"HIS NEEDS HER NEEDS (Building An Affair Proof Marriage)" by Willard F. Harley Jr. 

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Additional thought of Graham White in highlights.

There are very few books that I have read to date that have such complete information on the topic they are covering.  If you don't understand your marriage or your mate 100% (that would be all of us I am guessing), read this book.

I have pulled out a few of the strongest points, but there is much more in this is a book that makes it worth purchasing.

Our society's failure to train people in meeting the needs of others - especially the needs of a marriage partner - has caused much of our high divorce rate.  Marriage is not a simple social institution that everyone eventually enters into because he or she "falls in love and lives happily ever after."  As long as we fail to see marriage as a complex relationship that requires special training and abilities to meet the needs of a member of a life-long partner, we will continue to see a devastating divorce rate.

I used to manage a dating service.  Soon after I opened the service, I began to see a serious problem: those who had enrolled needed more than just an opportunity to meet each other.  Almost without exception these people lacked skills in meeting the needs of others.  Yet each of them eagerly sought someone else who would be highly skilled in meeting their needs and who would take care of them.  

They complained that they only met selfish and insensitive people.  Of course they could not see their own selfishness and insensitivity.

Instead of trying to help the subscribers meet eligible people, I aimed at helping them become eligible themselves first.  I helped them learn to analyze themselves and their personalities.  Then we developed skills and other qualities that made them attractive to the opposite sex.  They no longer found that they needed a dating service.  Their newly acquired abilities made them attractive to the opposite sex.  Many were married within two years.


Become aware of each other's needs and learn to meet them.

  • Men's 5 most basic needs from his wife:
    • Sexual fulfillment
    • Recreational companionship
    • An attractive spouse
    • Domestic support
    • Admiration


  • Women's 5 most basic needs from her husband:
    • Affection
    • Conversation
    • Openness and honesty
    • Financial security
    • Family commitment

If any of a spouse's five basic needs goes unmet, that spouse becomes vulnerable to the temptation of an affair.

The Irresistible Husband

  1. He meets her need for affection with plenty of hugs and kisses at every opportunity.  He also tells her how much he cares for her with a steady flow of words, cards, flowers, gifts, and common courtesies.  Affection is the environment in which to grow a wonderful marriage.

  2. He meets her need for intimate conversation by talking with her at the feeling level.  He listens to her attitudes about the events of her day with sensitivity, interest, and concern.  all his conversations with her convey a desire to understand her, but not to change her.

  3. He meets her need for honesty and openness by looking her in the eye and telling her what he really thinks.  He explains his plans and actions clearly and completely because he regards himself as accountable to her.  He wants her to trust him and feel secure.

  4. He meets her need for financial support by firmly shouldering the responsibility to house, feed, and clothe his family (even if she's a working professional too).  If his income is insufficient to support his family, he does not feel sorry for himself; instead he looks for concrete ways to increase his earning by upgrading his skills or he sits down with his wife to determine how to make better use of what income they have, how to lower their standard of living if necessary in order to raise their marriage to a safer and more fulfilling level.

  5. He meets her need for family commitment by putting his family first.  He commits his time and energy to the moral and intellectual development of the children.  He reads to them, engages in sports with them, takes them camping and on other outings.  He does not play the fool's game of working long hours, trying to get ahead, while his children and spouse languish in neglect.

The Irresistible Wife

  1. She meets his need for sexual fulfillment by becoming an excellent sexual partner to him.  She studies her own response to recognize and understand what brings out the best in her; then she communicates this information to her husband and together they learn to have a sexual relationship that both find repeatedly satisfying and enjoyable.

  2. She meets his need for recreational companionship by developing mutual interests with her husband.  She discovers those activities her husband enjoys the most and tries to become proficient in them.  If she learns to enjoy them, she joins him in them.  If she does not enjoy them, she encourages him to consider others that they can enjoy together.  She becomes her husband's constant recreational companion so that he repeatedly associates her with the pastimes he enjoys most.

  3. She meets his need for her attractiveness.  She keeps herself physically fit with diet and exercise, and she wears her hair, makeup, and cloths in a way that her husband finds attractive and tasteful.  Her husband is pleased and proud of her in public and in private.

  4. She meets his need for domestic support by creating a home that offers him an atmosphere of peace.  She manages the home and care of the children.  This gives him opportunity to spend evenings and weekends with her and their children in educational and recreational activity.

  5. She meets his need for admiration and respect by understanding his value and achievements more than anyone else.  She reminds him of his capabilities and helps him maintain his self-confidence.  She is proud of her husband, not out of duty, but as an expression of sincere admiration for the man with whom she has chosen to share her life.


Figuratively speaking, each of us has a Love Bank.  It contains different accounts, one for each person we know.  Each person either makes deposits or withdrawals whenever we interact with them.  Pleasurable interactions cause deposits and painful interactions cause withdrawals.

There are different levels of deposit and withdrawals depending on the strength of the interaction.  As accounts become more full or more empty, or relationship with that individual is affected.  In marriage, unlike with finances, unless there are concrete deposits being made, the accounts begin to dry up.  

Men must get through their heads this vital idea: Women find affection important in its own right.    They love the feeling that accompanies both the bestowal and the reception of affection, but it has nothing to do with sex.  Most of the affection they give and receive is not intended to be sexual.  You might better compare it to the emotion they exchange with their children or pets.

All of this confuses the typical male.  He sees showing affection as part of sexual foreplay, and he is normally aroused in a flash.  In other cases men simply want to skip the affection business; they are aroused already.

If you look at the animal world, you will see many cases of how the males provides attention when they are wanting to mate.  To them, attention is simply a means to achieve their aim of reproduction.  To the females, without attention they don't even begin to consider the animal as a prospective mate.  If you understand that your mind is hard-wired to a degree to understand affection from the male or female perspective and you understand the other's perspective, you can begin to appreciate their position and why they do what they do (or don't do what they're not doing).

Men are looking for sex, women are looking for affection.  Men often fail to see the irony in want sex, but refusing to give affection.  It would be ironic if it weren't so pathetic.

Women, almost universally, love to receive flowers, most men could care less if they receive them.  For women, however, flowers send a powerful message of love and concern.

The difference I notice in my own wife that sending flowers has is a complete mystery to me.  I don't love her any more or less when I send her flowers or when I don't, but her feelings about me change dramatically when I send her flowers or some other small token of my affection.

Affection is so important for women that they become confused when their husbands don't respond in kind.  For example, a wife may call her husband at work, just to talk.  She would love to receive such a call and is sure he feels the same.  She often feels disappointed when he cuts it short because, "I've got all this stuff to finish by five o'clock."  It doesn't mean the husband doesn't love her; he simply has different priorities because of a different set of basic needs.

Explain to your wife that you love her very much, but often fail to express your deep love and care appropriately.  Ask her to help you learn to express your love in ways that she most appreciates.  She may initially feel that affection should come naturally with love.  You must convince her that you do love her, but that affection simply comes more naturally to women than to men.

  • Ways to show affection to your wife:
    • Hug and kiss your wife often.
    • Hold her hand when you're out walking.
    • Cuddle her when you get into bed and in the morning.
    • Remember to buy her gifts or cards on all special occasions (birthday, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, anniversaries)
    • Buy her gifts that are sentimental not practical.
    • Come give her a hug and kiss first thing when you see her at the end of the day.
    • Help with supper and the dishes.
    • Help with the kids.

The First Thing He Can't Do Without: Sexual Fulfillment

The typical wife doesn't understand her husband's deep need for sex any more than the typical husband understands his wife's deep need for affection.  If both sides want to listen and change, a couple may solve this problem without much difficulty.

It does wonders for a wife to grasp just how special a man finds sex.  He isn't "pawwing and grabbing" at her because he has turned into a lusting monster.  He is pawing and grabbing because he needs something -- very badly.  Many men tell me they wish their sex drive weren't so strong.  As one thirty-two-year0old executive put it, "I feel like a fool -- like I'm begging her or even raping her, but I can't help it.  I need to make love!"

A man cannot achieve sexual fulfillment in his marriage unless his wife is sexually fulfilled as well.  While I have maintained that men need sex more than women, unless a woman joins her husband in the sexual experience, his need for sex remains unmet.  Therefore a woman does her husband no favors by sacrificing her body to her sexual advances.  He can feel sexually satisfied only when she joins him in the experience of lovemaking.

How to Achieve Sexual Compatibility

  1. Overcome your sexual ignorance.  A husband and wife must each understand their own sexuality and their own sexual responses.
  2. Communicate your sexual understanding to each other.  A husband and wife must learn how to share what they have learned about their own sexual responses, so that they can each achieve sexual pleasure and fulfillment together.

Create an online form that compares sexual turn-ons and disgusts and provides feedback for comparison of issues and warns to avoid areas of turn-offs.

Conversation - She needs him to talk to her.  

If your job takes you out of town, call home.  If you don't talk while you're away, you may find that she takes a while to warm up to you when you come home because she's lost some connection due to time apart.  While you may have been thinking about coming home and having sex, she's drifted away due to lack of communication.

Make time every week to talk and listen to your wife.

Once we're married, we stop taking time to spend together alone.  We know better, but we all tend to take our spouses for granted.

Set aside 15 hours a week where you are focused on your wife.  This may include any type of activity that you do together where you are connected (movie theatres don't count, nor do activities with friends or kids along).  The number one activity on most women's list is going out for dinner or a coffee.  The sex that results from the time talking and connecting can count to the 15 hours, but you can't begin with sex.

Activities like taking a walk, going to a restaurant, boating, golfing (if she enjoys it), going to the beach -things of that nature are what to focus on.  Any recreation activity that requires intense concentration or so much exercise that conversation becomes difficult does not qualify.

DON'T brush off this need for women to be connected if you want your sex life to explode with energy and enthusiasm!

Some husbands mistakenly believe that heir wives can fulfill this need with friends and family.  What women need is their husband.  When she asks to talk, don't say, "What would you like to talk about."  Ask instead about how her week was or what she is dreaming of accomplishing next.  She doesn't want to talk about something in particular, she simply wants to connect with her husband.

Christian seminars are different from other seminars.  You have a safe supportive environment where people can admit what they've been doing and ask for help, support & accountability in front of people they know will love them.

10 Conversation Tips For Men

  1. A woman has a profound need to engage in conversation about her concerns and interests with someone who - in her perception - cares deeply about her and for her.
  2. Men, if your job keeps you away from home overnight or for days on end, thing about changing jobs.  If you cannot, find ways to restore the intimacy of your marriage each time you return from an absence, so that your wife can begin to feel comfortable with you again.  (If your wife does most of the traveling, the same principle applies.)
  3. Get into the habit of spending fifteen hours each week alone with your spouse giving each other undivided attention.  Spend much of that time in natural, but essential, conversation.
  4. Remember most women fall in love with men who have set aside time to exchange conversation and affection with them.  They stay in love with men who continue to meet those needs.
  5. Financial considerations should not interfere with time for conversation.  If you don't have the time to be alone to talk, your priorities are not arranged correctly.
  6. Never use conversation as a form of punishment (ridicule, name calling, swearing, or sarcasm).  Conversation should be constructive, not destructive.
  7. Never use conversation to force your spouse to agree with your way of thinking.  Respect your spouse's feelings and opinions, especially when yours are different.
  8. Never use conversation to remind each other of past mistakes. Avoid dwelling on present mistakes as well.
  9. Develop interests in each other's favorite topics of conversation.
  10. Learn to balance your conversation.  Avoid interrupting each other and try to give each other the same amount of time to talk.

 Money or a career serves a marriage; a marriage should never serve money or career.  In many of the failed marriages I have observed, the couple abandoned their relationship to build a fortune.  In the end they had a fortune at the expense of their marriage.

Recreational Companionship - He wants a wife he can hang out with.

Women may need conversation, men simply want a buddy to do stuff with.   There dream is to have a wife that is just as interested in their activities as they are (usually without the need to have a meaningful conversation and the same time).  Men want a wife who will go along with them and be interested in their activities.  

What usually happens, is that instead of making steady deposits into each other's Love Banks by having fun together, couples with separate recreational interest miss a golden opportunity.  They often spend some of their most enjoyable moments in the company of someone else, with the distinct possibility of building a Love Bank account with a member of the opposite sex.  Since everyone has a Love Bank, it stands to reason that the person who you share your most enjoyable moments with will build the largest account.  If you want a fulfilling marriage, that person must be your spouse.

If you aren't doing things together, each of you sit down and write out a list of all the things you enjoy doing.  Swap lists and circle all the things that you're interested in that your partner has written down.  Write down a new list of all the things you both enjoy and begin doing them on a weekly basis.  Begin including these things and you may find a transition from your husband doing only things that interest him, to enjoying more things you can do together.

When either of you get invited to an activity that tends to separate you, pass it by.  Begin filling your life with things that bring you together and keep you together.  Men, you may have to give up one activity for another, but you have to ask yourself, "What is my priority, fun for today or a fulfilling life with my wife long-term?"

Men Want An Attractive Wife

When they say they want an attractive wife, they mean they want the most attractive you.  Attractive is made, not born.  Attractiveness is what you do with what you have.  You dishonor yourself and your husband by not looking after your body and the way you dress.  If you suffer from a lack of self-worth, begin the process of developing yourself into the type of person you feel you can love so that you can be the type of person your husband will love.

She Needs Security, Financial Security

When I counsel families with financial problems, it usually takes about six months for them to determine their correct budget.  They tend to start with a want budget, more than a need budget.  They work at discovering and eliminating expenses that do not contribute to their sense of well-being.  As they eliminate these unnecessary items, they learn that they have spent certain portions of their income more out of habit than out of necessity.  Eventually they create a budget that fits their income and their personal needs.

Budgeting takes discipline - more discipline than many couples possess.  Sometimes they need help from a financial advisor.  As couples gain control, they learn that they have more money, not by earning more, but by spending less.  Once they understand the difference between a want budget and a need budget, the reduction in standard of living does not cause the resentment they anticipated.  Respect for each other is restored without earning a penny more.

Household Responsibilities

List all the duties and decide who is responsible for what.  Fair is what you both think is fair.  Work until you both feel the arrangement is fair.


Parenting takes time - lots of time.

Parenting takes training - Lots of training.

Parenting takes consistency - continual consistency.

Parenting takes commitment - ongoing commitment.

The best husband is a good father.

He Needs A Wife To Admire Him

Admiration is a great motivator for most men.  When a woman tells a man she thinks he's wonderful, that inspires him to achieve more.  He sees himself as capable of handling new responsibilities and perfecting skills far above those of his present level.  That inspiration helps him prepare for the responsibilities of life.

While criticism causes men to become defensive, admiration energizes and motivates them.  A man expects - and needs - his wife to be his most enthusiastic fan.  He draws confidence from her support and can usually achieve far more with her encouragement.

Never fake your admiration.  By simply saying flattering words to your husband, you can do more harm than good.  To have any value, praise must genuinely reflect your feelings.  You need to find something, anything, to begin with that you genuinely feel and build on that as he begins to work harder.

Identify characteristics that build or destroy your admiration:



  • Holds my hand when we're out.
  • Hugs me when he comes home from work.
  • Sends me surprise cards and flowers.
  • Listens to me talk about my day.
  • Works hard to provide for the household.
  • Is honest.
  • Communicates openly so I can trust him.


  • Avoids me when there's a problem.
  • Denies that there is anything bothering him.
  • Doesn't spend much time with the family.
  • Leaves the discipline up to me.
  • Never attends children's activities or PTA meeting.

The husband must begin to meet his wife's need for commitment and affection before she will be able to admire him completely.  Problem's with couples seem to be part of a never-ending downward spiral.  One or both of you has to make the commitment to work on turning it around into an upward spiral and keep working on it even when you hit the rough spots again.

Make a trade:

It is easier (but not imperative) to resolve a marital problem when both the husband and wife improve their ability to care for each other.  You'll feel encouraged knowing you're not the only one who is working on making changes and that your spouse has taken some action too.

There may be a greater burden on one spouse than the other, but that does not mean that one has to work and the other simply waits for things to improve.  Husbands often have a greater number of things to work on, but they find it much more motivating if they have a partner that is willing to do their part, even if it isn't "fair".

You can't change traits, you CAN change habits.

  1. Define the habit you want to create.
  2. Plan the strategy you will use to develop that habit.
  3. Follow the strategy.
  4. Evaluate the strategy's effectiveness and modify it if it's not working well.

Nice isn't a habit, it's a trait.  Smile more often and criticize less are habits.  Thin is a trait, eating is a habit.

As you forget about traits and focus on habits behavior can change.  Often, when we complain about our spouses, we look at their traits and not their habits.  Yet habits are usually what we really mean and we can do something about them.  So your easiest solution will be to define your grievances in terns of habits - then you'll both have something you can measure and evaluate.

But be warned: While your spouse learns a habit, his attitude may not seem consistent with the new behavior.  He may not feel "right" about the change.  In most cases, however, once he develops the habit thoroughly, his attitude will begin to conform to the habit, and you'll have what you really wanted in the first place.

Give it time.

Often new habits can take months to take hold.  Give it time, 3 - 6 months.

Prepare for setbacks.

Any new habit is difficult.  First efforts are almost always disappointing.  The original plan may need to be revised several times before success is achieved.  You'll need patience and optimism in your efforts to improve each other's habits.  You'll find that progress can make your marriage so much better that you'll begin to feel the admiration developing.

Don't worry that he'll stop if you tell him he's doing great.

Sometimes a woman fears expressing praise too soon, because her husband might stop working on behavior that has not yet become habitual.  Communicate praise as soon as you feel even a little admiration - not as a reward for change, but as unconditional appreciation.


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