Commitment is a critical factor in making therapy work, particularly in the context of couples therapy. When both partners are committed to working on the relationship, they are more likely to experience positive outcomes, repair their relationships and heal ruptures in relationships, build resilience, and strengthen their bond. On the other hand, if one or both partners are not fully committed to the healing process, therapy can become a frustrating and ineffective experience for both parties.
Why does commitment help?
Imagine being in a room that requires a lot of repairs. It will take you a long time to work on it. The work is hard and you will have to accept that you have a role in why the room is in the condition that it is in and learn some new skills, acquire new tools and give up some old ones that you are comfortable using in order to repair it. Now imagine you have stopped caring about the room and you don’t feel fully committed to it. You look around and you see an exit door that looks very tempting. What is the likelihood that you will actually do the work in this room and how good of a job do you think you will do? Now imagine there is no exit door. You have the choice to live in the room and keep it the way it is or you can work on it. With the exit door in your side view, you are more likely to focus on all the reasons why this room is not worth committing to and repairing. However, without the exit door, you are more likely to think of many reasons why this room is worth your commitment and efforts to repair it.
Commitment helps couples stay in emotionally focused therapy. Couples who are committed to therapy are more likely to stay focused on their goals, even when the counselling process gets tough. They are more likely to be invested in the healing process and willing to put in the time and effort required to see progress.
Commitment promotes honesty and vulnerability. Honesty and vulnerability are essential components of effective couples therapy. When both partners are fully committed to the process, they are more likely to be open and honest with each other about their feelings, fears, and concerns. They are more likely to own up to their part and accept responsibility for it.
Commitment helps couples build trust. Trust is a critical component of any healthy relationship. When both partners are fully committed to therapy, they are more likely to be able to build trust with each other. This can help to strengthen their bond and improve their relationship issues and their own communication skills.
Lack of commitment can lead to relationship conflict and frustration. The partner who is not committed can feel frustrated and resentful for having to do the work when they are not sure they want to be in the relationship. The committed partner can feel frustrated that all their hard work is not paying off and their efforts are not acknowledged or appreciated. This can create tension, anxiety, depression and resentment and can undermine the effectiveness of therapy.
Reaffirming commitment to your partner is an important way to maintain a strong and healthy relationship. Here are some ways you can do so –
Communicate regularly. Regular communication is key to maintaining a strong and healthy relationship. Make time to talk to your partner about your feelings, your own life goals, and your plans for satisfying relationship in the future. This can help to develop and strengthen your bond and ensure that you are both on the same page.
Show appreciation. Let your partner know that you appreciate them and all that they do for you. This can be as simple as saying “thank you” or showing affection in small ways.
Make time for each other. In the midst of busy schedules and daily life demands, it can be easy to neglect your relationship. Make a commitment to spending quality time with your partner on a regular basis, whether it’s a date night, a weekend getaway, or even just a quiet evening at home.
Keep the romance and intimacy alive. Romance can help to keep the spark of intimacy alive in your relationship. Surprise your partner with thoughtful gestures, plan romantic outings, and show affection and support in meaningful ways.
Stay open and honest. Trust is a crucial component of any strong relationship. Stay open and honest with your partner, even when it’s difficult. This can help to see relationship issues, reduce stress and build a deep and lasting bond between the two of you.
Seek outside help. If you’re struggling to reaffirm your commitment to your partner, don’t be afraid to seek outside help. Couples therapy can be a valuable resource for addressing any issues in your relationship and finding ways to strengthen your bond.
Remember, reaffirming commitment to your partner is an ongoing process and commitment is a critical component of effective couples therapy. When one person or both partners are fully committed to the process of counselling, they are more likely to experience positive outcomes, build resilience, and strengthen their bond. Conversely, if one person or both partners are not fully committed to therapy, it can become a frustrating and ineffective experience for one person or both parties. It is important for couples to be honest with themselves and each other about their level of commitment before embarking on therapy.
Maha Elias is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), Comprehensive Family Mediator (FMC), and sexual health and trauma-informed marriage counselling and couples therapist with a counselling and couples therapy private practice in Victoria, British Columbia.