How to Keep Your Promises

Modern society holds individuals to their words and expects promises to be honored as per the agreement between the parties. The content of the contract between individuals, groups, employers and employees or between a service provider and receivers, or between friends and family members is not as important as the understanding of the exchanged commitments and the execution of both sides’ stated intent.

Common examples of written commitment are: the marriage contract, business deals, employment contracts and even sales receipts that confirm that both partied acted according to their promised role in the exchange. As we all know, circumstances sometimes require a change in the contract, which can only be valid when both parties agree to it and re-draft their agreements. Perhaps the most common variation from a signed contract occurs between married couples is adultery, negative words exchanged between business or marital partners, or disputes about remuneration or service, are common and some require re-negotiation and re-drafting of the initial agreements.

The relationship between not keeping one’s promises without alerting the other party creates a rift, anger, frustration, and even a sense of having been conned, lied to, or “taken”. The wronged party often feels “blind-sighted” as the other party acts “righteously”.

Glenn T. Stanton, the Director of Global Family Formation studies at “Focus on the Family” and the author of eight books on various aspects of the family, anticipates that “having been chosen” and told that he, or she is the “ideal mate”, and thus projecting to live “Happily Ever After-till Death do us part”, may be disappointing to know that the current expected divorce rate in the U.S., as reported by the U.S, Census Bureau is 40-50 percent”. He adds,” So while the 40-50 percent projected rate of divorce risk is true and reliable, there are important personal characteristics that put everyone at different levels of risk, some dramatically so. Many people of serious faith and practice, even with some of the above risks, have a tremendously high likelihood of lifelong marital success because of the values they hold regarding sex outside of marriage, the sacred and covenantal nature of marriage, and its importance as a vocation.”

In consideration of these research findings, I would like to add that my years of experience with couples has taught me that those pairs who truly love each other, their family unit and honor their children’s best interest and choose to avail themselves to couple therapy, increase the chances of retaining their family intact and re-finding happiness with their mates, offer their children the best role model for love relationships and increase their chances of their youngster in achieving happy and satisfying future marriage and parenting of the best kind.

Keep your promises to your spouse and kids:

  • Express your love and devotion to each other in front of your children.
  • Praise your youngsters for kind behavior and tell them that you are “surprised” when they are unkind to their siblings or others.
  • Be loving and affectionate with your children, they will learn what love, commitment and healthy parenting is about and will practice it with their children in due time.

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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