Are you in two minds about where the relationship is going? The heady rush of your love is over and you have to decide whether to take the next step or not. Do you want to stay together, make the all-important commitment or just call it a day? Commitment is consistency, being together and taking a rational decision about your relationship. But can love be rational is the question. What is more important in love – feelings or commitment? Let’s try to find out.
What is more important – feelings or commitment?
Commitment is the desire for stability, the willingness of make sacrifices for the sake of the other person. When you commit to someone, you will not be looking for new romantic experiences any more. But this might be boring for some people who want the heady feelings of love to last. Take a look at the two types of love, and then let’s see which is more important – feelings or commitment.
In the feelings vs. commitment debate, feelings have to be taken into account. After all, if you do not feel anything for the other person, how can you stay with them for your entire life? Romantic love is the love which makes us compose poems, write love sonnets, sing and dance et al. You cannot describe this feeling when you are totally smitten with a person. It’s special and makes the whole world better. It must be true love, you think.
But after a while, the incredible ride starts to slow down, and those intense feelings become a bit watered down. Scientists think that romantic love is due to the need for humans’ mammalian drive, which makes us pursue people we think are perfect for us. Our feelings are all over the place, with pounding hearts and starry eyes.
But guess what? Scientists say that the decisions we take during this phase of love may not be the right choice, as our judgment becomes impaired. We lose our sense of self and over-identify with the loved one. Getting carried away by someone and deciding to stay with them may turn out to be a difficult situation later on. The magic goes out the relationship and the love fizzles out when we gradually get to know the person.
Therefore, feelings may not be more important in feelings vs. commitment argument. But the fact cannot be ignored most people go through intense period of intense feelings before they make a commitment.
Romantic love, which is all about ‘feelings’ is considered true love by some people. It is very difficult to sustain this love, and if the adored person turns out to have feet of clay, (as they are real people with their real traits), and the whirlwind dies down. Love based on just feelings may not be lasting love. Some people run at the first sight of problems in the relationship, ultimately unable to make any commitment to anyone. So for people such as these, feelings are more important than other aspects of love.
Love which is committed is something which is steady and lasting. It does not have tremendous ups and downs, which can overwhelm you. Instead, it has affection, support, stability, loyalty and caring for each other. In a committed relationship, the couple is willing to share the activities of normal life – taking out the trash, caring for the baby together, sharing the same meals, cooking together and watching the same shows together.
When you commit to each other, the intense feelings would probably have been tamed and what remains is respect and mutual affection. So there are feelings in a committed relationship too, but your entire existence is not ruled by your feelings. You are able to go through the day without experiencing distress if you do not hear from your loved one the whole day. You have trust and faith in the person, and do not make any conclusions.
The thought of taking out the trash together is not romantic for some people, who crave for excitement. Being in a committed relationship seems too mundane. On the other hand, it’s better not to commit to someone towards whom you have absolutely no attraction or romantic feelings.
The best of both worlds
Romantic love and committed relationship seem to be at two ends of the spectrum. If you’re too sold out on the idea of ‘Prince Charming’, or vice versa, you may end up thinking that your relationship is not working if the excitement dies down. But feelings are not more important than being able to think logically. The huge rate of divorce suggests that people are able to recognize the right partner or the person who is compatible with them.
Relationships which last demand much more than just feelings require sacrifice, the willingness to overlook the faults of the other person and adjust to their personality. More important than feelings, is the ability to communicate. It is when communication breaks down, that relationships begin to crumble. Mostly, it has been found that relationships which were forged on the basis of intense emotions do not last when the emotional drama dies down.
So what is the best of both worlds? It is to decide to commit to the person with whom you feel good, feel happy but can talk freely too. You don’t mind the humdrum chores when you’re together. You can create the magic in a relationship by taking vacations together, going out for dates, just the two of you, surprise each other with gifts or even go to the gym together.
If you are ‘into’ each other, through the ups and downs of life, you will be able to stay together for your life. It seems that though feelings are important, commitment is more essential to experience a love which can last. Committed love arises out of the whirlwind of courtship, when two people take the decision to be partners with each other. Romance need not die in a committed relationship, but the nature of it changes. Accepting this will lead to a healthy and happy relationship which can turn out to be the best thing in your life!