The bookshelf in my counselor’s office is full of good resources, but I’ve added a new one: “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard F. Harley, Jr. The tagline is “Building An Affair-Proof Marriage” and he shares some excellent ideas and strategies.
One of my most-recommended marriage counseling resources is “Love and Respect” by Dr Emerson Eggerichs. The premise of the title is from the exhortation in Ephesians 6:33 that husbands are to love their wives and wives are to respect their husbands. The author employs a powerful word picture linking ‘air’ and ‘scuba diver’ to indicate the relative importance of each term!
I heard about Harley’s book during a marriage sermon series that my pastor complete. The book was originally published in 1986, and the stresses on marriages have only increased since that time. Harley utilizes an equally powerful metaphor when explaining the needs of husbands and wives.
He introduces the concept of a Love Bank, and each bank has accounts for each person we know. Just as with any account, there can be withdrawals and deposits. Pleasurable interactions cause deposits and painful interactions cause withdrawals.
Within the context of marriage, the love banks in each partner are open to withdrawals and deposits from each other in ways that, according to God’ plan, only the marriage relationship is to provide.
If one partner’s love bank is drawing down, you can be sure that the demonic realm will work to bring someone else along who is ready to make a deposit!
The book walks through each the unique needs of husbands and wives and provides sound practical steps to implementing a plan to keep the coffers full! Selfishness will trump virtually all relationship issues, but my years of experience in relationship counseling have led me to conclude that many couples really do not understand the true needs of their partner.
Resources like the two books mentioned, coupled with competent Christian counseling to address specific issues and temperament/personality differences, can help eliminate the ignorance factor.
What’s the bottom line? If you want a blessed and happy marriage, both partners should be operating with the same mindset:
- “I know what my spouse needs” and,
- “I purpose to serve to meet those needs out of my love for him/her and in obedience to God’s word!”
If you have only one willing partner, the path is rockier but there is still hope if you can decide to carry out your responsibilities in obedience and as “unto the Lord”. Don’t lose hope: He is able to abundantly above and infinitely beyond all you can ask or imagine to His power at work within you (Ephesians 3:20)!