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July 3, 2007
Column #1,349
Advance for July 6, 2007
"His Needs, Her Needs"
by Mike McManus

DENVER - Dr. Willard Harley, a noted psychologist and author, told 2,000 marriage activists at last week's Smart Marriage Conference that he experienced years of failure and frustration as a marital counselor until age 35.

"How do you know if you are successful?" he asked himself.

"A couple leaves your office, hand-in-hand. A couple drops their plan to divorce. A couple calls you to say their marriage is finally on the right track. A couple tells you that your counseling is the best they ever received.

"All of these are examples of couples I counseled who eventually divorced," he confessed.

No matter what he did, it did not work.  He taught the importance of commitment in marriage, that it was God's will that they should stay together.  He taught them how to communicate better.  "But I remained a failure."

He worked for the most prestigious marital clinic in the Twin Cities that claimed to save 90% of troubled marriages.  Harley investigated and found only 10 percent were saved. Even the clinic's director got divorced.

Therefore, Harley took two radical steps.  First, he stopped charging for counseling. Second, he asked couples what it would take to save their marriage. Many thought nothing would save it. Commitment by the other person? Nope. Communication? No. Love? Ditto.

"I love my husband, but I am not in love with him," was a typical response..

Then he asked, "Would being in love save their marriage?" Not a single couple who was in love wanted to divorce. Therefore, he predicted that if he could restore love in marriage, marriages would be saved. But how?

Over a decade Harley began a series of experiments on romantic love, such as a test with 200 items to measure it, studies on love at first sight and whether anyone had the feeling of love for the same person throughout life. That was how he felt about Joyce, his wife of 44 years. His research revealed that a fifth of all couples experienced a lifelong satisfying marriage.

What he concluded is that "There is a `Love Bank' account in the name of everyone we encounter. When we associate someone with good feelings, love units are deposited. When we associate that person with bad feelings, love units are withdrawn."

How do people fall in love? Harley believes that couples discover what makes each of them happy, and learns how to produce that joy in each other. "When they deposit 1,000 love units, they pass the romantic threshold, triggering romantic love. They become irresistible."

People marry because each person's Love Bank is so full they want to spend the rest of their lives together. "They think they will love each other until death," he says.

Why do so many divorce? One or both people start making Love Bank withdrawals. He stops complimenting her.  She criticizes him in public. Their time with each other drops as children arrive. Romantic Love" fades into "Caring Love."  

However, each person must fulfill the emotional needs of their spouse, or the Caring Love will disappear as did the Romantic Love. To learn what were the emotional needs in marriage, Harley asked people what would make them the happiest.

"Men tended to want SEXUAL FULFILLMENT and RECREATIONAL COMPANIONSHIP.  Women tended to want AFFECTION and CONVERSATION most.

"But husbands and wives did not appreciate the importance of each other's emotional needs. Many thought that the other person's needs were unnecessary or even silly. They thought that romance was best defined as activities that met their own needs, but not that of their spouse," Harley asserted.

Neither gender realized that meeting their spouse's emotional needs "kept them in love with each other."  Therefore, he began to teach women to give men SEXUAL FULFILLMENT and RECREATIONAL COMPANIONSHIP. And men to give their wives AFFECTION and INTIMATE CONVERSATION.

Meeting these emotional needs "deposits the most love units and is what we expect our spouses to do for us when we marry. When these needs are unmet in marriage, infidelity and divorce are often the result," he concluded.

For example, during courtship couples schedule time for  intimate conversation, but rarely do so after marriage. That time is important for problem solving, planning and negotiating. It is also unlikely that couples would have fallen in love without enjoyable recreational time together. So why not "spend your most enjoyable recreational time with your spouse?" he asks.

After years of research Harley wrote a book "His Needs, Her Needs" which is the only book ever published to sell more copies every year since 1986, 3 million so far.

Husbands and wives: Do you want to restore love in your marriage? Buy the book.
 

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