The Four C's of Couple Power, developed by clinical psychologists Phyllis Koch-Sheras and Peter Sheras, is a simple method for building a solid foundation for a relationship and the means for maintaining lifelong love. The Four C's, in order, are: Commitment, Cooperation, Communication and Community. Built on a strong foundation of commitment, a relationship is nurtured by shared cooperation as a team, empowered by communication and language and supported by a community of peers. The Four C's are the basic tasks required for achieving Couple Power. They are not so much things to do or achieve as they are practices or processes to follow.
Most everyone experiencing difficulties in their relationship says that poor communication is the problem and that learning how to communicate better will be the solution. Much has been written about understanding how to communicate effectively. What may be explicitly communicated, however, may not be helpful. In fact, some couples just learn to communicate more clearly what their problems are. Communications and self-help training are in many ways like a diet: they may have a short term positive outcome, but the effects don’t last long. After a while, you are back where you started. While useful in some respects, communication does not, in and of itself, solve the problem. Other factors must be considered first.
That is where the Four C’s come in -
Commitment involves using the power of the words we use to create together a powerful foundation for the future, one based on what is possible, not what is wrong.
Cooperation is based on learning how to operate as a powerful team together, one that goes beyond the needs of the individual to commit to the couple as an entity.
Communication involves learning “responsible speaking and listening” that comes from a commitment to be together and reach a common agreed upon goal. This is most effective only after commitment is established and cooperation skills are learned.
Community is about being part of a group of couples who mutually support each other’s visions of a fulfilling relationship. What allows such experiences to persist is connection to a supportive community. Rarely is creating couple communities ever addressed in professional or self-help materials. In our individualistic society, partners usually find little or no support for their couple as a whole and too much encouragement for fulfilling their individual needs, often leading to unnecessary separation or divorce. While it is often said that it takes a village to raise a child, we have found that it also takes a community to raise and support a couple.
The Four C’s have a cumulative effect, and although interrelated, each one must be completed before the next can be successfully undertaken. Once accomplished, these tasks are the bedrock of a lasting, joyful and fulfilling relationship. The behaviors and techniques required to learn and maintain the Four C's are presented in Couple Power workshops and consultations.