3 Essential Elements of a Great Marriage

What makes a great marriage?

If you asked several strong couples, you’d probably get several different answers.

But if you examined their marriages, you’d find they have elements in common.

These three elements of a great marriage are adapted from the Logos Mobile Education course Do This Not That to Transform Your Marriage.


1. Clarity

There are some keys to a successful marriage, and if you don’t have these three keys there, your foundation is so rocky [and] shaky that it’s going to be difficult to put a Christian marriage back together or build one on top of it.

But the first thing is a word called clarity.

Now, clarity is something that you would think would just come with marriage, but it doesn’t.

Clarity—we’re talking about being truthful in what you do (your actions), being truthful in your motives and your desires. It’s acknowledging or realizing that what you say matters, but what you do matters more.

I was working with a friend of mine whose wife, all of a sudden, was not around very much. She was staying late after the yoga classes that she was teaching and just wasn’t spending time with the kids, and it became very unclear as to what she was doing and where she was going. She essentially had drifted from the marriage and taken all clarity out of it. . . . When we have clarity, we know where another person is, we know who they are, we know their motives, their feelings, their desires.

And so, if a marriage is in trouble, we have to ask: Is there clarity?

2. Security

Now, when there is clarity, there’s this second element we call security. Security is . . . stability from the dependability and the responsibility and the predictability of the partner.

I’ll just say that again. There’s stability from dependability, where that person is always dependable to do what they say they’re going to do.

There’s responsibility—they know what’s right and they do what’s right.

And predictability—wherever they say they are, you can predict that’s where they’re going to be. When they say they’re going to be back, that’s when they come back. And those three things together—dependability, responsibility, and predictability—give a person a sense of security.

3. Serenity

Now, you can imagine in a marriage where one is not dependable or responsible for themselves or very unpredictable in what they do, how insecure that relationship can be. There’s no clarity. There’s no security.

But when we do have clarity and security, it should result in a third element, which I call serenity.

In other words, we’re not worried every day. Is this marriage going to stay together? Is this person going to be unfaithful? I’ve created a space for peace and contentment and satisfaction.

So a little barometer for people is to look at the elements of security in your relationship.

Is there peace? Are you always anxious and uptight? Are you content? Are you always looking for something else? Are you satisfied? Or do you think you’ve really gotten a bad deal and you’re worried about where it’s going?

So, you don’t have serenity—and if you don’t—you go back and you look at the first two elements, security and clarity. When we have all of these things in place, it changes the foundation, it builds the foundation, and we can see a dramatic change in everything about that marriage.


This post is excerpted from Do This Not That to Transform Your Marriage, taught by founder and chairman of New Life Ministries Stephen Arterburn.

Find out more about Do This Not That to Transform Your Marriage, one of 200+ courses offered by Logos Mobile Education.

The title of this post is the addition of the editor. The author’s views do not necessarily represent those of Faithlife. 

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Logos Staff

Logos is the largest developer of tools that empower Christians to go deeper in the Bible.

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Written by Logos Staff