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Commitments Tips

Read these 22 Commitments Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Relationship tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Talk Money Before Moving In Together

Moving in together is a huge step and a sign of a committed partnership between two people. Relationships break up quickly over problems and misunderstandings about money so have a serious discussion before any time is spent looking for the little bungalow and white picket fence.
1. Decide if the communal bills are going to be paid by one person or both, in other words, which checkbook will the monthly expenses come out of? Who is designated to physically pay the bill? Even if expenses are shared evenly, nothing starts an argument faster than having the electricity shut off when someone didn't know they were supposed to pay the bill.
2. Decide how the monthly expenses such as rent, food and utilities are going to be divided each month. Having equality in these areas is the best way to start out. This way, each party is responsible for his or her own money.
3. Keep separate checking accounts. One of the worst mistakes two people make when living together is to combine checking accounts. Combined checking accounts are a topic for after the wedding, not at this stage of the relationship.
4. Decide in the beginning if asking to borrow money is “okay” or not. Every person runs out of money at the end of the month from time to time, so discuss if asking for a loan is going to work for each of you. Many people aren't comfortable giving money to their partner and loans feel impersonal. Discuss your feelings about this before the situation comes up.
5. Talk about your philosophy regarding money before you move in together. Are you a saver or a spender? Does shopping and spending money make you ‘feel' better? Are you living together to ‘save money' on expenses? Does one person earn a lot more money than the other person and how does that feel?

Know yourself and your own personal beliefs about money and then discuss that with your partner. Get every detail regarding finances out on the table and this goes a long way to stopping arguments about money in the future.

What should we think about before we get engaged?

Before You Get Engaged

Despite romantic stories of down-on-one-knee proposals, most couples these days just decide together that it's time to get engaged. If you're at that point, or almost there, here are some things to think about before an engagement:
-- Why are you getting married?
-- What do you both envision for your life together?
-- Do you want children? If so, how many? Will one of you quit or cut back on work to raise them?
-- Do you want to live in the city? Country? Abroad?
-- What are your joint financial goals? How are you going to reach them?
-- How do you plan to balance "couple time" with "independent time"?
It's entirely likely that you will disagree on one or more of these issues. Having these discussions now, speaking honestly and making agreements in consensus, may save you a great deal of trouble after the marriage.
Frequently, the process of planning a wedding brings out differences in the ways you handle conflict, family expectations, household responsibilities, and social obligations. These, too, are opportunities for shared learning and growth (or, in extreme cases, signs that you should walk away now).

What are keys in a relationship?

Cornerstones of a Relationship

For a relationship to have a solid foundation to build on you need:

Caring about each other

Respect for each others needs

Communication between each other

Truth with each other on all things big and small

Commitment to each other and the relationship you have!

Simple but truly needed in a sound relationship.

When should we marry?

Take Your Time

A lot of times when you're swept up in the rush of new love you want to marry NOW. You have these intense feelings and don't think they can ever end. A good portion of that 'rush' is your hormones reacting the way nature intended them to. Really get to know your partner. Take your time. Once the hormones have settled back down to a normal level, and you really understand your partner as a *person* that has daily concerns, shares chores, works towards common goals, and can handle your own day to day quirks, this is when you should start considering making a life-long commitment.

I am engaged and afraid to take the next step. My fiancée stares at other women. Also, he initially hid that he was dating someone else when we met. Are these signs he will cheat? Am I just being jealous?

Signs of Cheating (Yourself)

How do you know if your mate's behavior shows signs he is going to cheat? You are bothered by his looking at other women. He lied to you about being single when you first met. You worry you are ‘just being jealous.'

First things first, stop trying to decide if your feelings are valid. His possible infidelity is secondary to this betrayal of yourself. Judgment of your emotions negates their (and your) importance. Accepting and communicating who you are is necessary before you can determine what either of you are capable of.

Without blame or judgment, explain your concerns to your partner. Your goal is to share your emotions and worries, not to assign blame to either of you. Avoid telling him he is wrong, bad or responsible for your reaction. Do not give into feeling silly or apologetic for your feelings.

Expect him to respond badly at first. A defensive reaction is normal, not a sign he does not care. Do not give up or argue with him. Instead, reassure him of your love and investment in making the relationship work. Repeat this process until he hears you.

Why won´t he say I love you?

Saying I Love You

"I love you" can be very hard to say, because for some people it seems to "change things". Your partner might feel that once you say those words, you both will now only see each other, and be on the road to engagement and marriage. Even though he/she might FEEL the words, he/she may therefore be really afraid of SAYING those words, because of the permanent commitment they imply. Some people feel, once the words are spoken, that the relationship is different, and that you both might start acting much differently.

Look at your own feelings first - do *you* think things should be different if you admit your love to each other? Does this mean you should start thinking about moving in, or getting married? If you do feel that way, your partner probably senses it. Figure out first how you honestly feel about the relationship. Then find a time to sit down quietly with your partner, and talk about the words, and what they mean. You'll find things are much smoother once you both realize what is going on.

When do you commit?

Some Fears are Real

Your partner may be pushing you for a decision on a commitment, and you're just not sure it's right. Be sure you're being realistic - read my other tips on that subject. But if you ARE being realistic - if he always screams at you, if she always calls you a jerk or stupid - don't give in just because your partner is pushing. YOU deserve to be treated well. There is only one you in the world, and for every person there are other people who really accept and appreciate the kinds of talents you have.

It's not enough for someone to 'be able to deal with' the way you are. This isn't love. You should be with someone who *appreciates* and *accepts* the way you are. You don't want to be 'tolerated'. You want and deserve to be understood.

How do we commit?

Give Him/Her Time

You might be REALLY sure this is a great relationship. Your past experience, and knowledge, and feelings now help you understand how special what you have is. However, your partner has quite different background, and experience, and feelings. Let him/her reach this decision without pressure or rushing. If you rush into a decision, it will always be second-guessed later on, any time you hit a rough spot. If you go into this slowly and with both of you in full agreement, it will help make the whole relationship solid.

Should I commit?

Take It Slow

There's no rush! If you need more time to decide, take it. If your partner pressures you, that's not the right partner for you. A true, lasting commitment is one you BOTH strongly believe in, after having taken your time to consider it fully.

How do you commit?

Searching for Perfection

Is one of the reasons that you're wary of committing that your partner isn't quite right? Is he a bit too tubby, is she a bit too plain? Does she not make enough money? Does he laugh too loudly at parties?

Many people have "ideal prince/princess" templates in their heads that they compare all partners against. They feel like they're "settling" if they end up with someone who doesn't match their ideals. Be sure you're being realistic! Perfect people do not exist. Does your partner love you? Do you work well together, treat each other well, and have fun? If so, learn to truly accept those quirks that make your partner unique. You will find you might already *have* your prince or princess right in your arms.

What is going steady all about?

Going Steady

The first milestone in a relationship is when the partners agree to 'go steady' - to stop seeing other people. This is a commitment because it says you are no longer going to actively look for other alternatives ... that you feel your current partner is worth working on seriously to see if things can work.

Be sure that you are ready for this step. If you go into it thinking, "I can try it for a week, but if I see someone else better I'm out of here" then it won't work. You either need to commit to trying an exclusive relationship, or you should stay open until you find someone with who you *do* with to commit.

If you commit but don't expect it has any real chance of working, or with the option of bagging out immediately if something better comes along, then you are misleading your partner and will end up hurting him or her.

Is marriage the only commitment?

Various forms of commitment

Commitment is not necessarily just marriage. Agreeing to only date the other person is a level of commitment, moving in with someone is a commitment, combining finances, etc. There are many, many different forms commitment can take. When you approach a change in your relationship, talk about it with your partner, and talk about what it means to you. If you build that communication early on, then it will make your entire relationship grow more easily.

Should we live together?

Moving In Together

Many couples skip this step and go directly from a steady relationship into marriage. I feel it is important to live with someone first, to get to know what they are like day-in and day-out, and to see if this is something you are willing to deal with.

There are some who say it is better not to know, and to learn after you're married, but this is not a car that you will retire after a decade. This is a permanent joining of two people. Both people *should* know everything there is to know before dedicating their entire lifetime to this person.

Many traditions about marriage were made when married life involved only 20 years or so of time, and when often the entire time was spent apart from each other in "jobs" (work or home) that took up the entire day and night. With life spans being much longer, and free time and "enjoying each other" being so much more important, it's key to be sure your partner is one you can truly enjoy for the remaining years of your life.

What do we need to think about before we move in together?

Before You Move In Together

You're in love, everything is fantastic, your friends can see little Cupids sitting on your shoulders. Time to move in together!
Living together before marriage used to be scandalous. Today it's common, though not universally approved (especially by parents). Living together can be a step toward closeness in your relationship, but it's also a financial and practical move.
Before you move in together, consider:
-- How your partner deals with money. Can you rely on this person to pay his or her share of the living expenses? How will the two of you divide up the bills?
-- What your expectations are for the relationship. If one partner is expecting this to lead to marriage, while the other is thinking "great! roommate with benefits!", you have a problem.
-- How you both handle household chores. Does one of you have much higher standards of neatness than the other? How will you divide cleaning, cooking, laundry, and other duties? What compromises are you willing to make in your own notions of how a household should work?
-- What your pet peeves are, and talk about them.

How can I get him to commit?

Make the Time to Talk

There are many reasons people shy away from commitment. They may truly not be sure they are ready. They may be worried about friends and family reactions. They can know people who had awful relationships, and be worried that they might get into the same situation. They might be afraid of being trapped. They might be afraid of having to change in order to enter the relationship.

Sit down and really talk honestly with your partner about what concrete things they fear might happen if you entered into a commitment. Make lists of the various hurdles, even the things that you think might upset each other, and work down the list. This isn't an easy task - for example, you might have to say you really dislike your partner's mother always sticking her nose into your relationship. It's better to acknowledge it and talk about it now, though, than to go on for months or years with it remaining unsaid.

When the lists are out in the open, discuss which items can be resolved, and ways in which you can resolve them. Discuss if items are fears without a basis, and find ways to help the fears go away. If you work through the list together, the act of you overcoming the hurdles as a team will be a great positive force in your relationship.

How do we move in?

Be Sure you're Ready

One of the down sides of moving in with someone is that it is now MUCH harder to break up with them. If you're not really sure that this person is for you, hold off on moving in. Wait until you really are sure that this seems like a good relationship. If you move in for other reasons, and then discover immediately that your partner simply doesn't work well with you, it's now hard to deal with the moving out, finding somewhere to live, etc.

How do children affect commitment levels?

Committing when kids are involved

Couples that would normally be together happily ever after can find serious hurdles to their relationship when children are involved. One partner might think the other is too lenient or strict with the children, or not approve of the child rearing methods used. Studies show that most childless couples get along far better than when children are introduced into the situation.

Realize that the children are a large factor in your relationship, and that they affect how you relate to your partner. Sit down and talk about the way you both feel about this, and see if there are compromises you can make. Perhaps just understanding how you feel might make the situation less stressful.

Will marriage really change things?

Will marriage really change things?

For couples who live together, it's easy to think that getting married won't change anything - that the two will be the exact same people, in the exact same situation, but now with a piece of paper.

The reality is that each person has been exposed their entire lives to thoughts about what marriage is. They may not consciously think there is any difference, but childhood dreams, situations they encountered growing up, and friends and family all combine to give most people a different outlook on the relationship once the two are married.

Someone might assume (but never actually say) that "he will settle down" or "she will want kids" once they go through the ceremony. A partner might be unhappy and assume that "once we are married" things will be better.

Sit down and examine what your own views are on the change, and then talk with your partner about them. If you do get married, keep talking throughout the process so you can know if your expectations begin to change, and can deal with the changes together.

Should we move in?

Financial Benefits Do Count

When considering the various reasons to move in or not move in, don't discount the financial savings! One of the key reasons couples argue is finances. If you end up saving $800 or more a month by moving in, this could really have a profound affect on your relationship. This of course should never be the ONLY reason you move in together ... but it is something to consider.

How do we get married?

We're Engaged - Now What?

Luckily, we have an entire SITE devoted to getting married! Be sure to check out to get anything and everything you need to know about getting married without stress or hassle!

How about wedding jitters?

Wedding jitters

Everyone gets pre-wedding jitters. You're suddenly forced to look forward into your future and face the fact that life is going to change. When the jitters sneak up on you...look back instead. Remember the first time you met, kissed, laughed and you'll feel the jitters melt away.

How does not wanting to have children affect commitment?

Resisting commitment - don't want children

If you or your partner are not wanting to have children, this could be a reason that one or both of you are commitment shy. It is very typical, once a couple is engaged or married, for relatives and friends to start hammering the couple about "when will you have kids??" If the couple cannot or does not want to have children, this can be a very unwelcome pressure.

If you and your partner are hesitant about commitment, talk about this issue and see if it might be part of the cause.

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Guru Spotlight
Barbara Gibson