Shorty after my husband and I announced our engagement to my parents, my mom bought us a copy of this book. The title could sound dismal or threatening to two young lovebirds, like my partents were trying to give us a warning, or to make us have sober second thoughts, but that was not the case. My mom assured me, that after 25 years of marriage, they had read this book, and it had opened their eyes, helping them express their needs to each other better than they ever had before. She wished they had had a book like it before they got married.
And so, we took this marriage manual to heart, and learned so much about each other in the process!
In this book, Harley (a seasoned marriage counsellor) outlines 10 basic and essential needs that every person has. Five of them are presented as the man's "top five", and the other five are the typical needs of the woman. However, the author admits that every single person has all ten needs--just in varrying degrees--and that the order of importance may be different for each individual.
Harley explains that these needs are so strong, that a person simply cannot feel whole and function without them being met. As a married person, it is very important to meet the top needs of your spouse for him or her, because if their needs are not being met in the marriage, they will seek out someone else to meet that need. This is how friendships with the opposite sex turn into a dependancy on that person, and ultimately, an affair.
So, would you like to know what the ten needs are?
1. Affection: The first thing she can't do without
2. Conversation: She needs him to talk to her
3. Honesty & Openness: She needs to trust him totally
4. Financial Support: She needs enough money to live comfortably
5. Family Commitment: She needs him to be a good father
1. Sexual Fulfillment: The first thing he can't do without
2. Recreational Companionship: He needs her to play with him
3. Attractivness: He needs a good-looking wife
4. Domestic Support: He needs peace and quiet
5. Admiration: He needs her to be proud of him
Each need is outlined in its own chaper, where the author does a good job of explaining just why this is so important to your spouse. He also shares stories of marriages he has seen go wrong simply because this one need was not being met. And, thankfully, he offers ideas on how to get started, if you realize you have not been meeting this need at all and have no idea where to begin.
In the back of the book, there is an area for each partner to rate their needs 1 through 10. This personalizes the information, and allows you to see your spouse's most pressing needs. I like to look back on this list to see how I am doing, and think it would be helpful to re-do the list from time to time to see if anything has changed. As a person changes, and a relationship grows and develops, I think some needs will become more or less important. (For example, a wife's need for her husband to be a good father--it may be near the bottom of the list while they are dating, but watch it shoot up once they have their first baby!)
If you are engaged to be married, have been married for years and want to revitalize the relationship, or even if your relationship is on the brink of disaster, I would urge you to get this book. It is never too late to start, and you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.