"His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

What marriage resources have been helpful or encouraging to you?
Runningwithdog
Double
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:18 am

"His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby Runningwithdog » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:22 am

Read the intro to His Needs, Her Needs. Read a few reviews as well; some of the comments didn't line up too well with the introduction.

One of the big criticisms seemed to center around him assigning half of the needs to men and half of them to women - which he does do. Yet in the introduction he stated that this was not meant to be universal, rather in his studies women on average ranked 5 of the needs higher and men on average ranked a different 5 higher. So he indicated everyone is unique and a particular person may rank highest the needs assigned to the other gender - still for purposes of writing the book he was using the "average" man and the "average" woman as that has the highest statistical application. He includes a questionnaire (I have not taken) in the book to help an individual determine which needs apply most to them.

So I'm not sure if the rest of the book has that same openness or if things get presented as pretty absolute between men and women. Any input from someone who read it?

The other main criticism I saw was summed up in a comment that "he claims to write from a Christian worldview but doesn't cite scripture". That alone really doesn't tell me much as you certainly can write a book, or a song, or a poem for that matter, that is consistent with scriptural teaching and principles (has a Christian worldview) without ever referencing scripture. Or, it could be the book is not written consistent with scripture. Again, any thoughts from someone who read it?

I have a few other things to read before I might get to this one - so I'm trying to figure out if it is worth the time in a couple of months. Or if I should pass.

User avatar
C_Brown
Fell out of ...
Posts: 1331
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:08 am
Date of your marriage (past or future): August 17th, 1984
Gender: Male

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby C_Brown » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:15 am

It's been a long, long time since I ready it, but I remember I liked it and so did my wife. It was the first thing I ever found that accurately expressed my need for sexual fulfillment. I don't recall finding anything there that put me off or seemed wrong to my mind. I still have our copy of it.
So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing -- Yvaine (in the movie Stardust)

User avatar
Leah
Under the stars
Posts: 16013
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:42 pm
Date of your marriage (past or future): November 3rd, 1979
Gender: Female
Location: The Volunteer State

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby Leah » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:26 am

Um, no. It's the same warmed over worldly thinking, except he arrives at conclusions based on conference attendee polling.
Leah

“I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”--C.S. Lewis


TMB Copyright and Fair Use

User avatar
Snuggle Muffin
King bed
Posts: 289
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2004 6:29 pm
Date of your marriage (past or future): January 1st, 2002
Gender: Male

Re:

Postby Snuggle Muffin » Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:27 pm

If we take the book as "here's how a large slice of each gender's population tended to feel, think and behave at the time this research covers, for those particular generations, in America" then fine. Even the author says they aren't trying to universalize this stuff.

The problem is spiritualizing or otherwise universalizing these differences by thinking along these lines:

- "Men/women are like so, therefore God must have made them that way."

- "Men/women are like so, therfore the differences must be biologically hardwired."

Those conclusions simply don't necessarily follow from the data; you'd need a whole lot more info to make those conclusions.

Sorting out cultural conditioning from biological predisposition from God's intention and design requires a lot more info and careful thought than just observing how some people tend to feel and behave in a particular time and place.

(I'm not saying there aren't or can't be universal gender differences that are designed by God; I'm saying you can't logically 'get there from here' with the info in His Needs Her Needs).
"Rejoice in the wife of your youth... may you be forever captivated by her love!"
Prov 5.15-20
"I wanna be rich in memories not money / Our love is our inheritance, honey"
Jon Foreman, "Inheritance"

User avatar
IM_a_Farmwife
King bed
Posts: 684
Joined: Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:03 pm
Date of your marriage (past or future): September 24th, 1988
Gender: Female
Location: We live in the wide open spaces of the beautiful Minnesota River Valley.

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby IM_a_Farmwife » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:21 pm

Okay, I have a hard copy on my kitchen table. The significance of it is, I bought the book when I was first married 28 yrs ago. Long story but I wasn't following the Lord at that time. I had just come out of two separate relationships (3 yrs each for a total of 6 yrs). I was really confused about men...cheating men. Why do they feel the need to cheat? Both of my previous boyfriends felt the need to cheat. How could I keep my Farmer from roaming? I did not grow up with brothers so the male species was foreign to me. I was told that men were wired differently. How? I wanted to know. This book helped me out as a newlywed. I loved the subtitle, "Building an Affair-Proof Marriage." That sold me on the book.

Runningwithdog
Double
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:18 am

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby Runningwithdog » Thu Jul 07, 2016 7:13 am

Thanks all. Appreciate the thoughtful responses. I'll probably start the book later and see if it is worthwhile. I'm not trying to fix anything broken or get my wife to participate. More after 27 years of marriage, I realize there is a tendency to see things the same way - and in the spirit of continuous improvement it can be good for me to specifically try to see things from a different perspective and see if something applies.

Snuggle muffin - great point on not taking observations and jumping to a cause/effect conclusion. Where I am it's good that I'm more concerned about "what" and not so much "why" in this area.

Farmwife - I would think keeping him on a large plot of land, where he has to work 16 hours a day, and everyone else is far away would keep him from having the opportunity to cheat? :P Just kidding. I appreciate the life work he has chosen. Not easy, always risk, can be rewarding in many ways, and generally unappreciated by many. Glad there are farmers out there. (I worked summers as a kid/teenager for a farmer.)

User avatar
poetess
Under the stars
Posts: 3131
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:47 am
Date of your marriage (past or future): October 8th, 2011
Gender: Female

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby poetess » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:47 am

I got it as a wedding gift and read it when I was engaged. If I'd taken other reading material with me on the trip I took it on, I probably wouldn't have finished it. My peeve was that everything is presented as a "need" and with the idea "You/your spouse needs this thing, you need it from your spouse, and if you don't get it, you'll end up committing adultery and it will be your spouse's fault." The same refrain in every chapter, complete with examples from real life for every unmet "need." (This man didn't snuggle with his wife often enough, so since that was a "need" of course she had to find someone else to snuggle with, and of course she and the other man ended up having sex, because of course we aren't really morally responsible to keep our vows unless our spouse does everything we consider a need.)

To me it was poison. Yeah, it's good to know that my husband has biological sexual needs, and it's good to know that it is proper as his wife to respect him, and it is good to know that a home functions best when a wife offers nutritional meals, and it's good to know a bit about the way he is wired and what is especially significant to him, and so forth. But by the time anything turns into "this is a need, and meet it or else," we're on dangerous ground. First off, threats aren't a good way to motivate. But also, if nothing else, just as I can see "Oh, my husband has this need, and I'm the right one to meet it," I can see "Oh, I have this need myself, and my husband isn't meeting it, and therefore if a man comes along offering to meet that need (even if my husband is fully meeting my other four main needs), then I can't help myself' and it will be my husband's fault, not mine."

Following what Scripture says about husbands and wives, and determining to be goodwilled toward your mate (assuming that he/she has kind motives toward you unless you have actual evidence to the contrary), and communicating with your spouse, go far deeper than this contrived list of "excuses people gave for committing adultery and accusing their spouses." Yes, we can help a spouse feel loved and desired. But I think this book's approach is poisonous.
Marriage--what a wonderful image of Christ's love for His bride!

Runningwithdog
Double
Posts: 94
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:18 am

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby Runningwithdog » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:56 am

Thank you poetess. Appreciate very much the clear explanation of why the book concerns you!

jct61kt69
Twin size
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 3:45 am
Date of your marriage (past or future): June 29th, 1996
Gender: Male

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby jct61kt69 » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:50 am

I love this book and use it in pre-wedding counseling and in marriage counseling. Harley falls guilty to some of the usual faults in writing these types of books, the biggest one being that you can't write a help book where you are constantly showing the shortcomings of what you are selling. So you take the approach that this is the way it is, while in fact in practice you give/take, emphasize/deemphasize, etc. as fits the current situation.

That said, here are several reasons I like the book and use.

1. His reading suggestion & the conversation it sparks: He suggests that the couple both read from the same book and use different color highlighters to note what stands out to them... not to preach or hammer the other spouse, but what seems significant. Reading a book that someone else has marked & highlighted gives insight into them & helps with discussion. The benefit I see in reading & using this book is the conversations started and the processing that comes after. The engaged couples I have walked through the book have said the book was helpful. The conversations give the 3 of us a chance to use the YMMV disclaimer. The insight gained from seeing what each other marked seemed to be helpful as well.

2. Even those who don't fall in his categories can find something to apply: He acknowledges that there are more than just the 10 needs presented in the book, but these top the list, and that not all men have the same 5/women have the same 5, but that this is the way it generally falls. Again with the YMMV disclaimer, the spouses to be can say this is really big for me, and the other spouse has an "objective 3rd party view" to learn from rather than broken record arguments that go nowhere.

3. 3rd party objective view: gives some legitimacy to "needs" rather than just you're weird, or that's not important. In the pairing of chapters, it shows how some of these needs can seem to run counter to each other.

I have never read "Getting the Love You Want" by Harville Hendrix, but I would be interested to see the similarities/differences between these 2. You may like that as a better option.

Romance Man
Newbie
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 5:07 pm
Date of your marriage (past or future): April 27th, 1974
Gender: Male

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby Romance Man » Sat Sep 03, 2016 11:21 am

This is a good book to review every year or so. Dr. Harley has a "test" online which you can download and discuss your present needs.

We have seen folks change their "needs" over time. It also opens a great portal for dialogue between husband and wife.

ghostrider
King bed
Posts: 444
Joined: Wed May 27, 2015 12:29 pm
Date of your marriage (past or future): October 30th, 2000
Gender: Male

Re: "His Needs, Her Needs" William Harley - any comments?

Postby ghostrider » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:26 pm

I read it about 16 months ago and that was when our marriage really started to turn around. I liked it for several reasons (heavily paraphrasing concepts here):

1. it was NOT just another "blindly sacrifice everything for your wife and take what she gives you with a smile on your face" seminar, A.K.A. -be a better husband, be a better dad, be a better leader, do better, work harder, and by the way everything that goes wrong is your fault as the husband...

I'd never finished another marriage book, because previously that was the theme I had always expected from them, especially when they were written from a fundamentalist perspective - which we had moved away from by that time.

2. It illustrated for me the needs my wife had, and gave me ways to meet them - to learn to hear her heart, to let her express her feelings and not tell her what to feel (I also learned more about that from Harley's other book - Lovebusters). To schedule "fun" dates with DW since everything doesn't have to be so serious all the time. It gave us permission to focus on being a couple again instead of being constantly distracted by the "urgent" needs of the children - and to start working thru our issues as a couple and individually.

3. It gave me analogies for my need for sex - an in (assuming a healthy relationship) a wife wouldn't typically feel used or offended if her DH loved her cooking and wanted her to cook more often. Instead she would probably take it as a compliment. It's ok to look at sex the same way.

4. I didn't get hung up on which needs were "M" vs "F". We just did the questionnaire and learned more about each other. I have some of the "F" needs. Also, my needs today aren't totally the same as they were 15 years ago.

But the biggest takeaway from that section was there were certain needs - sexual fulfillment, intimate communications of feelings, and a couple others where the H and W should be the only ones fulfilling those needs for their spouse, while other needs such as keeping the house clean, driving the kids to school, etc could potentially be outsourced without threatening the relationship.

5. His advice to spend time doing the things that bring you the most joy with your spouse. And spend lots of time with your spouse. Dr H didn't even travel overnight w/o his wife. Granted his advice can sound pretty extreme - he isn't big on spending nights out "with the girls" or " with my buddies" or on having individual hobbies (with the exception being hobbies that involve your kids, since parenting is a primary need for a marriage). But we have tried living the opposite and it didn't give us good results. "Space" in a marriage usually isn't going to help a marriage (unless its already so broken it needs to be ended/separated, such as cases of abuse).

We still don't do "everything" together, but we have been a lot more intentional about our marriage and time spent together, and we have had the best year+ of our married life.

6. His two books gave us a way to consider each other's feelings when making decisions - its not right to do something for myself at the expense of my spouse, and his solution is creative brainstorming of alternatives until both H and W are in enthusiastic agreement. It got us away from the binary teachings of "he's the boss and she has to submit" or "if mama's not happy no one is happy".


Return to “Marriage Books, Resources, Sites”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users