Commitment may be considered a relationship skill because the abilities necessary to make and keep commitments must be learned, practiced, and refined just like those for effective couple communication (see Wiley 2007 in this issue) or any other relationship skill. Strategies for cultivating commitment are presented. Keywords: marriage, commitment, relationship education, attraction, obligation, constraint Every partner in a healthy relationship must invest intentional effort, including skill-building. Because commitment has multiple dimensions, it functions differently in different relationships. This article reviews the various dimensions of commitment in intimate relationships, including commitment as an attraction, commitment as moral obligation, and commitment as constraint.
For those relationships that are in the normal range of functioning, it seems clear that sensible commitment can sustain or improve a relationship (Brickman 1987; Johnson 1999).
According to research, commitment to the relationship is related to the quality of the relationship.
(See Clements and Swensen 2000.) David and Vera Mace (1991), pioneers in the Marriage Movement, ranked commitment as fundamental to relationships.
It makes sense that people who commit themselves to a relationship are more likely to find rewards than those who invest sporadically or half-heartedly.
Investing in a relationship may be much like building a bank balance.
Couples will never build a substantial bank balance unless they are committed to making regular deposits.