For many survivors of the relaxed sexual environment of the 1960s and 1970s, the charm of temporary encounters and short-term intimacies has worn thin. They and millions of others are ready for something referred to in the theme song of Casablanca: "The fundamental things apply, as time goes by." Lewis B. Smedes, professor of theology and ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary, writes: "Our deepest relationships are held together by an invisible cord called commitment."

The author explores the ties that bind us to others in marriage, family, friendship, and community. He sees committed love in marriage as something that can weather change and disappointment. Commitments and promises to children must be honored by parents no matter what happens. Trust is the adhesive that keeps friends together over the years. Marshalling illustrative material from a variety of literary sources, Smedes again demonstrates a felicitous writing style that is both warm and informal.