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I Won’t Commit to Forever

By: Michael Sheely

Before we got married, I told my wife I wouldn’t promise to be with her forever.

Of course I loved her an wanted to be with her. There was a bouncy kid on a trampoline inside my stomach each time I got on an airplane to visit her.

I was in that magical energy of flirtatious hopefulness, the hot sex and the poetry of falling in love. But I wasn’t willing to say I would be with her forever.

It wasn’t because I knew that the bouncy excitement of new romance would fade as we slipped into the routine of togetherness.

It was because I loved her and didn’t want to make a promise I couldn’t keep. I wanted to commit to something more meaningful than an outcome. I wanted to commit to a way of being.

Traditional marriage vows promise the outcome of staying together. Most couples on their wedding day say some version of, “til death do us part.” Despite this, most marriages end in divorce.

So when my wife and I got married we shared vows that spoke about how we wanted to be together. Vows like committing to clearing up anything that gets in the way of feeling close to one another; committing to honesty and sharing our thoughts, feelings, and desires, even when its hard; and, committing to take responsibility for our own experience rather than blaming the other person for how we feel.

We love our vows so much that we continue to say them to one another. Sometimes we say them because we are in some new and beautiful place and we want to celebrate being in love. Sometimes we say them when challenges come up in our relationship and we want to find our way back to love.

I hope to grow old with my wife so we can watch our grandkids bouncing on trampolines. To help us do that we re-commit to each other a few times a year.

Re-committing to a way of being together may not have the same magical, flirtatious hopefulness of falling in love. But the enduring love that we create by growing together has its own magical power. A power that can only be discovered by continuing to commit to the way of being that helped us fall so deeply in love.

Michael Sheely and Chandra Cantor lead Couple’s Retreats in beautiful Western Massachusetts.

For more information visit Re-committing to Love.

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