5 C’s to a Healthy Marriage


After 22 years of marriage, I’ve learned a few things.  I’ve learned that these 5 C’s are important to have a healthy marriage. Now, I can’t tell you I do all of these things well, but I can tell you that I work hard at them.

1. Combine. When a man and woman get married, the “two become one flesh.” There is something magical, mystical and beyond our comprehension when a couple enters the marital covenant.  My blog, Are You and Your Spouse on the Same Team?, may be of some help as you understand how to practically work together in all areas of life.

2. Commit. A husband and wife must commit to: make their marriage a top priority; to be married for life; never to use the “D” word; to be truthful in everything.  These 11 Things a Husband and Wife Must Agree On will help you meet your commitment.

3. Confess. You’re never more right than when you admit you’re wrong.  If you’ve wronged your spouse, be quick to confess it and seek forgiveness. Here’s how to make A True Apology and how to Give Forgiveness as well.

4. Change. Confessing you’re wrong about something and asking for forgiveness isn’t enough.  If you wrong your spouse over and over again relating to the same thing, your spouse may question your sincerity and motives.  Change must accompany confession.  Does that mean you’ll never do the same thing again?  No. It just means that you are strongly striving to turn in a new direction.

5. Choose.  Love is a decision.  So choose to love your spouse no matter what. Love your unlovable spouse. Love is unconditional.

Are these 5 C’s a part of your marriage? Please share your thoughts with me.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Bonnie Dunson

    Iwould like to say Thanks for this as I so needed to hear it, I didn’t know how to confess to my spouse that I love with my whole heart and afraid that if I confess he is going to leave me and I certainly don’t want that. So thanks, neither one of us are perfect but we are Godly people and go to church, tithe, as we should. I just need to make this confession and I’m scared to death. But thanks for this great article today. 

  • Maureen A.

    Amen!!!! How timely an enriching message! 

  • H. A. Reed

    My wife and I have been married 40 years (Nov 7th) and we have always tried to be honest, open and committed to our marriage. And when I say ‘tried’ I mean ‘tried’ – nobody can be honest and open 100% of the time, it’s not human. We’re born, live and die in sin and only the blood of Jesus can save us from our sins. Before we go to work we always say ‘I love you’, before we hang up the phone we always say, ‘I love you’ and before we go to bed at night we always say ‘I love you’. Except those few occasions when we were having an argument then we would just go to bed upset, or mad at each other. But because we have always confessed our love for each other, keeping the commitment to each other has been much easier. Our children have always been included in the conversation of  ‘I love you’ and now our grandchildren. “I Love You” are the most powerful words on earth, say it, mean it. live it and you’re life will be more enriched.

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  • Bonnie, be bold! Bring it to light!

  • Glad to hear it!

  • Thanks for sharing, Huey!

  • Hermanto Kosasih1

    Hi, thanks a lot for this 5Cs. It refresh and energize my motivation and spirit.. I’ve learnt it when I joint EQ Trainer Certification program in year 2000 from six seconds. I realized about my mistakes, I made a commitment, confession, change and shared it with my wife, and improve my life and family life and the way I interact with others. Now it has been 11 years on, praise God, I have a much better living, health and relationship. I just wrote a book this year, titled Build The Best Of Your Life – practical guidance in impementing emotional intelligence at work. (In bahasa Indonesia). Include my own experiences and practical tips.
    God bless you.
    Hermanto Kosasih.

  • Rcon28

    Thank you Mark. I think these are things we know but often fail to do. It is good to be reminded just what marriage is about and how it does take work. Especially when you have small kids because you tend to put the kids first and set the “marriage” aside. But it is just that much more important to pass these values of marriage onto our kids. I plan to share this with my husband today. God Bless

  • Sara2001

    My marriage is anything but healthy.  I’ve been reading your posts for months now.  I read and search the internet for answers and help.  As much as I want my marriage to work for the sake of my son, I’m having a difficult time with the forgiveness you talk about. I found condoms in my husband’s work travel bag 7 months ago and I am trying to forgive him, but I can not.  I think I’ve been hurt too badly to forgive him.  I think I should leave him but hold on because every time I tell myself I’m really going to tell him it’s over, I think of my son and I can’t go through with it.  He feels no remorse for what he’s done, he still denies anything happened and can not empathize with how I feel.  We never talk about any of it.  He just ignores it entirely. He travels all the time and I no longer trust anything.  I feel like I am slowly dying inside.  How do I make the choice to either forgive or move on?

  • You’re welcome, Rcon28! I hope this has been helpful for your marriage.

  • Sara2001, I’m sad to hear that you have lost trust in your husband. Choosing to forgive your husband will bring freedom to your life. But, remember that it may not result in changes on his end. Stay faithful and choose to love and serve your husband each day. It is a difficult, but worthwhile task.

  • C K

    Thank you for the 5 C’s.  My marriage is anything but healthy.  My spouse is not open and honest about most of what he does.  He has now reverted back to a behavior that cost him 21/2 yrs of his freedom and lots of money on my part to help him out about 3 yrs ago.  He is an adult and should know right from wrong.  I have had enough of this juvenile behavior.  What can I do?

  • C K

     Thank you for the 5 C’s.  My marriage is anything but healthy.  My
    spouse is not open and honest about most of what he does.  He has now
    reverted back to a behavior that cost him 21/2 yrs of his freedom and
    lots of money on my part to help him out about 3 yrs ago.  He is an
    adult and should know right from wrong.  This was like a slap in the face to me. It seems that he does not care about the aftermath of his choices.  I have had enough of this
    juvenile behavior.  Any suggestions!

  • CK, I’m sorry to hear that you are frustrated with your husband’s lack of change. I would encourage you to be clear with your expectations for his behavior and be patient. It will take time for new habits to form, so encourage him along the way. Ultimately though, he must make the choice. You cannot change for him.

  • Great list, completely agree with confess and change as being important 

  • Yes4u

    like the part about loving the unlovable! I know sometimes my mood makes me act unlovable but when she loves me still what a blessing in the end for both of us

  • sms2874

    I am so sorry to read your story. I went through something similar – and I stayed because of our kids.  Now years later I know that is a mistake. I do still read these posts and always try to make myself better, but my husband never sees any problem with the way he is. I now realize that it would have been better for me to bite the bullet and raise my kids on my own. I think that thought scared me at the time, but I should have done it. He continues to this day to be disrespectful and hateful to me and says he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with the way he treats me. He lies and denies everything. Tells me I am wrong and everything is my fault. Pull up your boot straps and get some strong friends and a minister to talk to and you will be better for it.  I stayed in this mess because some people think things will get better, but they won’t .  You will always be the one who has to make the changes and you might as well do it on your own. I know too many women now that have done this on their own and they are much better off. Be there for your kids no matter what and show them where the strength is because they need to know how to do things right.

  • Dadof2Boys

    Mark, I admire your encouraging words, but I believe there are readers in truly toxic relationships. While I understand keeping your blog positive, as a counselor & Christian, I would love to see you encourage readers to seek pastoral counseling if they are in situations like Sara2001. For if the relationship is truly not a dual commitment and one spouse is refusing responsibility for their behavior for years on end, the other should not be bound to suffer the consequences of another’s behavior incessantly. This suggestion to seek help may validate their feelings. The positive message of “suck it up” does not apply to everyone. Some need alternatives. Bless you for all you do to encourage all of us in your readership.

  • Ckfitzgerald01

    Mark, I was thinking today…sometimes God may be speaking directly to me about change and for me not to concentrate on my husband, no matter how “bad” his behavior may be, but myself.  Doing as He has commanded.  I know He will walk with me all the way, not matter how impossible it may seem.  It is hard, but in my heart I know He is able.

  • Aachman

    This is something I discovered after you have written. We are married for 15 years and we are like just married couple. I think because of these C’s we have that spark.

  • SMC120

    I totally agree.