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.
Average Man’s Top 5 Needs: Sexual Fulfillment, Recreational Companionship, Attractive Spouse, Domestic Support, Admiration
Average Woman’s Top 5 Needs: Affection, Conversation, Honesty/Openness, Financial support, Family commitment
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?
Resources: Find out your Top 5 Needs by taking the assessment. Book: His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage
Babysitters can take care of the kids. The housekeeper can do the laundry. Dinner can be delivered to your door. Sex in marriage is the one role that a spouse is ‘not allowed’ to outsource.
All marriages are vulnerable to temptations. We all need to be vigilant to make sure that we are the source for our spouse’s MOST important needs. Marriages start to fracture when highly-valued needs get neglected. The average man ranks “sexual fulfillment” as his number one need according to the book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage.
Husbands sign up for monogamy, not celibacy. There are a lot of angry married men out there that feel sexually deprived. There are a lot of over-stressed wives that have no energy left for their husbands. Our wedding day promise was to make our spouse our priority… then we fall in love with our children. Priorities shift and often times important needs get ignored.
Marriages need regular sex. There is only one person who signed up to be your LIFE-lover, your spouse. Hormone and energy levels impact sex drive. Sometimes it is timing. The request is denied because “now” is not an option (timing/lack of preparation). What is often heard is “not interested in sex with you” (rejection).
1. Sex is not to be used for power plays, punishment, or manipulation.
2. Make sex a priority. What needs to happen for you to have energy and interest?
3. Active sexual life is healthy. “He can feel sexually satisfied only when she joins him in the experience of lovemaking.” Be a willing participant.
4. Stop the excuses. Start making some deals that work for both of you.
5. Wives need to be the source of the husband’s orgasms. “The unfulfilled spouse starts looking outside the marriage because the thirst for the need to be quenched doesn’t go away.”
Sexual fulfillment is a real need that can be integrated into the priorities of real life.
Reflect & Share: How is a wife supposed to know if a husband is sexually fulfilled? What are some early warning signs that a husband is “sexually deprived”? What are some best practices to make sex a priority in marriage when life gets complicated?
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This blog series is based off of the book, His Needs Her Needs. When I looked at the average man’s hierarchy of marriage needs, recreational companionship ranks as #2. Men want their woman to be their “buddy.” To go out and take up a hobby they can do together. What I found interesting is that men use leisure time to recharge themselves.
In the dating process, women often go along with activities because it pleases the boyfriend. After marriage, there is less desire to accommodate. Some wives may rationalize “we live together, we spend enough time doing things.” Sacrificing enjoyment by going along with an undesirable activity to keep the peace will only lead to problems (and complaining). The emphasis for Recreational Companionship is about “fun experiences.”
Danger: Doing separate recreational activities are a missed opportunity for couples. Husbands are having their most enjoyable moments in the company of someone else.
The Goal: Find activities you BOTH enjoy doing together.
For a fulfilling marriage, your favorite recreational companion MUST be your spouse. “The couple that plays together stays together.”
After getting a dog, I can see why canines are so appealing to men…they both like playing. My goal is for my husband and I to always be best friends. When there are fun times ahead, I want us to experience them together.
Reflect & Share: What fun activities do you and your partner love doing together? What solo recreational activity are you willing to give up to find one you can do with your partner?
This blog series is based off of the book, His Needs Her Needs. The#3 need of the average man is an Attractive Spouse. This may mean weight management or putting effort into how you present yourself, like when you were first dating.
The healthy habits can easily be replaced with inactivity that leads to weight gain. The demanding needs of child-rearing can put physical appearance low on a wife’s priority list.
Be your Husband’s Eye Candy – when a wife looks good, the husband feels good. Attractiveness is working what you got and feeling good doing it. When wives don’t feel pretty or they feel self-conscious about their bodies, they don’t want to have sex. Husbands want wives to care about being visually stimulating to him. Visual stimulation will lead to getting His #1 Need met, sexual fulfillment.
For me, that means I wear sundresses because my husband loves how I look in them and to keep my hair curly. It can be so easy to “let myself go” by not watching what I eat or hanging out in comfy sweats for too many days in a row. When I take care of myself, I benefit, my husband benefits, our marriage benefits. I want to be my husband’s sweetest eye candy.
Reflect & Share: What do you do to stay “physically attractive” to your partner?