Pragmatic Commitment to Marriage

Commitment in marriage is a multifaceted topic. There are many reasons why couples in successful marriages remain together. For example, one type of commitment is that of a moral and/or religious nature. [See previous article.] But this is not the only glue that binds partners together. This brief article focuses on another kind of commitment in marriage that is often overlooked – pragmatic commitment.

Often when we think of commitment we think of dedication or devotion. This is expressed and demonstrated not by words but by deeds. When a married person has a dedication and devotion to his/her spouse it is evident in many ways. Among other ways, this commitment can be seen in the investments that couple makes of their availability, time, finances, and so forth.

When partners are devoted to their marriage and to one another they invest much into the relationship. They build a life together that includes a home, shared activities, experiences and responsibilities, and many memories. Married couples bind themselves to one another – in a positive sense – in numerous ways.

A pragmatic commitment refers to the idea or feeling that these investments are irretrievable and worth keeping.  What begins as dedication and devotion to the marriage results in a sense of obligation or practical constraint over time.  In other words, one begins to believe that he/she has invested too much into the relationship to see it end.

Certainly economic investments play a role. A wedding, vacations, a house, vehicles, retirement savings, insurance, and many other things are just a few of the economic investments in marriage. Most people would think long and hard about the loss incurred financially if the relationship were to end. It’s human nature to consider such things.

However, there are also other investments that people take into account. Countless amounts of time and energy are invested into a marriage. There are also emotional and personal investments inherent in sharing a life together. There is a certain level of predictability and comfort in knowing one another’s routines, personalities, and so forth that comes with exposure over time. These investments into the relationship are lost if the marriage ends and, therefore, serve as motivation to keep it going.

Pragmatic commitment all by itself is not the answer to the woes of a struggling marriage. However, it does provide a stabilizing dimension. When the relationship hits tough times a pragmatic commitment can remind mates of the dedication and devotion that were shared over the course of their marriage. It informs them of the depth of the bond they share in many practical areas of life.

In this series...
Moral Commitment
Pragmatic Commitment
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