Martina Navratilova once defined the difference between involvement and commitment by talking of ham and eggs. She said ‘The chicken is involved, the pig is committed.’ Before weddings I ask couples who have been living together – almost all couples getting married these days – why they are bothering. One of the commonest responses is that marriage is another level of commitment. It is about the right kind of security and dependability. No wonder that they sometimes choose for their wedding service A.A. Milne’s poem Us Two which begins :
Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh
There’s always Pooh and Me.
In the second of the creation stories in Genesis we read that God says ‘It is not good that the man should be alone’. But statistics just published show that there are five times more 25-44 year olds living alone today than there were 40 years ago, and nearly a third of all households are just one person. It is not just in relationships that we seem to find it difficult to commit. Many organisations find it hard to recruit members and even harder to get people committed to helping. They say things like ‘Ring me if you get stuck, but I can’t make a regular commitment.’
But the evidence grows and grows that being committed to each other is good for us – married people tend to live longer, be healthier, and their children tend to do better at school. It isn’t clear why these things are so but it seems to bear out the truth of that verse from Genesis. Commitment may be difficult, but the benefits are huge.
Mothers’ Union is very grateful to the author of Growing Together: A guide for couples getting married Andrew Body, for kindly writing this article for our website.