Marriage scares me. I was not the little girl who imagined a princess wedding, prince charming, and happily ever after. I was looking at the families that were being destroyed because the marriage failed. I first saw it in elementary school where childhood friends were on an every-other-weekend visiting schedule. Soon, my sister and I were on a rotating holiday schedule with our divorced parents. In my 20s, friends were saying “I do” and after a couple kids compounded with marital fractures, they were saying “I don’t.” I saw single-parenthood and it did not look appealing. I perpetually wonder, “what makes a happy marriage last?”
I am passionate about helping people develop their communication skills so they can have happy, healthy marriages. I love reading relationship books. I want to share the very best parts with others in hopes that a digestible piece of wisdom will resonate.
Every marriage is vulnerable to temptations. When we stop taking the pulse of our relationship we no longer monitor subtle changes of discontent. The marriages that are most vulnerable are the ones where people think, “an affair will never happen in MY marriage.” In Willard Harley, Jr’s book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, the main idea is that each person has needs that may rank in the top five of “non-negotiable.” Marriages start to fracture when highly-valued needs get neglected.
1. Deposit or Withdrawal: Every interaction is either making a deposit or withdrawal from the “Love Bank” of the relationship. The main purpose of how to affair-proof a marriage is to understand the warning signs (account is overdraft). Making a course correction early is much easier than picking up the pieces of a fractured life after a divorce.
2. Top 5: Never let someone else meet your spouse’s (top 5) needs. Most affairs begin with friendship. We stop being vigilant and become preoccupied with all the other distractions in the world.
3. The Average: The average man and woman have needs that are completely opposite than their partner’s. When His Needs are not Her Needs, it is easy to discount them as not important. The spouse’s needs are not on the radar to be attended to…which leads to opportunities for infidelity. The unfulfilled spouse starts looking outside the marriage because the thirst for the need to be quenched doesn’t go away.
Self-awareness allows us to communicate the status of our Love Bank account and to make ‘kind’ requests. Monitoring my spouse’s Top 5 needs allows for us to start a conversation about adjustments that need to be made that work for both of us. I intentionally provide for my husband’s needs because I want to be THE source of the most important ones. Being vigilant to build a solid foundation with my husband is how I stop marriage from scaring me.
“His & Hers” 12-week series begins!
Reflect & Share:
From the Average Top 5 list (above), which ones resonate with you? Which ones don’t? What makes a happy marriage last?
Thank you in advance for the “like”, sharing this blog with friends, and commenting on the discussion.
Resources: Find out your Top 5 Needs by taking the assessment. Book: His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage