Steadfastness and Freedom

The best and strongest promises are made in order to create a future that would not otherwise happen.

July 19, 2021

In the series of workshops that we call “Living Extraordinary Relationship,” we hear wonderful insights from our participants. In a workshop just a few weeks ago, we were exploring “the promise of a lifetime,” that is, the promises that couples make to form a relationship that will endure as long as they both live.

The group was exploring how it is that some people fear that such a lifetime promise will confine or trap them. Our friend Gregg Martin spoke up and said, “But steadfastness is a form of freedom; inside constraints, people get creative.”

In the days since that workshop, we have been noticing the many demonstrations of the truth of those words.

Over the years, we have had conversations with many, many couples who are facing difficulties or conflicts in their relationships. We have seen some of those couples throw up their hands, give up, and end their relationship. We have seen others, steadfast inside their mutual commitment to remain in relationship, resolve their conflicts with compassion, curiosity, love and creativity.

The best and strongest promises are made in order to create a future that would not otherwise happen. We make vows to create a lifelong marriage. We sign contracts and agreements in order to create business ventures that would not exist without those mutual commitments.

And whether the purpose of the promise is financial benefit, personal security, or a lifelong experience of love and family, the purpose will not be fulfilled, unless our promises keep us steadfast when obstacles, disagreements or difficulties arise.

With deep thanks to Gregg Martin, we are no longer shy about saying that, yes, your promises will constrain you.  Just as guardrails will keep you from veering off the highway, the promises you have chosen to make (whether for a short time or for a lifetime), give you the freedom to be steadfast in creating a future you dream of. Your biggest and most heartfelt promises demand the greatest steadfastness and the richest creativity – all in the interest of creating the future that you yearn for in your relationships.

We all have the so-called freedom to abandon our promises, to walk away from relationships. Steadfastness, however, grants us a far more precious freedom. The promises that we choose to make in our relationships serve us best when they constrain us to keep on pursuing our dreams and to show startling creativity in meeting any impediment that would block us from achieving the future we desire.

We two trust our promises to constrain us when we might be tempted to live a lesser life than we promised to each other. We trust our promises to bring out our deepest creativity in the face of any challenge in our marriage. We can make no better wish for you than this: “May your promises constrain you to be creative in fulfilling your dreams.”

All the best,

Carol & Paul

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