Loyalty is a word which seems to resonate with millenials… but not the word “commitment”. At least that’s been our experience as we speak with those who are 28 and younger – or those born after 1980 according to the Pew researchers.
For some reason, when we replace the word “commitment” with the word “loyalty”,singles who are under 30 years of age can relate to what we’re saying about relationships. It’s fascinating to experiment with that conversational word switch and watch reactions. I challenge you to try it also!
Loyalty: steadfast in allegiance or duty; unwavering in devotion; commitment.
Did you catch that? Part of the definition of loyalty includes commitment. Hah! (Don’t tell anyone.)
We haven’t figured out why the two words have such a polarized reaction – maybe you have some insight? Leave a comment if you do – we’d love to hear it! One of our theories is that commitment sounds like you are forced into doing something, but loyalty sounds like it’s a choice.
Loyalty as a Choice to Honor Your Spouse
When Robert and I were married 25 years, we went away for three days to work through our plan for the next 25 years of marriage – we talked about what it would look like when we were married 50 years. There were things we wanted to achieve…
That’s where the tag line “Husbands and Wives Leading Meaningful Lives” was born. One of our desires was to work to bring honor (back) to the role of husband and wife.
We’d seen too many of our contemporaries give up on their marriages, and forget all the good they could do – together. They forgot to be loyal to each other. They weren’t steadfast in their vow or unwavering in devotion. They no longer honored their commitment.
Shortly after our 25th wedding anniversary we chose our Values – and Loyalty became our first Differentiating Value for the two of us.
Loyalty. It’s the first test we (Robert and Lori) use when we’re confronted with a choice, or we need to decide anything. If making a choice or deciding a direction compromises our loyalty to God, or to each other as husband and wife, it’s an automatic “NO!”. That’s the power of Differentiating Values – those three, ranked Values you choose as husband and wife which guide and direct your connected behaviour. (You can learn more about discovering your own differentiating Values as husband and wife here.)
How do you honor your spouse by being loyal?
If you take a close look at the definition of the Value of Loyalty, you’ll see three sections:
“Steadfast in Allegiance or Duty”
In my imagination, I see a soldier using this kind of phrase. Or perhaps someone serving a King or Queen. They’ve been given an important task, and there’s a price to be paid for the honor. The price is to remain steadfast – immovable – in serving.
Perhaps there was a vow involved? Ah, a vow. A promise. A solemn statement given with deep feeling and reverence. Has there been a time in your life as husband and wife where you’ve given a vow to each other? Maybe on your wedding day…
As Robert travels on planes and trains, he’s heard many stories about lives lived as husband and wife. It runs the gamet – but one kind of story we’ve heard a number of times lately includes one about husbands and wives remaining loyal – steadfast – to each other, even though they are no longer living together as husband and wife. It sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? For whatever reason they have decided they can’t have a marriage, yet they’re still loyal to each other and the vow they made and are taking care of each other’s needs for shelter and finances. We’re not saying this is good or ideal – just that it has an element of honor to their behaviour, which is not often seen.
Choose to honor your spouse by being steadfast in what you’ve vowed to each other – that demonstrates loyalty.
“Unwavering in Devotion”
Being immovable in your love for your spouse – is that a choice you’ve made as husband and wife?
Lately I’ve thought a lot about being stubborn. Stubborness is usually billed as a negative trait… but if it’s applied to a positive force… then might stubborness be an asset? 😉
Choose to be stubborn about loving your spouse. Don’t let anything shift your emotions! Don’t be wishy-washy and sway one way or another… stand stubbornly strong in your love and honor your spouse.
Commitment is both a promise and an attitude.
As I wrote earlier, we’re not exatly sure why this word is a negative for some… We’re still looking into it… But it is a part of the definition of the Value of Loyalty.
Choose to put your energies into remaining true to your promises to your spouse – without breaking them. That’s honoring your spouse with loyalty.
Where does loyalty play a part in your marriage?
Have you ever discussed this Value with your spouse? Take a few moments and talk about loyalty… or commitment. 😉
I’m putting these posts – “A to Z” Values – all under the FAMILY portion of this site. Why? Every one of these Values words will be a blessing to each spouse – but more than that… they’ll benefit your whole family!
Imagine if you are loyal to your spouse – what kind of impact will that have on your family? On your children? I’m guessing that your children and family will only benefit as they watch the two of you standing together – steadfast and unwaivering in devotion!
This is an Instagram challenge for July 2016 – A to Z and a few numbers… check out our Instagram account!
The posts in this series can be found on the PAGE – 27 Values to Enrich your Marriage (BTW – If you’re reading this post before the end of July 2016, then the page isn’t complete… I’m still writing! 😉 )