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His Needs, Her Needs (Part 1) - Affection, Conversation

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I. This outline is based largely on Willard Harley's book His Needs, Her Needs.
1. In order to have a successful and happy marriage, a husband and wife must meet each others needs.
2. The importance of recognizing each other's needs in marriage cannot be overemphasized.

II. The Love Bank
1. Harley uses the term Love Bank to refer to an emotional "bank account" that husbands and wives have with each other.
2. When we do an act of love, we deposit currency in our spouse's Love Bank.
3. When we neglect to do an act of love, or we do a hurtful act, we debit currency from our spouse's Love Bank.
4. This study will teach you how to make and maintain deposits in your husband's or wife's Love Bank.

III. Men and women each have different emotional and physical needs in marriage.
1. These needs are very real, which are why they are called needs not desires.
2. Women's primary needs are:
A. Affection
B. Conversation
C. Honesty and openness
D. Financial support
E. Family commitment
3. Men's primary needs are:
A. Sexual fulfillment
B. Recreational companionship
C. An attractive wife
D. Domestic support
E. Admiration
4. When any of these needs are not being met by one's husband or a wife, he or she is susceptible to becoming attracted to another man or woman who is meeting those needs and adultery can be the outcome.
5. It takes two to tango -- adultery rarely, if ever, happens to someone who is meeting all of their spouse's needs for love.

IV. Women's primary needs
1. Affection
A. The Bible teaches that men are supposed to show affection to their wives.
i. Men are to love their wives, which includes showing them great affection (Eph 5:25, 28).
a. Love v. - 1. a. trans. With personal obj. or one capable of personification: To bear love to; to entertain a great affection or regard for; to hold dear.
b. Affection n. - 6. a. Good disposition towards, goodwill, kind feeling, love, fondness, loving attachment.
ii. Men are to cherish their wives (Eph 5:29).
a. Cherish v. - 1. trans. To hold dear, treat with tenderness and affection; to make much of. b. To make too much of, pamper, pet. c. To caress, fondle; to hug; to stroke or pat endearingly.
b. Caress v. - 1. trans. To treat affectionately or blandishingly, to touch, stroke, or pat endearingly; to fondle.
B. Affection is essential for women.
i. "To most women affection symbolizes security, protection, comfort, and approval, vitally important commodities in their eyes. When a husband shows his wife affection, he sends the following messages:
• I'll take care of you and protect you. You are important to me, and I don't want anything to happen to you.
• I'm concerned about the problems you face, and I am with you.
• I think you've done a good job, and I'm so proud of you.
A hug can say any and all of the above. Men need to understand how strongly women need these affirmations. For the typical wife, there can hardly be enough of them." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 32-33)

ii. Ways to show your wife affection:
a. Hugs
b. Holding hands
c. Cards and notes
d. Flowers
e. Taking her out for dinner
f. Opening doors (car, house, restaurant)
g. Walks
h. Back rubs
i. Phone calls
j. Conversations with thoughtful and loving expressions
iii. "From a woman's point of view, affection is the essential cement of her relationship with a man. Without it, a woman probably feels alienated from her mate. With it she becomes tightly bonded to him while he adds units to his Love Bank account." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 33)
C. For women, affection has little to nothing to do with sex.
i. "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." (emphasis in the original) (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 34)
ii. "A man who growls, "I'm not the affectionate type," while reaching for his wife's body to satisfy his desires for sex, is like a salesman who tries to close a deal by saying, "I'm not the friendly type -- sign here, you turkey. I've got another appointment waiting." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 34)
D. Affection doesn't come naturally to a lot of men.
i. A man's wife will likely need to help him learn how to show affection.
ii. This can be done by:
a. Suggesting to him that she would love to get a card or note from him.
b. Reaching for his hand when walking in public.
c. Telling him what kind of things make her feel loved.
iii. Before we were married, my wife gave me hints about what made her feel loved, such as sending her morning greeting messages, calling her by special names, and asking her questions.
iv. These things seemed a bit silly to me, but I learned to do them because they made her feel loved.

E. Men should learn to give affection by making a habit of it.
i. "Here are a few habits that go a long way toward helping you become an affectionate husband:
• Hug and kiss your wife every morning while you are still in bed.
• Tell her that you love her while you're having breakfast together.
• Kiss her before you leave for work.
• Call her during the day to see how she is doing.
• Bring her flowers once in a while as a surprise (be sure to include a card that expresses your love for her).
• Gifts for special occasions (birthday, anniversary...) should be sentimental, not practical. Learn how to shop for a woman.
• After work, call her before you leave for home, so that she can know when to expect you.
• When you arrive home from work, give her a hug and kiss and spend a few minutes talking to her about how her day went.
• Help with the dishes, after dinner.
• Hug and kiss her every night, before you both go to sleep." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 36-37)

2. Conversation
A. The Bible teaches that men are supposed to dwell with their wives according to knowledge (1Pe 3:7).
i. This means that men need to know their wives.
ii. This means that men need to communicate with their wives by conversation.
B. A good marriage should be a friendship.
i. To have a good friendship requires being friendly (Pro 18:24).
ii. Being friendly requires getting to know someone through conversation.
C. Women have a propensity to talk a lot, which has the potential to get them into trouble (1Ti 5:13).
i. God's remedy for this is marriage (1Ti 5:14).
ii. Without ample opportunity to wander around and chat a lot, a wife needs to talk to her husband to get it out of her system.
iii. It is therefore important that a husband set aside time for quality conversation with his wife.

D. Women have a deep need to talk.
i. "Men do not seem to have as great a need for conversation with their wives as women do with their husbands. Women, on the other hand, seem to enjoy conversation for it's own sake. Many women will spend hours with each other on the telephone, while men rarely call each other just to chat and be brought up-to-date. Meetings and luncheons and other gatherings where the entire purpose seems to be talking about their personal concerns bring women much pleasure. When men gather in conclaves, they tend to talk about practical matters, like fixing their cars, the best place to fish, or who holds first place in the sport of that season. They also like to exchange jokes and anecdotes. But they tend to not talk about themselves or their feelings." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 59)
ii. "This indicates that conversation that satisfies a woman's need must focus on the events of her day, people she may have encountered, and -- most of all -- how she feels about them. She wants verbal attention, but she willingly gives the same attention to her husband and enjoys some conversation in which the man talks only about himself and what he has done.

"Most important, a woman wants to be with someone who -- in her perception -- cares deeply about her and for her. When she perceives this kind of caring, she feels close to the person with whom she talks. In the female psyche, conversation blends with affection to help the woman feel united with the other person. She feels bonded to that person as long as the affection and conversations continue on a daily basis." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 60)
E. It takes time to communicate
i. Harley recommends that husbands give their wives fifteen hours per week of undivided attention.
a. If this seems like a lot, just think about how much time you spent talking with your wife when you were dating.
b. If that's what it took to get her to fall in love with you, then that's likely what it will take to keep her in love with you.
c. Why would you stop this after the wedding?
d. Any activity where the couple can focus primarily on each other, such as meals where children are not a distraction, walks, going to a restaurant, golfing, and things of that nature qualify towards the fifteen hours of undivided attention.
F. Don't do the "bait and switch" when it comes to communicating with your wife.
i. "During courtship women fall in love as a result of the time they spend exchanging conversation and affection. If a couple continues to engage in the activities that brought them together in the first place, their marriage will tend to be a good one. When two people get married, each partner has a right to expect the same loving care and attention that prevailed during courtship to continue after the wedding." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 62)
ii. "Every husband and wife need to sit down and meditate on this thought: My partner married me because she or he thought the pleasing things I was doing during our courtship would continue for the rest of our lives. Am I holding up my end of this bargain?" (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 62)
iii. "The man who takes time to talk to a woman will have an inside track to her heart." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 62)
G. Choose to pursue common interests which will draw you together and make conversation natural.
i. "1. I have my sphere of interests, and my spouse has hers. If these do not overlap, we can only grow farther and farther apart.

2. Because there are only so many hours in the day and week, I have to choose: I can pursue interests that we share, or I can pursue interests we do not share. If I do the latter, we will grow apart. If I do the former, we will grow together.

3. As I gain interests that are my spouse's interests we have much more to talk about. Conversation becomes easier and more interesting. I can meet her need for conversation with less and less effort. It becomes natural and spontaneous." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 66-67)

ii. "A marriage that sees husband and wife holding widely divergent interests may survive, but I have seen few that flourish under such circumstances." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 67)
H. Tips for maintaining good conversation.
i. "6. 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. ...

10. Develop interest in each other's favorite topics of conversation.

11. Learn to balance your conversation. Avoid interrupting each other and try to give each other the same amount of time to talk.

12. Use your conversation to inform, investigate, and understand each other." (Willard F. Harley, Jr., His Needs, Her Needs, p. 72-73)
ii. The time that you put into learning how to communicate with your wife will pay dividends in your marriage.