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Still waiting for a ring? Can't figure out why he won't commit?

Still waiting for a ring?  Can't figure out why he won't commit?
Love, Heartbreak

There are six aspects of commitment needed before he will be ready to pop the question.

Are you frustrated with his inability to commit? Let's face it; many men are afraid to make commitments when it comes to love and marriage! Heck, we live in a disposable world – where it is easy to have “one night stands” and avoid commitment to those we fall in love with.

The thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed throughout the world shared their stories with us about their commitment to love. While some described their fear of commitment early in their relationship, they revealed the steps they took to form a strong commitment to each other and how they decided that they decided to enter into a fulfilling lifelong relationship with the one they loved.

So, here is the question of the day: Why do some men find it so difficult to make a commitment to love? How do those indecisions about love and commitment manifest themselves in real relationships? To understand if your guy is having difficulty with commitment, evaluate how he is doing in comparison to the six aspects of commitment below:

1. Making a commitment to another human being for a lifetime requires your resolve to make, an "unalterable decision," as Alfred Adler says. Adler goes on to say that ". . . real examples of love and real marriages . . . do not allow . . . men or women (to) contemplate an escape. In none of the serious and important tasks of life do we arrange such a getaway." Someone who wants a successful marriage cannot promise a lifetime of commitment to someone they purport to love while plotting an escape at the same time. A true commitment is unalterable!

2. To make a lifetime commitment to love someone you have to feel a certain level of safety. As Maslow's hierarchy of needs demonstrates, the need for safety is just above the physiological needs. It has to be satisfied before the need for love and belonging can be met. In other words, before a man can make the commitment to love someone for a lifetime, he has to feel safe in the relationship. Building a high level of trust in the relationship will help in producing the feeling of safety.

3. If you wait to make a commitment until you have no doubts, it will never happen. When we were in graduate school studying the field of counseling we got a lot of exposure to Rollo May and we love most of what he has written, especially this, "The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt." Simply stated, if you think there will ever be a moment in a budding relationship when you will say, "I have no doubts about him/her so I am willing to make the lifetime commitment" – well, forget it! Not going to happen. If you wait for that moment to come you will never make the commitment to love anyone for a lifetime.

4. "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage," said Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher. We think he has it right. It is not enough to be deeply loved, as you must reciprocate profound love as well before a lifetime of commitment can be made. Having strength without courage is much like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz—only when he committed to being courageous could he use his strength effectively. Successful marriage is a lot like that we think. 

5. The notion that unhappy marriages are not caused by a lack of love, but by a lack of friendship was posited by Friedrich Nietzsche. Nothing truer has ever been spoken about successful marriage. You see, the person you commit to must, first and foremost, be your best friend. You cannot make a lifetime commitment to someone you only love. Lifetime commitments are made to those we consider our best friends! When we ask successfully married couples who their best friend is they always say the name of their spouse. In How to Marry the Right Guy we talk about the critical role friendship plays in making the determination that the guy you think you love is really marriage material.

6. And finally, remember this about commitment—it is NOT an on again, off again proposition. Commitment to someone whom you love and consider your best friend can't be here today and gone tomorrow. In the best marriages there is a consistency to commitment. Love and friendship can run hot and cold from time to time, but the commitment to the one you love must be an everyday thing. Commitment is forever.

The thousands of successfully married couples we have interviewed throughout the world shared their stories with us about their commitment to love and the importance of these six aspects. While some described their fear of commitment early in their relationship, they revealed the steps they took to form a strong commitment to each other before they decided to enter into a fulfilling lifelong relationship with the one they loved.

Answering the 33 questions in the Marry the Right Guy Quiz, can help you know if the guy you think you are in love with is actually the one you want to make the commitment to love for a lifetime. In How to Marry the Right Guy we took the answers to these critical questions and provided the tools to let you determine if he is actually marriage material.

By Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz
America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts

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