Morning Thought: Why do men commit?
Updated: Dec 29, 2019
THIS MORNING I ASKED MYSELF...
“In a world where sex is so readily available, why do most men stay in relationships or are willing to commit to long-term relationships? More importantly, what pushes me to find one?"
A Google search on “Why men commit?” came up with various versions of “... men are looking for a safe place...”
I looked back and realized that the moments I felt I wanted to get married coincided with my feelings of coming to a safe place / home / person. Conversely, the moments that made me shy away from marriage - were those where I felt unsafe... where something deep inside me told me this wasn’t safe...
And it really hit me... aren’t we all? Isn’t our quest for safety at the root of all of our relationships?
So if it’s what we seek, is it also what keeps us together?
So I went on to search for what makes a solid relationship and the top values were:
Honesty, integrity, trust, communication, loyalty, commitment, respect - in that order.
But aren’t all of those values the foundations of what is a safe relationship? Thereby confirming that long-lasting relationships are those that feel safe?
And so I asked myself, does feeling safe translates into more happiness?
And I remembered a Ted Talk “What makes a good life: the longest study on happiness.” - which stated that in order to live a good/happy life, you needed 3 things:
. Giving time to others that need it
. Developing and mending a strong support network of friends and family
. A partner that you knew would be there for you when times got tough.
And I couldn’t help but think how they are also quite inextricably linked to our need for safety... both our desire to give a safe place for others and our need to feel safe amongst the ones that are closest to us...
So... if safety makes for happier people, how do make it a safer world for those around us?
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
We have a duty therefore to make the people around us feel good, peaceful - safe. But how?
I believe it is about being honest, kind, humble (knowing you don’t know it all) and caring. It’s about creating a place where people feel listened to without being judged. It’s about being there for them. It’s taking the time to make the ones around us feel safe.
It is about investing... in many ways... in those relationships both when times are good and when times are bad. That is the definition of commitment.
But most importantly, it’s about making ourselves better. It’s about building our own character. It’s about living a life of high moral standards where you demonstrate through deeds, not words, your quest for doing what is right - always... for pushing yourself to be a better, more virtuous person.
Better people are the ones that you can trust. Better people are the ones that say what they do and do what they say.
Because better people are more dependable people. And more dependable people are safer people.
But then how do we pick people that are safe?
“Honesty is a very expensive gift. Do not expect it from cheap people.”
- Warren Buffett
If honesty, integrity, trust, communication, loyalty, commitment are key to creating a safer, better life then how do we look for people who value them?
I’ve come to believe that in the same way we may interview employees on their values, we should look for signs of virtue in our close relationships as well.
You want to connect with virtuous people that have demonstrated character... and in order to see character, don’t look at what people say - look at how they act or acted in the past.
People are tested when things get tough not when everything is going well... so if you want to know how they will react when things get tough... look at how they’ve handled adversity in their past.
You want to look for people who have pushed themselves to make either themselves or the world better. People who have demonstrated sacrifice rather than indulgence in their personal lives. Who have demonstrated resilience by sticking and working through hardships. Who have learnt the value of truth and the cost of insincerity. People who understand that doing the right thing should always take precedence over doing the easy thing.
It isn’t easy to find these people anymore. It seems that so much of these values now appear to be outdated... chivalrous... as though they belong to the medieval times.
They clash with the values of today who put the self and our “happiness” at the Center or all that we should seek. A life of indulgence... a life of pleasure... of chasing more, faster, better...
It is this relentless chase for more and better that takes us away from investing more in the relationships we have... to give them the depth, strength, love and care they deserve.
And we forget that is only by investing in our relationships - that we can build the strong and wide support network network we all need - because that brings safety....
And safety is the foundation for a richer, fuller, better and more peaceful life.