There is no better time to talk about commitment than the week of my 25th wedding anniversary. Love is not the only thing that has gotten us this far – commitment has played an essential role. My relationship with my husband has grown and flourished over time because we invest in our marriage, and in each other.
Commitment is a decision. By observing the successful marriage partnership of my parents, I learned this was true. Thus, the importance of commitment was clear when I married at age 34. We were in love, and willing to commit to each other. That was worth the wait!
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor in WWII Germany, said it best in a letter he sent from prison to his engaged daughter. To slightly paraphrase my favorite line:
From the moment you marry, it is not your love which will sustain your commitment, but your commitment which will sustain your love.
You know you love someone, AND are committed to the relationship, when you nurse that person through a nasty virus – risking your own health. Or, you learn to swim and sail when, previously, you had been deathly afraid of water. Or, you go to the bank together to combine your individual accounts into joint accounts.
Any relationship ebbs and flows over time — even the most committed ones. The same rhythm happens with our children, our family, our closest friends and in our connection with God. Sometimes we are more engaged in the relationship than at other times. But, that does not mean we are not committed.
When we know we can count on someone or something, we feel secure. Safe. Strong. The trust others place in our commitment to them is critical to the continuation of the relationship. Loyalty deepens our connection.
Commitments are not always life-long. At their best, marriages, families and faith are, but some friendships may be more tied to circumstance and opportunity.
Starting a business is a huge commitment. Once we’ve signed the lease, or ordered the raw materials, or hired employees, we cannot simply walk away. Others are depending on us and we are depending on them. (Again, you want to have a strong business plan before you make these commitments.)
Business ownership may not be a life-time commitment. Sadly, sometimes it makes sense to cut our losses and look elsewhere to use our abilities and talents. Perhaps we have the opportunity to pass the reigns to someone else — a family member, a key employee or a buyer.
Even if you look at your business as a shorter-term stepping-stone, make a mental commitment to make it work. That, alone, can make an extraordinary difference in your ability to succeed.
What are your commitments? What can you do to strengthen them?
Until we meet again,
The Entrepreneur’s Friend
The Entrepreneur’s Friend® is a registered trademark of Wheaton Consulting Group LLC. Photo credits: All photos were taken by Cynthia Wheaton and owned by Wheaton Consulting Group LLC except as noted. Coffee cup art by Jim Wheaton. Author support: Fellow authors from The Wrinklings and Light of Carolina Christian Writers Group.