A recent associate owns and manages an executive temporary staffing agency. Companies and individuals use his services without a contract. For example, clients can hire an executive to meet their needs for as short or long a period as they liked, an hour or six months. It’s an unorthodox way of doing business that is catching on, and also holds a lesson which is applicable to all our relationships. And though it may seem just as unorthodox in intimate relationships as in business relationships the lesson is this: commitment is overrated. At least it is the way that we generally apply it to our romantic relationships.
If commitment is not overrated, it is certainly unnecessary. Here is an example:
If I were to stand on a corner giving out fifty $10 bills every day at 8am, I would not need to get a commitment from recipients to return the following day. Why? Because I am offering value. The value ensures repeat customers. I would not need to ask the person that came on Monday to commit to returning on Tuesday. In fact, if they did not return on Tuesday, there would assuredly be someone else happy to take me up on my offer.
Why do we often believe that we are not bringing the same value (or more) to our relationships? Why do we request commitments from our romantic partners, instead of being confident in or developing ourselves into people that bring value? The level of value that we believe that any partner would want to return to daily without obligation.
If you were to take a moment, right now, and tell your spouse or significant other that you did not require that he/she remains committed to you, and that he or she is were free to leave and do whatever or be with another person with your full and complete blessing, what would happen to you? How would you feel? Would you feel calm and at ease? Would you never do such a thing, and call the exercise preposterous? If you did ask this question, would you be scared of your partner’s response?
A feeling of calm and ease is indicative of someone who believes that they bring value to their relationship. If you would either avoid asking the question, or fear the results after asking the question, your response is based in a belief, whether you know it or not, that you do not bring enough value to your relationship that would warrant your partner remaining with you indefinitely.
In case you are saying to yourself, “Okay, I believe that I am valuable, and I am willing to make such a statement to my partner. But what if s/he decides to leave me and go and be with someone else, something I really do not want?” If you are valuable, and your partner decides to “be with someone else,” instead of you, then they did not believe that you were valuable in any measurable manner that I would (if I were you) consider significant. This is some of the most priceless information that you can be given to you. To some degree, I wish to avoid typing the following words because I believe that everyone will come to this conclusion on their own. But, what would you do if you knew that your partner believed that you did not bring value? I hope that you would want to leave the situation, or change it dramatically at the very least.
Or you could take the opportunity to sit down and evaluate yourself. Are you bringing your best skills to the table of your partnership? Are you actively contributing value to your relationship by giving it the time and attention it deserves? Are there ways you could enhance your skills so that you become more valuable in the eyes of your partner? The latter is the selection that I suggest the least. Assuming that your partner is your partner because at some point he or she noticed and found value in you or what you did. Maybe his/her perception changed. Maybe you haven’t really been trying. Maybe you have forgotten or taken for granted the value you hold for yourself. That is ok. But, remember you bring value TODAY. Do you value yourself enough to conduct yourself accordingly?