I was first introduced to the concept of the Three Cs when I was eighteen years old. I was studying law in Scotland, far away from family. My father, sensing that I might be homesick, had introduced me to a pastor and his wife who lived in London. When I got lonely for family, I would jump on a train for a visit. Eleanor would put on endless pots of tea, talk for hours, and mother me for the weekend.
Since I was seriously dating a man at the time, our conversations inevitably touched on the topic of marriage. It was during one of these talks that she introduced me to the Three Cs. This is the cornerstone upon which solid relationships are built. It is the understanding that there are three crucial things that make a marriage work: Commitment, Communication and Consummation. If you are missing one, or if any of the three are out of balance, the relationship will be in jeopardy.
When I was eighteen, I had no idea how deeply this bit of wisdom would sustain me in life. It was, for me, a complete paradigm shift that changed my understanding of marital interactions. It has guided me in my own marriage with my husband, and it has been the cornerstone of my coaching philosophy with couples regarding their relationships.
I have found that, as a culture, we speak often about commitment. Little girls plan their weddings from a young age, and it is fairly widely accepted that you need some sort of commitment in order to engender the amount of trust necessary to make a relationship thrive. We are also inundated with information about communication. Anytime you need a booster shot on this subject matter, you can turn on the Dr. Phil show, or walk down any of the many self-help aisles of your local book store.
But we do not speak enough of the issue of consummation. If we are lucky enough to have even a friend who will talk about sex with us, often they won’t go into the “nitty-gritty’s.” The result is that many of us feel isolated, struggling with issues (some which can be remedied simply and others which are more complex), and not realizing that so many others are facing exactly the same thing they are.
One of my encouragements to people, whether I meet them at a seminar, a workshop or in a one-on-one coaching session, is to establish a group of friends with whom they can talk about their sexual relationships. It is when we realize that we are not alone, and that the issues we face can be overcome, so we can move forward in confidence in our sexual relationships with our spouses.