Have you ever stopped to think about what your needs are in a relationship? Did you ever think they might be different from your mate?
Needs — what an interesting word. I used to be one of those people who didn’t even know that word when it came to a relationship. I knew I had “wants.” Well along comes this book “His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage,” by Willard F. Harley, Jr. to school me all about “needs” in a marriage. Finally, I felt validated. I wasn’t being selfish or unrealistic. The first time I saw the lists I thought I also wanted to add some of the things from the man’s list. What can I say…I’m a woman, and you know we want it all!
Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. is a psychologist and marriage counselor with more than 30 years of experience. This is what he had to say about his needs/her needs:
Excerpt from His Needs, Her Needs
“In my counseling experience, I have identified five basic needs men expect their wives to fulfill and five needs women expect their husbands to meet. Time and again these ten needs have surfaced as I have helped literally thousands of couples improve their troubled marriages. Although each individual may perceive his or her needs differently, the consistency with which these two sets of five categories have surfaced to explain marital problems impresses me.
The man’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:
1. Sexual fulfillment
2. Recreational companionship
3. An attractive spouse
4. Domestic support
The woman’s five most basic needs in marriage tend to be:
3. Honesty and openness
4. Financial support
5. Family commitment
These categories may not apply equally to everyone. Some men and women will look at their respective lists and say, quite honestly, “I don’t share this or that need.” Sometimes people will see things on the list of the opposite sex that will strike them as more applicable to themselves. Long experience has taught me, however, that the vast majority of each sex do agree that the needs I have listed are their deepest ones when it comes to the marriage relationship.”
“In marriages that fail to meet those needs, I have seen, strikingly and alarmingly, how consistently married people choose the same pattern to satisfy their unmet needs: the extramarital affair. People wander into affairs with astonishing regularity, in spite of whatever strong moral or religious convictions they may hold. Why? Once a spouse lacks fulfillment of any of the five needs, it creates a thirst that must be quenched. If changes do not take place within the marriage to care for that need, the individual will face the powerful temptation to fill it outside of marriage.”
Don’t shoot me if you don’t agree. I’m just the messenger. I do think this is something to think about. Yes, it’s easy for us to say that people cheat because “they want to.” However, I don’t think most people go into marriage with the idea of being unfaithful to their spouse. We may not like it, but maybe there is something to what Dr. Harley is saying.
About the Book – His Needs, Her Needs
Read Chapter 1 of His Needs, Her Needs
Emotional Needs Descriptions and Emotional Needs Questionnaire
Info on Dr. Harley