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His Needs, Her Needs: Building an…
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His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage (edition 1986)

by Willard F. Harley Jr. (Author)

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1,236106,431 (3.81)10
Member:SDCrawford
Title:His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage
Authors:Willard F. Harley Jr. (Author)
Info:Fleming H. Revell (1986), 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Christianity, Marriage, Personal Growth

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His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Jr. Willard F. Harley

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Reviewed by The Light Network
  coldwaterchurch | Feb 4, 2017 |
All you can do is work things out ( )
  PBreaux | Jul 3, 2016 |
Harley's classic book, first-published in the mid-1980s, has been updated for a new generation. Harley explains how different the needs of men and women are and how failure of a spouse to meet one of the needs often leads to affairs. Harley calls for transparency in the marriage. This is perhaps the section that has seen the most revision since the book was first published, simply because today's technologies require more transparency between spouses than ever before. Harley's book was birthed out of a realization that the counseling practices of the 1970s were not saving marriages. As he began to find solutions that worked in his practice, he shared them with others, resulting in the book. This book, along with Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages are both books that should be read by most couples early in their marriages. The two differ somewhat in approach, and couples can benefit from both. ( )
  thornton37814 | Feb 15, 2016 |
My wife and I listened to this book together on a long car ride, where we could pause and discuss when prompted. This is the worst book on marriage that I have read, there are a host of others I would recommend above it. While Harley claims to write from a Christian worldview, the Gospel and the meaning of marriage is completely absent from this book. That, alone, makes it ineffectual and makes me sad that it's held up by so many Christians. If you have an incorrect view of what marriage represents, then you will also diagnose and treat conflict within the marriage incorrectly. In this book, humans are nothing more than products of biology responding to various stimuli and cognitive biases. Therefore, this is a 2-star book at best. My understanding is much of the material of the book comes from the 1970s, even though the first printing was 1995 and this was an updated 2001 version.
Over this book I would recommend Arterburn's Seven Minute Marriage Solution, Emerson Eggerichs' Love and Respect, and many more.

Harley breaks down the basic needs of husbands and wives into five each, focusing more on the male aspects. He is a psychologist and I felt he was coming at everything from an old-school Freudian approach-- everything on the male side comes down to sexual fulfillment. He makes the false claim that 50% of spouses are sexually unfaithful. The reader is treated to the sordid details of stories of extramarital affairs, perhaps made up whole cloth by Harley.

Men's needs:
1. Sexual fulfillment
2. Recreational companionship- the wife should take an interest in doing things the husband likes-- watching football, for example. If she tries it and really doesn't like it, she should find something else they can do together. Couples should spend "15 hours a week" of "undivided attention" on each other, doing the same things.
3. An attractive spouse- there is very little in this book about acceptance and celebration of differences. The wife should change her weight, clothes, and hair to suit her husband. If he doesn't find her "irresistible" he will likely have a passionate affair from which he'll never completely recover.
4. Domestic support- The wife should not pursue a career, and if she does work household chores should be divided according to the needs of the husband. Harley had a good point here about making a list of everything that needed to be done in the house and having each partner put priorities on the item. Whoever ranks something with the highest priority gets to be responsible for that chore.
5. Admiration - This mostly came at the end of the book, which is a shame because respect really is ultimate to a husband and is the driver (not sex) behind many of the affairs Harley describes.

Women's needs:
1. Affection - Men should learn to be more affectionate. (Eggerichs would just focus on #5 above and #1 here).
2. Conversation - women have affairs with men who will actively listen to them.
3. Honesty and openness - Husbands should have no problem turning their schedules over to their wives, especially if they've been unfaithful.
4. Financial support - Men should be the breadwinners.
5. Family commitment - Fathers should be dads, otherwise women will have affairs with other men who will raise their children better-- including relatives of the biological father. Harley writes that there should be 15 hours together with the children (is that added to the 15 hours of undivided attention for the spouse as well, or do parents get out of that?).

I think my wife was most offended by the section where Harley tells women readers to do their hair nicely, consume fewer calories, exercise more, and consult magazine articles for tips on beauty, or else their husband will cheat on them. Most books on marriage deal with the importance of the man fulfilling his wife's needs during daylight hours ("women are ovens, men are microwaves") by being a supportive husband, this did not put as much impetus on the man. It's up to the woman to respond to her husband's wants, no matter what.

There is no grace in this book, no acceptance of your spouse as a spiritual creature with a history and a brain, no dealing with expectations or letting go of them and preconceived notions of marital bliss, and no growing together to be like Christ. Your wife is a biological partner you can have fun with, nothing more. While he strongly cautions against divorce, he is pretty flippant in saying sometimes these things just don't work out.

Read this book if you're not a Christian but want a step-by-step how-to guide to fix your marriage as though it were a piece of IKEA furniture. ( )
  justindtapp | Jun 3, 2015 |
You can read my full review at Quieted Waters.

His Needs, Her Needs provided a great source of discussion for my fiancée and me as we prepare for marriage, but we found that it unduly focused upon affection and sexual fulfillment with little emphasis on the other eight emotional needs Dr. Harley lists.

This book is similar to The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts, but it is significantly different in that it identifies additional emotional needs and discusses common differences between men and women. Dr. Harley identifies two unique emotional needs: affection and sexual fulfillment, while Dr. Chapman simplifies those both into the category of physical touch. Having read both, I would commend them both to couples, as each brings a helpful perspective to relationships. ( )
  QuietedWaters | May 22, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0800717880, Hardcover)

Marriage works only when each spouse takes the time to consider the other's needs and strives to meet them. In His Needs, Her Needs, Willard Harley identifies the ten most vital needs of men and women and shows husbands and wives how to satisfy those needs in their spouses. He provides guidance for becoming irresistible to your spouse and for loving more creatively and sensitively, thereby eliminating the problems that often lead to extramarital affairs.

The revised anniversary edition of His Needs, Her Needs is a celebration of how the book has helped thousands of couples revitalize their marriages during the last fifteen years. This best-seller identifies the causes of marital difficulties and instructs couples on how to prevent them, guiding them to build a relationship that sustains romance and increases intimacy. With today's soaring divorce rate and prevalence of affairs, Harley's insights are needed more than ever before.

An unabridged recording of His Needs, Her Needs, the 15th anniversary edition, is now available as an audio book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:55 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Includes material on the role of "admiration, affection, an attractive spouse, conversation, domestic support, family commitment, financial support, honesty and openness, recreational companionship, sexual fulfillment" in marriage.

(summary from another edition)

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