A sense of ‘we-ness’
The factor most emphasized by Moore, however, is the commitment of the couple to the marriage. The tendency has been for social scientists to overlook commitment as a foundation stone for a healthy marriage.
Instead, the very approach to determining the benefits of marriage that produced some of the studies mentioned in this article comes from the dominant ethic in American culture: Individualism.
Blaine Fowers, chairman of the department of educational and psychological studies at the University of Miami, and Alan J. Hawkins, professor of family life at Brigham Young University, said in a report: “An individualistic perspective of marriage focuses on the benefits that partners derive from the relationship, and views the contributions that partners make to a relationship as investments that will provide a return of satisfaction, intimacy, support and reward.”
But commitment transcends the individual’s desire for self-satisfaction and moves a person to seek the benefit of the couple. It is a focus on what Fowers, Hawkins and others have called a sense of “we-ness.”
Commitment, Moore said, is “taking a long-term perspective toward one’s relationship, having an intention to persevere when difficulties arise, and being committed to caring for the other person.”
It is important to remember: “Staying married is not mainly about staying in love. It’s about covenant-keeping.”