you on the journey.
Forever isn’t all lovey-dovey, starry-eyed romance. Forever takes commitment and work and grit and pain and yes, love, hugs, and kisses.
But, it’s not just the big commitments that keep people together, it’s the rituals of our common hours that are woven, built, and put together that create forever.
Some of our forever-building daily practices include:
- He makes me a morning cup of tea.
- We go for daily walks and talks.
- We choose to love each other and tell each other, ‘I love you,’ every day.
- We pray for each other.
- It’s me being interested in motorbikes or cars and him being interested in books, just because the other person is.
Choices and commitments set our direction. Rituals and habits build a way of life. And, somehow, the little things become the forever things.
This is true not just in marriage, but in any area of life. The things we do in our common hours become the forever-building-blocks of our careers, our friendships, our faith, our lives.
How are you building your forever?