The 6 Essentials of a Happy, Healthy Holy Relationship

Sep 12 2018

Have you ever wondered about the marvelous ingredients that must be in the “glue” that binds together long-lasting—“seasoned”—marriage relationships? These are the relationships that have grown for ten, twenty or more years. Such relationships have prospered due to many factors, yet there must be some fundamental commonalities, some constant bedrock foundation qualities, that sustain and enliven such seasoned relationships, and give them the necessary internal fortitude to thrive across the span of a lifetime. 

I’m viewing all this from the perspectives of being a husband, a father of adult, married children, and a professional Christian counselor. I don’t know whether I’ve learned more from my God-given role as a husband, my honored role as a father, or from my chosen profession as a counselor. Each has been a master teacher for me, and I have drawn upon each in so many ways.  I’ve learned much about what makes for a happy, healthy, and holy marriage. I’ve learned experientially from the growing relationship my wife Sandy and I share, and I’ve learned vicariously from the hundreds of marriages that have sought relief in my counseling office. 

This is my attempt to synthesize what I’ve learned, and to organize it in some understandable framework so that you may find it useful.  What you’ll find below is my answer to what I believe marriages need most: seasoned insight into how to create, maintain, and, most of all, enjoy the beautiful marriage relationship they’ve been given at this stage of life. 

I hope this doesn’t seem like advice, which can sometimes seem haughty, superior, and/or moralistic. I offer you this in a spirit of respect of who you are, and in awe of what you are. I offer these words from my heart with reverence, gratitude, and in the hope that you may benefit even minimally from what I’ve been able to glean from my life so far. 

The Couple Level: Six Essential Qualities

My professional experience, academic study, and clinical observation—together with all the mistakes, failures, and successes I’ve had in my own marriage—have taught me that there are six essential qualities that successful marriages practice on a continual basis. These six “essentials” are the fundamental competencies that successfully married people eventually discover as the bedrock of their relationships.

  1. Togetherness
  2. Respect
  3. Communication
  4. Intimacy
  5. Trust
  6. Commitment

 These six are the goals of a marriage; they are the “conditions” that best serve the success of the marriage.

Marriage Eroders

Relationships and marriages, as we unfortunately know, are not always smooth.  Somehow, even with the best intentions marriages can begin to erode.  Here ae the six eroders of a marriage.

  1. Self-Centeredness
  2. Resentment
  3. Criticism
  4. Defensiveness
  5. Doubt/Suspicion
  6. Indifference

When these start creeping into the marriage relationships, it’s a signal that help is needed.

Johnson Institute Course 111 may be a “first responder” for marriages.  It allows marriage partners to see more clearly what’s happening between them, to learn about themselves and to see how God’s grace makes all the difference.

JI Course 111 is suited for both:

  1. Healthy marriages that want to sustain and grow the faith-strength between partners, and
  2. Marriages that many have already started to erode a bit “around the edges”.

Pass this piece on as you will...

Until next time, stay light and be bright in God’s love.

Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D. 



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