I have often wondered how the same people who walk down the aisle on their wedding day are the same people that file for divorce a few months or years later. What happened? What went wrong? I found out that there are numerous factors that influence the health of a marriage and if properly understood will help couples keep their marriage. I will like to focus on a few of them. I call them the 4 c’s in marriage.
The first “C” I will like to discuss is Character, the summation of traits and qualities of an individual or thing. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there” John Wooden. This is a quote often used in the sport and business arena to stress the importance of character to stay successful and not ability (talent) alone. I am sure there are tons of sports figures, business men and women, actors and actresses that you have heard about, known or perhaps even experienced, whose talent got them to the top but their character couldn’t keep them there. While this is the case for success in business, career and other works of life; it also holds true for marriage. Physical qualities, charisma, wealth, assets, personality, intellectual horse power, emotional stability, spiritual maturity and so on can get you married; however character will help you stay married. Marriage is a magnifying glass that focuses on the character of the individuals involved. Most problems can be resolved in marriage if you couples will work on developing their character and not try to suppress it as character is like smoke. Develop your character and watch your marriage flourish.
The next “C” is Commitment. Show me a successful marriage and I will show you two committed individuals. The success of your marriage is dependent on your level of commitment. Commitment in marriage is staying consistently constant by each other’s side as you unravel the journey called marriage. Any college professor will tell you that it is the committed students that excel in college and not just the smart ones. Any personal trainer will tell you, it is your commitment to a healthy diet and exercising that will give you the desired results. Commitment is honoring your vows even when things are tough. Understand that it takes commitment to make marriage successful and not just the euphoric feeling of love. Committed people separate feelings and emotions from their responsibility. Love is committing to someone when they least deserve it. This is the God kind of love (Agape). This kind of committed love is at the foundation of a successful marriage and not just a feeling or an outburst of emotions. It’s a love that is sacrificial in nature.
A successful marriage is built on your commitment to seeking and applying the principles governing marriage. Understand your role and commit to its application daily. Read more about commitment stage
This is another vital “C” for the success of a marriage. Couples should not just be at the level of passing information between each other but should be at the level of fellowship and communing with each other. Communication (fellowship) is a bond that if built in marriage will sustain your marriage. The bible expresses that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother. This state of communion should be your desire as married couples.
Marriage is 99% relational and as such, couples should seek ways to strengthen how they relate with each other. Conflict will arise for various reasons; there is the human factor which stems from human imperfection, there is miscommunication, conflict can also arise due to difference in preference, opinion or conviction about an issue or matter and the list goes on. Whatever the source of the conflict, couples need to understand that they are on the same side even though each party may view the issue through a different lens. “Many marriages would be better if the husband and wife clearly understood they are on the same side” – Zig Ziglar. During conflict, couples believe that their spouse is being unreasonable especially when they feel they have taken the time to logically present their facts. Presentation of facts and evidence may work effectively in a court room, however, in marriage logic and facts have very little to do with building relationships. What may work very well in the court room may not produce the same outcome in marriage.
The purpose of conflict is not to find a winner or loser but to resolve our differences and find a lasting solution. When couples resolve conflicts effectively, it brings them closer together. Ultimately the more conflicts they resolve effectively, the fewer barriers between them and the closer they get. Couples should see conflicts as a learning opportunity to discover their spouse and an avenue to get closer. Scripture clearly expresses that “A house divided against itself will not stand” Matthew 12:25. I talk more about conflict resolution in my article “House divided against itself”
These four C’s in marriage, if properly understood and exploited, will help your marriage grow stronger and flourish. It is important to note that one factor is not more important than the other but they are all ingredients to season your marriage if applied. As always, understand that marriage is a journey not a destination that would get better over time if the governing principles are in place.
Love Always ~ T.E