About the Book

What is a Healthy Marriage?

We work with the premise that God did not only create the man and woman, but he also created their relationship as the ‘third person’ in marriage.  In a healthy marriage our relationship becomes an equal partner which has the same status and value as the husband and wife. 

Furthermore, the husband and wife put the needs of the other two before their own and ensure that they are happy and when this happens, each person’s personal needs are nurtured by our relationship. 

Although our relationship is invisible and abstract, it can be identified by three elements, namely our values and principles, the unique attributes of each one and thirdly, our unity.  

Part 1 of One Love with Three Sides explains the dynamics of a healthy marriage along the lines of these concepts.    

Marriage Preparation 

Part 2 of One Love with Three Sides is for couples who are engaged and would like to be thoroughly prepared for a successful marriage. 

In Part 2, couples get the opportunity to apply the principles of a healthy marriage, as being described in Part 1, to their relationship as it is at the moment.  In this process, they identify their successes and also the areas in which they can improve and grow. They start to cultivate a lifestyle of sharing their feelings about their marriage with one another in such a way that it becomes part of normal life to discuss their experience of their marriage with one another.  Every time they share their stories, the value of their relationship will increase and as the value increases, their relationship will become an equal partner as a ‘third person’ in their marriage.

Marriage Restoration

Part 3 of One Love with Three Sides is for couples whose marriage is in the act of disintegration, due to some or other crisis they are experiencing.  It is a self-help manual for couples who need a neutral and structured way to identify the real problem and work through it in a way without being side tracked by emotions and the interference of people close to them.   

The beauty of this process is that it teaches couples a simple and effective way to solve problems on their own and empowers them to take responsibility for their marriage.   The more they use it, the better they get. 

They need to do Part 1 and Part 3 and then conclude the process with Part 2 to develop a new relationship to replace the one that has disintegrated.  


Couples whose problems have been building up over a long period and who find it virtually impossible to communicate with each other, can follow the steps of Part 3 carefully up to the stage where they can undertake starting to work on a new relationship (compare p. 123).  If they, at that stage, are still not able to claw their way out of the swamp and start to develop a new relationship, they need to consult a good marriage therapist. A good idea would be to take this manual along and share with the therapist which steps had already been worked through.  Couples who have successfully worked through Part 3 of One Love with Three Sides on their own or with the help of another person, should also share their success with a therapist, a mentoring couple or a confidante. 

Marriage Growth

If your marriage is healthy and you want to ensure that it stays that way and that your relationship keeps on growing, work through Part 1 and Part 4 of One Love with Three Sides.  Together with Part 2, healthy principles are consolidated to avoid our relationship being neglected and unobtrusively disintegrating.


From a therapist’s perspective, as being explained in Part 4, it is much better to work at this as a precautionary measure, rather than trying to restore a broken relationship by means of therapeutic interventions. It is so much more effective to work constantly at building a sound marriage, as the best time to work at a marriage is when all is well and there is no tension or friction. 

Marriage growth cultivates a constant awareness to keep our marriage healthy and it helps us to work at building a good relationship daily and to immediately identify and remove anything that can jeopardise our relationship.