The 4 C’s to making our Marriage Strong

Nov 5, 2010 Michael and I were engaged. It was not the princess fairy tale proposal movies show but I’ve never regretted saying, “YES!”.  A few people were jealous, some said we were too young, some reminded us that military marriages have a really high divorce rate, but most people were really excited for us. We were stationed in New Jersey at the time. We decided to have the wedding in Georgia near his family. We planned it quickly for 1/1/11 at 1 pm.  For the record, it is very hard to plan a wedding when you have never really been to that location for any real length of time before. We celebrated Christmas in New jersey and left the day after to drive down to Georgia. My Mom (visiting for the holidays from out of state), our best friend (Conner’s God Father), Conner, Michael, and I crammed all the wedding things and each other into our SUV.  Four feet of snow had come Christmas night so it was treacherous drive on the 26th.  It was a whirlwind when we arrived. There were a lot of last minute wedding and reception preparations, arrival of my Dad, Grandparents, loved ones from out of state, and marriage counseling.  During our marriage counseling, the Pastor explained the 4 C’s and their importance to us.  They still play a huge part of our successful marriage.

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The 4 C’s are all equally important and all go hand in hand:

  1. Commitment– We have had some very up and some very down times in our marriage. Both of us staying committed to work things out and never going to bed mad has made the world of difference. When one of us is struggling with something, knowing the other person is there for support near or far is a wonderful feeling. With commitment comes a few things to remember. Commitment is being willing to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work.  That means there are going to be many times when you’re not going to get your way and you just have to accept that and move forward. Compromise is key to commitment and a marriage is give and take. Remember, it is easy to be committed to your relationship when it’s going well but the most important part is how you remain dedicated when things are not going well.

    We knew we were pregnant with “twins” after two ultrasounds in this picture at his work Christmas party. He even won the dance competition with doing The Worm. Additionally, we were suppose to be moving to Northern Alaska a month later. We found out 11 days later the “twins” were really quints and our life was completely changing. © The Hoffman Squadron
  2. Courtship- Always remember to date each other. We are growing old together and experiencing many seasons of life together. By courting each other often, we constantly stay in touch with each others goals, dreams, ambitions, struggles, weaknesses, and all around life. Right now, our season of life does not allow many dates outside of the house together. We have young children and a career that keeps us separated more than we are together. Our main mission during this time of our life is raising healthy, happy, loving, and well rounded children.  Part of that is making sure our careers are in place to give them everything we want them to have available always.  Creativity becomes so important with courtship.  I never say this because I generally dislike most technology, but thank goodness for a few things. Skype/Facetime dates are always nice whenever we are a part long so we can keep in touch. Texting, blogging, and vlogging keeps us connected with the day to day routines no matter where we are. We have a lot of dinner and movie nights at the house after the kids are in bed. Honestly, we make date nights out of anything. Have a project you want to do or a chore to do…ask the other to join and talk as you work. As soon as he comes home from work or me with school, we stop whatever chaos there is, give a kiss, and ask about each others day. Keep the mood light, joke, and keep the spark there. Someday, we will have elaborate dates and vacations frequently with just each other but for now I’m enjoying watching our children experience life with us.

    © Cherise Kiel Photography
  3. Communication- We always try to communicate how we feel about things with each other. By nature, we both like to bottle things up until we explode. However, once we learned how to effectively talk to each other, listen, and respect our differences in life our marriage has been a lot better. With being gone a lot, communication is crucial since we both are dealing with a lot and have to respect what the other is doing. Without communicating what we are doing or what is happening in our lives, we would not have the knowledge to respect the others work.  We would feel isolated or like the other person just does NOT get it.  With both of us being in the military at some point and time, it definitely helps since I understand how he feels when he is away so know what he needs to feel involved here at home.  By being open about things, we do not have secrets or anything hidden. This keeps any jealousy or wondering away since there is no need for any of that. We respect that we both have different skill sets and knowledge areas.  We also know that we do not know everything so always have room for growth and maturation.
  4. I don’t even like beer. However, when it’s cheaper than water and you’re in Germany. Thou must fully embrace the culture. We had so much visiting different parts of Austria, Edelweiss, and Germany, during our adventure. © The Hoffman Squadron

      4. Christ- Christ is incorporated in everything we do in our life. Without him we would not be able to accomplish the other 3 C’s.  We know without his guidance we would be lost and that he plays a key role in keeping us grounded in every way.  Times get tough in marriage.  Times get tough in life.  We send so many prayers during these times for strength, help, and guidance.  Losing our daughter was a very hard time for all of us. Michael was set to deploy to Iraq 2 days after she was gone. I was trying to be strong on the outside for Michael but was crumbling on the inside. Michael did the same for me. We both turned to God and each other during that highly stressful time. There are joyous times in marriages. There are times you realize how blessed you are in everything. Prayers of gratitude and worship are part of our marriage too.

© Cherise Kiel Photography

These are the 4 C’s we always strive to maintain in our marriage. We also somehow include a few more like: competition, celebration, caring, coordination, children, chemistry, and crying (okay just a little…but it’s not my fault I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding most of our marriage. Hormones are a beast.).





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