Saturday, February 27th, 2021

R Shopper Columns


 We can create insecurity in our relationships when we make such statements as, 'If you don't like it around here, there's the door.'

During an argument, insecurity is experienced when one partner closes down any discussion by saying, 'I can't seem to make you happy so we might as well get a divorce.' Instead of saying, 'You don't make me happy so I'm leaving you,' it would be more beneficial to say, 'We have a problem, let's talk about it.' Instead of threatening our partner, it would be better to say, 'For me, our relationship has not been satisfying, would you be open to seeing a therapist?' There are other options than our using abandonment language or finding another partner. Unfortunately, there are some people who would rather end the relationship without even trying to work on it.

In this article, we are highlighting the issue of commitment. This issue beneath many arguments has to do with a belief that our partner is not really committed, so as a result there is a fear that he or she will leave us.

My father used to say that if we weren't committed to a project, the first difficult obstacle or a bump in the road would cause us to quit. Then we could say, 'See I told you it would not work!' Dad went on to say that when we are committed we don't let the first obstacle stop us or the next one and so on. We have staying power. Perhaps the problem for many people in relationships is that we don't even try to work on the relationship or we quit too soon.

We would be wise to reframe our relationship problems. Instead of interpreting our problems as a reason to end the relationship, we could interpret them as an opportunity to make our relationship better than it has ever been. We can view our problem the way someone once suggested we think about depression: Depression can have value because it can make us stop and reevaluate our lives. If it were not for these kinds of crises or moments, we might never to take a look at how we are living. Without these difficult moments, we would not make the changes that are needed. We should not forget that it will take a commitment from both our partner and ourselves to make the necessary changes.

For our relationship to work, we need to feel secure in knowing our partner is committed. We feel secure when our partner will not abandon us when things do not go well.  Security is experienced when our partner is committed enough to tell us when he or she is dissatisfied and is willing to turn problems into opportunities to improve our relationship.  Of course, what we expect from our partner also applies to us!

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700