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Communication, Conflict & Commitment

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Common Metaphors


One day a chicken and a pig were walking down the street together when they came to a restaurant that had a sign out front that read, "Bacon and Egg Breakfast - All You Can Eat." Upon reading the sign, the chicken began to complain about how difficult it was to lay all those eggs so people could eat them for breakfast. The pig responded, "For me its total commitment."

Amy was a freshman member of her university's gymnastics team. She quickly saw in her teammates different levels of commitment and dedication to their daily workout routine. Those who put forth the most effort in practice seemed to be the ones who were the most successful in competition. Amy decided that she was going to follow the example of her most successful teammates. She worked hard. She did not cut any corners and she strictly followed the advice and counsel of her coaches. Her motto was to "pig-it," which meant she was totally committed to her workouts and the development of her skills.

Strong marriages need total commitment from both partners, to each other and to the marriage relationship. To "pig-it" means to be totally committed to your marriage and to give it everything it takes to succeed.

"The Commitment Garden"

Wallace Goddard, a professor at the University of Arkansas, has compared marital commitment to cultivating a garden. He says marriage, like gardening, requires time and patience. There will always be problems and occasionally surprises. If you are not committed to the garden the young plants you have cultivated may be choked out by weeds, they may whither in the sun, or they may be eaten by insects and animals. Gardening requires continual care and the work never ends. New weeds will always spring up, some of which grow very quickly. Continual work on and commitment to the garden is the best way to keep the plants strong and healthy. Occasional neglect can usually be corrected, but it requires more effort than if we had been consistently watchful. Prolonged neglect will lead to the plants demise. If we are unwilling to care for the garden of our marriage and give up on it, we will never have the opportunity to enjoy the fruit that comes during the harvest. The payoff for our labor and the beauty of the garden we create is well worth it.

"Winter in Minnesota"

William Doherty, author and professor at the University of Minnesota, compares commitment in long-term marriages to living in Minnesota. He compares getting married to the springtime, when everything is fresh and new. But the winter, or trials of marriage, inevitably come. Sometimes those trials are long, dark, and hard to endure. However, those couples that remain committed to one another and endure the winter find each new springtime of their relationship all the more beautiful in contrast to the things they have worked through and overcome together. This is evidenced in recent research that shows that most couples who thought about divorce at some point in their marriage but did not do it and stuck it out, later considered themselves happily married and were glad they did not divorce.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, December 09). Communication, Conflict & Commitment. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License