The Power of Making a Decision

The first step in creating a true relationship is the conscious decision that you would rather have one than not have one. Many people are trying to maintain various types of interactions with others without ever being sure in their minds that they want to be in the situation in the first place. They are constantly asking themselves, "What am I doing here when I could be some place else?" I can recall in my own life that whenever anything went wrong I would immediately begin scheming about ways to get out of where I was. Once I was so miserable that I bought an airplane ticket to get me away from the problem that I was having with my wife. It was only by chance that I didn't take off and create another miserable relationship somewhere else. I recall that I was constantly storming out of the house and mumbling something to myself about, "Not having to put up with such crap!" Like so many others, I drifted into the relationship when everything was going good, but wanted out as soon as things turned a little sour. I was trying to operate without a true commitment.

Unless the decision that a relationship is desirable is made, and made solidly as a commitment, nothing further can be built. It is sad to realize, but there are people who are leading fruitless, miserable lives within one or several pseudo-relationships for no better reason than that they have never gotten to the point where they have decided that it would be better to have a real relationship with another human being than to remain in the hell they are in now. Once the decision to have a relationship is made, it can then be modified to specify with whom and what kind of relationship it will be. As an example, the commitment of a husband toward a wife would be, "I want to have a long-term loving relationship with you as your husband."

Getting this straight in your own mind and expressing it to the other person in so many words is vital to a healthy beginning. A salesman, as an example of another type of commitment, can commit himself to a shorter-term sales situation with a client. In this situation as in all others, it is vital to establish in your own mind just what you are there for and then to communicate that commitment to the other person. It is amazing what a wonderful sense of strength is derived from making a conscious decision and then sticking with it. For the first time, you can begin to look at today's problems as what they are: temporary setbacks. Every argument or bit of insanity that comes into your life no longer has to throw you into a tailspin that makes you feel totally helpless.

Dealing from a position of strength and communicating that strength and sense of commitment to the other person also gives them a feeling that there is some stability to their lives. Now they have something that they can count on which tends to calm them down. Some of the craziness that you have become accustomed to living with begins to disappear from your life.

If you are in a relationship now, can you honestly say that you are in it because you made a conscious decision to be in it and are sticking with that decision? If not, does it make sense to you to make such a decision now? Can you see that if such a decision is never made that you are just kidding yourself about getting anywhere with anyone? Couples that I have known who couldn't get a handle on this one point have flown apart over the smallest of life's problems. They get along just fine as long as everything is going smoothly, but as soon as life intervenes in the form of money problems, kid problems or any other problem, they just can't handle it.

I have been amazed at how easily the most seemingly compatible couples have come apart. In talking to one or the other of them, the lack of commitment is obvious. When asked if they think they will ever get back together, they give answers like, "Well, we'll wait and see what happens," or "It's too soon to tell how it's going to work out." They seem uninvolved and not in control of the situation.

The feeling is that they are waiting for someone or some event to come along and make the decision for them and sort it all out. There is none of the feeling that, "This is what I want and I'll do whatever has to be done to achieve it." Yet some of these same people function very highly with strong goals and commitments in the business and professional parts of their lives.

Nothing is more profoundly flattering to a man than to be told, "I can't imagine my life without you. I never even look at another man." Nothing can sweep a woman off her feet faster than to hear, "You are the only woman in my life. I'd move heaven and earth to stay by your side." These are magic words that can save a relationship that looks as though it's on the very brink of disappearing

My next column is “You Can Live Without It.”

©2010, Irv Engel

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One's life has value so long as one attributes values to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion., - Simone de Beauvoir

Irv Engel is a successful salesman, builder, husband, father, grandfather and friend. He loves to sing, dance and is currently taking an art class to learn water color painting. He is the creator and coordinator of the Relationship Training Course for Men. This book, The Real Deal: A Guide to Achieving Successful and Real Relationships, is the result of hundreds of hours spent writing down the lessons learned in a lifetime of marriage, divorce, re-marriage and raising four kids. He hosts free telephone conference coaching sessions in the evening or on weekends.The conference is a good way to find out about relationship coaching and to ask any personal questions around your own relationships without risk to your money or your privacy. E-mail him for phone number, access code and schedule. Irv and Monica live in Lake Forest, Calif. They have eleven grandchildren. They have celebrated their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.

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