In marriage, both individuals should be equally committed to the relationship. It shouldn’t be surprising that most marriages, where both partners are not equally committed, do not last. Ladies, it’s important to understand that you can’t change your husband – unless he wholeheartedly wants to be committed.
In his book, Exchange and Power in Social, Peter Blau said, “If one lover is considerably more involved than the other, his greater commitment invites exploitation or provokes feelings of entrapment, both of which obliterate love.” Blau’s statement about differential investment in a relationship later influenced sociologist Willard Waller to coin the relatively well known “principle of least interest” associated with power in relationships. Waller concluded, “The person is able to dictate the conditions of association whose interest in the continuation of the affair is least.” So, you’re probably wondering, “What does that all mean?”
Well, for starters, Blau and Waller’s theories are true for any relationship, whether romantic, friendships, or even in business. If the woman is the most committed to a relationship, ultimately, she has less power than her husband – who inevitably possesses more power. Blau’s theory says that the love will “obliterate.” While that word may sound very Harry Potter-ish, it’s true. Love must be equal. Corinthians 13:4-5 reinforces this, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
Knowing all of this, what should you do if your husband isn’t committed? Well, the answer is complicated. You can’t make your husband be committed. You can’t force your husband to do the things healthy relationships need. You can’t make your husband value commitment the way you do. But, you can control your shared environment. See, Blau was on to something. The level of power is imbalanced when both parties aren’t equally committed. However, you can take your power back.
Communicate your feelings and invite your husband to share his feelings.
Every healthy relationship is built on the foundation of communication. Even though you can’t force your husband to communicate, you can vocalize your own feelings and setbacks, and invite your spouse to do the same.
Be honest and tell your husband how you feel. Let him know that you don’t believe he’s committed, but back it up with legitimate reasons why you feel this way. Try and site examples. However, the key to communication is a level playing field. It’s important that you don’t attack your husband and list all of the things he has or hasn’t done for you. It’s crucial that you stay focused and that your feelings are not based on your own insecurities. For example, if your husband flirts with other women, voice your concerns, express how this action jeopardizes your committed relationship, and explain how his actions impact your feelings (and your relationship).
Don’t expect or demand results. Communication takes time and it’s an ongoing process. Be patient and willing to revisit the conversation regularly.
Consider seeing a marriage counselor or mediator.
Having a third party to assist with sorting out feelings and emotions can be instrumental when working on your relationship. Your husband may feel more comfortable discussing relationship issues and the personal issues that brought him to this point. While you don’t want to give your spouse an ultimatum, you should exhaust all efforts to save your marriage. The marriage counselor is a trained professional and will have the resources (and experience) to teach your husband how to be a more committed partner.
Counseling brings out a lot of truth, so be prepared. Your husband may conclude that marriage isn’t a commitment he’s interested in. If that’s the case, the marriage counselor will be able to shed light on that truth and bring that to the surface. Additionally, the counselor will provide you and your husband with valuable resources and advice for the next chapter of your relationship.
Be an individual.
Healthy relationships only work because the partners understand themselves as individuals. Each partner doesn’t rely on the other to be happy, content and/or prosperous. If you’re not happy with yourself, no one can make you happy. Even though your husband is the one with commitment issues, it’s important for your mental health that you maintain a level head. Take the time to be an individual. Do things that interest you and make you happy. If your husband feels like he must carry the weight of your happiness, they may be burdened and translate that to being less committed.
Take up a hobby, schedule “me” time, join the book club you’ve put off, travel by yourself, and stop scheduling your free time around your husband. Once you learn how to make yourself happy, you will learn a lot about yourself and your relationship.
Make a plan.
To be clear, I’m not saying you should create a contingency plan; however, it’s important that you know where you stand. Are your personal finances in order? Do you have access to the documents and accounts, that you need? Do you have a job or are you relying on your spouse’s income? Is your resume up to date? Create a plan – not necessarily for divorce, but to protect yourself. In marriage, it’s easy to get caught up and forget about the assets and duties you’ve combined. However, if you’ve given all of the power to your husband, it’s important to revisit your finances and other necessities. Instead of viewing it as a means to an end, think of it as being an adult and having your affairs in order.
Relationships should be rewarding and not hurtful. No marriage is perfect, and they all require a lot of work; however, it’s worth it in the end. Remember, you cannot make your husband be committed. Ultimately, it’s something your husband must want for himself. Your happiness is important, and you shouldn’t sacrifice your well-being for someone who isn’t willing to be committed. Take action and follow our recommendations because in the end, you’ll be a better person if you are happy – and smarter.