Counseling for Healthy Relationships - Lesson 1

Introduction to Great Relationships

Dr. Parle introduces Dr. Karl Elkins and the class, Top 4 Aspects of a Great Relationship.

Karl Elkins
Counseling for Healthy Relationships
Lesson 1
Watching Now
Introduction to Great Relationships

I. Introduction

A. Interview for faculty position

B. Counseling Dr. Parle

II. Choosing to Cheat

  • Dr. Parle introduces Dr. Karl Elkins and the class, Top 4 Aspects of a Great Relationship.

  • Love is meeting the need of the moment, not meeting a need with good intentions. All you have to do to upset someone is to lovingly meet the wrong need. You can only hit an emotional target with an emotional arrow. 

  • Acknowledge that you have needs and transfer the ownership of these needs into the hands of God, which is meekness. You and I have an emotional kettle that is designed to experience positive emotions. Over time, an unmet need is like a flame under the kettle, which results in the "pressure" of anger and hurt. Unmet needs lead to hurt, and hurt leads to disappointment and sadness. Empty the kettle of negative emotions and the positive emotions will come back.

  • Anger results when you are hurt and you cling to a right. Yield your rights to God and focus on your responsibilities. Learn to think at the need level, not the event level. If you focus on your rights it leads to an angry revolution. If you focus on your responsibilities, it leads to a revival.

  • Having a structure to serve as a model for communicating your needs and emotions of the moment helps you to communicate clearly and creates space to meet each other's needs by responding in love. It helps initially if you have someone to coach you as you work through the steps to help you stay focused on the current issue so you can identify and meet the need of the moment. 

You show love to someone when you identify the need of the moment and meet it. Mr. Elkins identifies and describes the top 12 commonly identified needs. He also suggests a pattern of communication to use to resolve a situation where one or more of these needs is not met.

Dr. Karl Elkins

Counseling for Healthy Relationships


Introduction to Great Relationships

Lesson Transcript


Hello, my name is Dr. Joe Parle on the Academic Dean of the College of Biblical Studies. And it's my privilege today to introduce you to a great friend of mine, Karl Elkins, and his lovely wife, Terry. And to talk to you a little bit about the impact they their ministry has had on my life and why I think it's important for people in the ministry to learn the concepts they're going to teach you today. I first became associated with Karl in 2008, when our president had encouraged me to interview him as a potential faculty member, and at the time I thought, we have plenty of biblical counseling faculty members. I don't think I need to add yet another one. But as I met Karl, I was impressed by his understanding of the Bible and the deep questions that he would ask me that I had never thought of in the way he was able to package counseling in a very interesting approach. Little did I know the impact Karl would have on my own life. During that time, I was pursuing a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies, and my daughter was born in February of 2008, and my wife and I were working very hard in trying to continue our marriage and to be as effective as we could as parents. But when my daughter was born, I was in the middle of comprehensive exams and I had taken two weeks off of work to be with my wife as she was raising our daughter. And I thought, you know, this will be a great opportunity for me to help her and to be there for her. And her mother was also there for us. And like many men, I thought, you know, if her mom's here, she really doesn't need that much of my help. So as opposed to taking those two weeks to take care of her as she was raising our daughter, I decided to spend that time studying for my comprehensive exams in Greek and Hebrew. And that began a snowball in my marriage that had long term impacts such that for many years I promised her, when I'm done with a Ph.D., I will focus more on the family. When I'm done with a Ph.D., I will focus more on the family. Well, my son was born in July of 2009, and I had just finished my Ph.D. in May, and I had a second opportunity to right the wrong that I did with the first one. But then all of a sudden work once again came calling and beckoning. And there were emergencies as I was supposed to be home, taking care of my son. And things got so difficult that in December of 2009, my wife had expressed to me how very disappointed she was in my marriage. And as a man in the ministry, I knew that my ministry can only go as far as my marriage. If if I was to go through a divorce, it would disqualify me from the type of ministry that I had at the college. And so I called out to Dr. Karl Elkins and asked him if he would be willing to meet with me and my wife. Now, I want to share with you a little bit of my heart going into this. My heart going into this was not so much God change me or fix me or show me where I've gone wrong. It was much more Show her where she's wrong. Show her why she's not having a biblical view of marriage and why she's not looking out for things and why she's always angry and why she's doing all these things. And so I kind of went into this not thinking that I was going to be change, but I really went to it thinking and hoping that she was going to be changed. In fact, some people have said that when people look for marriage counseling, they're usually not looking for advice. They're looking for a referee, someone to point to the other person and say, tell them they're wrong. And I will confess to you that that's the heart with which I went into the marriage counseling with Karl. Karl said something on the first day that I thought was going to be impossible. He said, By the third day of this counseling, you all will each be owning up to your own sin and confessing them to each other. In my mind, I thought, you do not know my wife. There is no way at the end of the 33 days that she is going to be owning up to anything and confessing to anything. I've tried, believe me. And I know the Bible. Imagine being married to a Bible professor that every time you get an argument, he can cite all the verses of why you're wrong and be able to prove exegetical and theologically where you're wrong. And and that was the heart of the Pharisee that I had towards my marriage. So I didn't go into it as a humble man. I went into it as a prideful man. But sure enough, after three days we were confessing our sins. But whereas had I, when I first went into my marriage counseling, I thought that 10% of the problems were my responsibility and 90% of them were Susans. I left after that third day, realizing that 90% of the problems were my responsibility and 10% were Susan's. Just to teach you a brief snippet of what radically changed my life and what I think is going to be valuable for the ministers and seminarians that are watching this program. Karl taught me something that was very important, and he said it all came down to the fall and he had given an illustration that he got from Dr. Larry Crabb. And he said that oftentimes as men, we have a choice as to what we want to focus our energies on. Thanks to the fall, work is affected and family is affected that the Bible said that thanks to the fall work was going to be. It's a bon painful toilsome. It was going to become difficult and the family relationships were going to be affected that sin was going to enter in and that was going to adversely affect our family. And so Carl had challenged me with this idea. He said, you know, one of the challenges is, is that you have to decide, are you going to focus your impact on your job or are you going to focus your impact on your family, that it's difficult to have both, that as a result and in his book, Choosing to Cheat, Andy Stanley says that as a result of the fall, you cannot meet your fullest potential in both your work and your family. So all your life, when you're at work, you feel like you're cheating your family. And when you're with your family, you feel like you're cheating your job. And he said, you're going to have to choose to cheat one. My wife saw me reading this book, choosing to cheat. She was thinking, What on earth are you reading this for? What does that mean? But when I explained it to her, he said, As a man, you could choose. And most men choose to cheat their family for their jobs. And what ends up happening as a result of that is that they work for 30, 40 years only to find out later they're laid off, when at the same time they have a family that they can invest their life and energy in for many years and to see the long term benefits and blessing of that. Well, what Karl had taught me is imagine this is about the amount of work I can get done in one day, but this is about the amount of work I have, he said. What I needed to do was do the work I could and then trust God for the part that I could not do, that it was impossible for me to do the amount of work that I had before me. But what I was doing was cheating my wife at the time that she needed and the attention she needed at home. And he focused me on Christlike characteristics of learning what my wife's needs were and how I could effectively meet them. Well, if those you are watching, I hope that you will be as transformed by the messages of Dr. Karl Elkins as I was. He's a great counselor. He's a great friend, and he's a person that models the very thing that he teaches. And as he's taught many of our students over the years, many of my friends, many different people, many contacts, I think you will be blown away by the work God has done in Karl and Terry to help people understand the focus of Christ and the impact that they can have on their marriage. So I hope you pay attention with a humble heart and ask God to change you and show you how you can benefit from this series.