I am a trained professional counselor with many years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and their families. I have facilitated multiple family groups to strengthen families in addressing problem behaviors in children. I have worked with couples who have been scared by the pains of infidelity, and women hurt by the wound of intimate partner violence. And, what I have learned with working with these couples and families is the need for Six C’s for Successful Marriages.
The Six C’s for Successful Marriages are:
Confidence is defined as the the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something with firm trust. It takes having confidence in your spouse for a successful marriage. Confidence is built during the dating phase by getting to know the individual’s character and displayed by their actions. When confidence or trust is broken, time needs to be given so it can be rebuilt, brick by brick. Both parties need to be willing to restore confidence through demonstration, renewed perspective, willingness to acknowledge efforts, and forgiveness.
Communication is the process of sharing and exchanging information. Communication can simply be applied to sharing plans for the day. But, most importantly, sharing one's thoughts, feelings, and concerns regarding different matters. Confidence is built through communication. The style of communication is also important. Individuals need to engage in assertive and respectful communication. You know the old adage “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it!”
Cooperation or collaboration is the process of functioning as a team and in partnership. Cooperation is working together for a shared, common, and mutual benefit. Cooperation is about winning together. It is the total opposite of competition where there are opponents seeking to win or accomplish something for selfish gain. It’s about being better together!
Compromise, similar to cooperation, within marriage is having the willingness to resolve conflict or a dispute by making individual concessions. It is learning and having the willingness to free yourself from being right. It is learning the art of communication and negotiation. Not to get your way, but to consider the points and feelings of your spouse regarding a matter. It requires having an empathetic stance to understand and share in spouse's experience. It must be understood that it is not in the best interest of the relationship for one party to always be right and/or in control.
Commitment is the the cornerstone of the covenant of marriage. It is being dedicated and devoted to your spouse unconditionally. It requires making an allegiance to honor Christ in your marriage despite hardship, trial, or tribulation. Commitment is living out the agreement pledge during the vow exchange: “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part." This was not just an exchange of mere words, but requires action.
You need the Chief Cornerstone in your marriage. Each factor discussed (confidence, communication, cooperation, compromise, and commitment) must be rooted and aligned with Christ. We must have confidence in Christ, and trust the Christ in our spouse. We must communicate in a honorable fashion as we exhibit Christ. We must demonstrate holy cooperation and compromise to demonstrate the love of Christ. And, we must remain committed despite various circumstances, to glorify Christ.
Our marriages in the earth are to represent the marriage supper of the Lamb. It will be the marriage of Christ and the Church. This is not a demand for perfect marriage, but an encouragement for healthy and successful marriages. Ephesians 5:22-33 MSG paints a great picture:
Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.
In all, the Six Cs for Successful Marriages are rooted in a seventh C, charity which is love.