An Encouraging Word...
Building an Affair-Proof Marriage
Last Sunday, we looked at how the 7th Commandment, you shall not commit adultery, applies to us today. In my sermon, I referenced a book entitled, His Needs, Her Needs – Building an Affair-proof Marriage. In the book, author Willard Harley mentions five basic needs of a wife and five needs of a husband. The point of the book is that the better we are at fulfilling our spouse’s needs, the less likely our spouse will be tempted to look outside the marriage to have those needs met.
According to Harley, the five needs of a wife are: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, financial commitment and family commitment. Harley identifies the following as the five needs of a husband: sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, a spouse he finds attractive, domestic support and admiration. Speaking as a husband, I would agree with most of the needs that Harley identifies for us men. But I was not suggesting that we should all agree with Harley’s list. Rather, I was proposing that each of us needs to know our spouse’s basic needs so that we can seek to meet them.
I want to remind you of the assignment I gave to each of you in church. Schedule a time with your spouse this week to discuss what you each perceive your primary needs to be. You might use Harley’s list as a basis for your conversation. For example, I could begin by asking Sue, “Harley says that the primary need of most wives is affection. Do you agree? If so, what does affection mean to you? If not, what do you perceive your primary need to be?” Feel free to adlib your conversation. But find out how well each of you knows the other person. And, if you dare, gently explore how well you are doing at meeting your spouse’s primary needs.
Frankly, after 27 years of marriage, I suspect that I still have plenty to learn about my wife’s needs. And when it comes to actually meeting her needs, I’m confident that I have even more room for improvement. If we truly want stronger marriages, we must first recognize our spouse’s needs. Then we can best learn how to meet them.