Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Affair-Proofing Your Marriage

As we get set this Mother’s Day to start a new 6-week series on the family that we are calling “Reel Families,” I want to recommend a book to every married person. I think it is one of the most beneficial books on marriage ever written. Its author is Willard Harley and the book is entitled, His Needs Her Needs: Building an Affair Proof Marriage.

The premise of the book is that you can build your marriage by understanding the needs of your mate. When you understand and meet these needs, you have gone a long way to “affair-proofing” your marriage. Here is how. In spite of what you normally see on television, affairs do not normally begin with a physical or sexual attraction. Obviously, they can begin with this but in most cases this is not the origin. Most affairs begin by simply being “just friends.” Under the right circumstances, any of us can fall prey to a simple friendship becoming an affair if our needs are not being met by our spouse.

For example, one of the 5 needs of most every wife is the need for communication. Women don’t just like to talk, they need to communicate. That’s why two men can get together to watch a ballgame, say four words the entire three hours they are together, and leave feeling like true male bonding has taken place. Such is not the case with women. They need to talk while together (the whole time they’re together) in order to feel a friendship blossoming. That’s why as early as Junior High School, you will find girls going to the restroom in herds. You will never see men doing that.

But let’s say that we have a wife whose husband never talks to her outside of, “Hi, honey, I’m home” and “When’s dinner?” Over time this wife is starving for communication to take place with a man and she may not even realize it. Let’s say that this faithful, Christ-honoring wife sings in the choir at her local church and in the choir she is placed next to a man who is a very talkative guy. She has no physical or sexual attraction to him. In fact, he kind of looks like the proverbial geek. However, all through choir, whenever they’re not singing, they talk. He asks her about her life, her work, her dreams and her fears. He even remembers what she shares and follows up on what she communicates week to week.

Over time, this wife begins to look forward to choir practice. Why? Not because she is necessarily attracted physically to this fellow singer but because one of her needs is being met by him in the church choir loft that is not being met by her husband around their dining room table at home. Over time, this friendship develops into a physical attraction and ultimately leads to a full blown affair.

When we understand our mate’s 5 basic needs and how we can meet those needs, we go a long way to protecting our mate and affair proofing our marriage. The catch is that husbands and wives have completely different needs. Too often we try to meet our mate’s needs as if their needs were the same as our needs. They’re not the same. Over the next two blog entries we will overview the 5 basic needs of a wife and the 5 basic needs of a husband. Get the book and be sure to read it. Your mate will be glad you did.

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