Commitment Day, commemorated every January 1, is a time to demonstrate your affections by committing, in one way or the other, to that person or persons close to your heart. Did you know the first recorded act of commitment between two persons was 4,350 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia when two people were joined together in a marriage ceremony? Marriage has always been the greatest act of commitment — a show of affection, respect, undying love, and the willingness to spend a lifetime together. Commitment is not only limited to saying “I do” or “till death do us apart.” You can also make a commitment to yourself in areas of personal or professional development, or in simply living a healthier lifestyle.
History of Commitment Day
There is no commitment as important or as strong as the commitment in matrimony, to love someone for the rest of your life.
The first recorded marriage ceremonies can be traced to 2350 B.C., in ancient Mesopotamia. Until the 16th century, people did not marry primarily for love. Nor had religion any place in marriage. Marriage was mainly for political or aristocratic alliance and diplomatic and trade ties. Mutual consent was not a thing, and the married couples were subject to their parent’s wishes.
In the ancient Hebrew, Greece, and Roman cultures, brides had little to no rights in marriage and were mostly seen as high-ended properties. The men were required to take care of the wife properly and were allowed to take concubines. In contrast, the women’s duty was to tend to the household and produce offspring.
As the church’s influence in society increased, consent became necessary for a marriage to be binding. In the 16th century, the Council of Trent ruled that a marriage is only valid when presided over by a priest and before two witnesses. Also, the Council authorized a Catechism, which defined marriage as “The conjugal union of man and woman, contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life.” Actions such as these and the spread of Christianity allowed the idea of free choice in selecting marriage partners to thrive and traditional customs of arranged marriage and the influence of patriarchy to diminish.
With the introduction of the Marriage Act in 1753 by Lord Hardwicke, formal marriage ceremonies became a requirement in England and Wales. Not only was the marriage to be done by a priest before two witnesses, but there must also be a marriage registration.
Another Marriage Act was instituted in 1836 in England and Wales and Germany. This Act offers an alternative to religious marriage, leading to the rise of civil marriage ceremonies. It was also at this time that the English government began keeping national statistics for marriage.
Love entered the marriage institution in the late 18th and early 19th centuries That was made possible by the French and American revolutions and the blurring of economic lines. With the rise of industrialization, couples didn’t have to depend on their parents for finances; they moved to urban centers to earn wages. Because women began joining the workforce, they no longer needed to marry for economic reasons. They could choose a spouse based on love and willingness to commit to a lifetime relationship.
Commitment Day timeline
The Council of Trent, after 24 sessions, declares a marriage can only be valid if it’s presided over by a priest and before two witnesses.
The first American divorce happens in Massachusetts Bay Colony, between Anne Clarke and Denis Clarke.
Lord Hardwicke’s Clandestine Marriage Act marks the beginning of state control on marriage.
The first Commitment Day is commemorated as an extension of New Year’s Resolutions.
Commitment Day FAQs
What is the point of commitment?
Commitment is what makes all relationships work. It is a bond of mutual trust, with the parties fully aware of their obligations and willing to fulfill them. Without commitment, no relationship can work, including romantic and business relationships and the relationship between parents and their children.
How do you know if your partner is committed?
Commitment levels differ from partner to partner. But you will know if your partner is committed when they make sacrifices, have their eyes only for you, focus only on your positive attributes, and are willing to satisfy your needs.
How do you build commitment?
Communication is key to building commitment in a relationship. You should communicate your feelings, voice out your opinions, and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Also, to build commitment, you need to constantly show gratitude to your partner, appreciate your differences, and build your relationship on trust.
How To Celebrate Commitment Day
Commit to a healthier lifestyle
If you are a junk food junkie, consume too much coffee, sit all day in front of your laptop, or perform little physical activity, it’s time to commit to a healthier lifestyle. You can start by joining a gym, changing your diet, or committing to jogging three times a week or more.
Commit to a loved one
If you are in a relationship, you can spend more time with your partner and give them the attention they deserve. Even if you are not in a relationship, you can commit to spending more time with your parents; call and visit them more frequently. You can also commit to taking your relationship further with a loved one by giving them a ring.
Commit to something you have always wanted to do
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new language or skill or build a new career but you have always faltered. Commitment Day is the perfect day to start dedicating yourself to that task. You can begin with something like “30 days of language learning” or “3o days of learning a new skill.” Post it on your social media account (Twitter, preferably) and update it every day to keep yourself accountable.
5 Facts About Marriage
Love is the main reason Americans marry
Statistics say that 88% of Americans agree that love is the most important reason to get married, followed by lifelong commitment (81%) and companionship (76%).
Happy marriages led to better work productivity
Research shows that employees in happy marriages tend to increase their company’s net income.
Cohabiting partners don’t last long in marriages
Studies have revealed that couples that cohabitate before marriage tend to have lower levels of marital satisfaction and are more likely to divorce each other.
Divorcees are likely to get remarried
According to statistics, 60% of divorced people in the United States find love and get married again within five years.
Friendship is key to a successful marriage
Spouses who have a friendship relationship get the most satisfaction from marriage and life.
Why We Love Commitment Day
Commitment builds a more robust relationship
A relationship without commitment will crumble. Commitment helps create mutual understanding, respect, trust, and cooperation, all of which are necessary for people to have a healthy relationship.
Commitment makes us successful
Like we mentioned, commitment is not only limited to a relationship. We can also be committed to achieving a set goal. That enables us to stay dedicated, leave our comfort zone, persevere regardless of challenges, and do whatever it takes to get to that goal.
Commitment can be healthy
When we commit to a healthier lifestyle, we are willing to abandon every bad habit and embrace a healthy diet and fitness. Commitment also leads to a satisfying and healthy relationship.
Commitment Day dates