February 15, 2020

Spoiler Alert: The best singers don’t always make it to Broadway and the athletes with the greatest natural ability don’t always make it to the Pro’s. The smartest students don’t always graduate college and the cutest couples don’t always last.

Why? What is the key ingredient in the recipe for “success” for those who do succeed? The answer is as complicated as it is simple. Let’s discuss it.

We have watched as athletes rise hours before the sun, and torture their bodies mercilessly with endless exercise and practice. Their diets are followed with fanatical precision. We have witnessed students fight through sleep deprivation, working two jobs and studying every waking moment for years on end. We have heard the stories of countless entertainers who have sacrificed everything to follow their dream, risk all to get that “break” and then to dedicate their lives to their craft. Each of these individuals is uniquely diverse in their struggle. But there is a common character trait that runs through each of their unique stories and is tied to their ultimate success. They were Committed. Nothing would deter their efforts. Critics, climate, calamity, concerns, costs or any other “c”s that would seek to set them back were mere obstacles to be overcome on the way to their goal. Success and Commitment are indelibly linked. You cannot maintain success without commitment; and sustained commitment will ultimately yield success.

We attach commitment to so many endeavors and call it a virtue. But the one area where commitment is the most needed is also the most devastated when it is lost. I remember a time when a man’s word was his bond. What if it still was and what if we all really meant every word of the vows taken on our wedding day? Okay, back to reality…

 My wife and I are often asked, what is the secret to our lasting marriage, our continued love and our enduring passion for one another? There really is no secret. The answer is public knowledge. And we have not cornered the market on it. It’s that word again: Commitment.

Commitment means putting in the work. Success is the driver. The variables are irrelevant. Commitment is not relative. It is there or it is not. The only question is to whom am I committed? Have I committed myself to her, or to me? These two commitments are very different but appear very similar in the beginning. If it is to me, then the relationship is about what I get out of it. As soon as it becomes too inconvenient and my investment exceeds my perceived return she becomes my opponent. I compete with her in order to derive my personal satisfaction even at her expense. Does she make me happy? Do I feel loved? Has she met my needs? By the way, none of which was in our marriage vows. But if it is to her that I am committed, then I am committed to the task to insure she is protected, provided for, secure, sheltered and fed. I am committed to see that she is unafraid, comfortable and knows she is loved. I am committed to her well-being, and her health. I am committed to see that her smile is reoccurring, her passion is nurtured and her love tank is on full. I am committed to her need for companionship, conversation and exclusivity. I am committed to see to her social, sexual and spiritual needs.

When differences arise and friction heats up the space between us, there is an unspoken security that always comforts us. We know that those problem times have limits. We are not going anywhere. See, there are certain words that are not mentioned in our moments of conflict because they are not relevant possibilities. The cursed words that go unspoken in our home are words like “get out”, “I’m leaving”, “Why did I marry you?”, “Break up”, and the big one “Divorce”. These words are foreign to our vocabulary in the good times as well as the bad. Commitment says “Get in there and fix it.”, “You are not going anywhere, so the longer you leave it broke is just precious time wasted.” “Why live in a mess… you are not moving… you are committed to this home… clean it up!” I told my wife a long time ago, “If you leave me, I’m coming with you!” She believes it. Commitment is a mindset that results in action. Just like the athlete, the student, the entertainer and the hopeful couple, commitment requires work, sacrifice, hope and endurance. Each of the areas of success for those other previously mentioned endeavors are short-live and petty by comparison. But the success in marriage is life-long and rewarding beyond description.

I am committed. That truth brings a smile to my face when I look over and see that the one I committed myself to has committed herself to me.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave (commit) unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (ASV)

by Rev. James K. Grayson, Sr.

photo cred. ~ Andrew Itaga (@and73w)

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