Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Three Cs of Staying Married

The Three Cs of Staying Married

"...And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..."     Hebrews 12:1b

When I first met my husband Chris, 33 years ago, I had all kinds of romantic notions about what love was…and what it would be like for us to be married. And there have been plenty of romantic moments laced throughout all these years. 

However, falling in love and getting married are one thing; staying married is another.

Looking back over 28 years of marriage, we were guided by what I call The 3 Cs of Staying Married

1. Choice—“Love Is a Decision.” It’s not just a feeling. 
Life gets busy with running a household and raising kids. We aren’t always stoking the flames of burning love. We’ve had some nasty fights—cold wars and heated battles. At times we have not felt love towards one another, but we have decided to love anyway. Choosing to love has meant choosing to forgive as well. It’s been an absolute necessity for intimacy and healing to confess our mistakes and ask forgiveness…and equally necessary to offer forgiveness time and time again.

2. Commitment—Like most married people, Chris and I take our vows seriously. When we said, “I do,” we had every intention of staying married. Even with determination and intention, we found ourselves ready to give up. I remember sitting at our kitchen table one evening. Pain and disappointment separated us. We didn’t know if it was fair to our children or to each other to stay together. We talked, we cried…eventually we renewed our commitment. And we decided to take steps to get our marriage back on track.

3. Communication—One of the reasons we had veered so off course was that we had lost touch. Instead of being a team, we were traveling parallel paths that rarely crossed. We needed to reconnect and we needed healing, understanding, help! So we started meeting with a Christian counselor. Since we already had a babysitter on hand, this became our “date night.” Our counseling session was followed by dinner, a cup of coffee, or a stroll—time for us alone. Sometimes the date was fraught with the unfinished business from the session moments before, but it was always worth it. 

Let’s face it, it’s easy to get married. But staying married, that’s a work in progress till death do us part!

What are you doing to keep your marriage going strong? 

Shared as a MOPs Mentor Moment


  1. I loved seeing your wedding picture. I would say that my husband Michael and I have stayed married for almost 32 years because of the first two C's you chose, Elise. He has Parkinson's and his speech is severely affected, so our third C is now a huge struggle. But I credit Michael being a Man Among Giants to have been a faithful husband to an occasionally high-maintenance wife all these years. And our adult children and grandchildren are reaping the blessings of his strength and determination to never utter the D word. :) The rewards in the latter years of marriage are so worth the challenges of staying married and learning to love and serve in the early years. God bless your day!

    1. Thanks for sharing Julie! I'm sorry about your husband's Parkinson's. I know this is a very difficult disease, as my stepmother had it. So agree, the rewards keep growing in our later years. Our very wise counselor urged us to make the "D" word off limits years ago. Thinking this was not an option forced us to work things out!


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