My question to you and to [Gottlieb] is: what about commitment outside of marriage. Do you have to actually get married to commit?
I have no idea what Gottlieb would say (although it would likely lean to the left) but I sure would be thrilled if she read my blog in the first place. (Somebody wanna tip her off?)
My own reaction was to demur. "It's not my place to say," began my inner politician. Then my inner writer grew red and embarrassed to share head space with a politician, reminded me that I am a BlogHer, and said, "He just wants your opinion. It's not like it'll become decree; you're not Oprah (yet). Just tell him
So these are my personal thoughts, not intended to start a book club.
Part One of The Answer: No, you do not have to legally marry to commit.
I am far from matrimony de juro, yet I feel quite committed (oh so committed, boringly committed, tired-on-Friday-night committed) to H and it has been this way since the first few weeks when we said to each other, "I can see myself married to you." "Me too."
therefore, Part Two of The Answer: But I personally find it useless to date unless you are looking to marry.
For me the feeling of commitment is intertwined with the shared goal of marriage. It makes the commitment feel that much more solid: you live every day of your life upon the foundation of your staying together. Long-term goals include each other and the journey takes a much more fulfilling shape. There is a sense of security that is unparalleled when you know the other person is factoring you into each decision.
I always wanted to marry, but I was not always ready. In my early twenties I craved The Fabu, so much so that my oldest college friend still thinks of me whenever "Glamorous" plays. I have since slipped into a fine taste for the mundane so suddenly it is underwhelming.
Dating has also been better with marriage on the mind. There is a striking difference in the commitment levels of men who want to marry one day and everyone else. The first feels like a relationship. The second just gives you a push-pull, borderline-kind of anxiety that makes you ask, "What's the point?"
If there is another way to develop the kind of commitment deep and steady enough to heal childhood wounds, to allow you to blossom into your full self, to provide stability to your life, to raise an actual child and to form the foundation of society, then be it. Cast marriage off. But to this day, nothing has paralleled the cultural and psychological power of matrimony. Those who truly believe in loving commitment, who are ready to flush their hearts with it, are not afraid to give their relationship a name. Anything else is plain old commitment-phobia.
Settling For More