Verbal Commitment To Improve The Relationship
Sometimes nothing needs to change about a concrete situation except the attitude taken towards it to make everything change. We see time and time again in the therapeutic endeavor that when people get out of neutral and into gear, when they trade the feeling of uncertainty, of being stuck, for a Self-affirming choice to improve their lives, they suddenly find themselves more equipped to tolerate their present set of circumstances.
We can certainly apply this idea to couples who are struggling. It’s usually not just their problems that are the problem, but also the uncertainty one or both partners have about whether to stay together or break up. This uncertainty cues off painful existential anxiety, anxiety that makes the present set of circumstances that much more intolerable.
Therefore an essential first step to get things back on track is a firm verbal commitment to improve the relationship. Partners let each other know in no uncertain terms that they’re in it for the long haul and are committed to doing whatever it takes to create a loving, supportive, happy environment.
This verbal commitment, when authentic, really does effect change all on its own because it diminishes painful existential anxiety, that specter of nothingness that has been hanging over the relationship. The concrete problems remain the same but they suddenly become more manageable. The verbal commitment is like a light at the end of the tunnel where before there was no light, there wasn’t even a tunnel, there was just aimless drifting in a purgatory like state.