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His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  19,282 ratings  ·  720 reviews
Marriage works only when each spouse takes the time to consider the other's needs and strives to meet them. In His Needs, Her Needs, Willard Harley identifies the ten most vital needs of men and women and shows husbands and wives how to satisfy those needs in their spouses. He provides guidance for becoming irresistible to your spouse and for loving more creatively and sen ...more
Hardcover, 15th Anniversary Edition, 224 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published June 1986)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  19,282 ratings  ·  720 reviews


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Christiandude
Apr 23, 2011 rated it did not like it
Although the author purports to be Christian, I have a hard time taking that seriously given the content of the book.

To be fair, I believe the needs tests for spouses included in the book are of value.

Harley takes a very shallow, worldly approach to marriage. In my opinion, he does not show any evidence of writing from a Christian perspective. He seems to almost condone adultery, if the innocent spouse wasn't meeting the "needs" of the guilty party. Similarly, he appears to place blame which sho
...more
April Lyn
Sep 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone - married, divorced, or single
I thought people might have been exaggerating when they claimed this was the best marriage book they'd ever read, but this book was really something. The author's insights are fantastic - for married, divorced, and single people alike. I thought of about five people I'd like to lend it to. I think everyone could benefit from reading it. The appendices were also very helpful.

If you plan on reading this book, start now! I put it off for a couple years because I have SO many books on my shelf, but
...more
Justin Tapp
Feb 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: marriage
My wife and I listened to this book together on a long car ride, where we could pause and discuss when prompted. This is the worst book on marriage that I have read, there are a host of others I would recommend above it. While Harley claims to write from a Christian worldview, the Gospel and the meaning of marriage is completely absent from this book. That, alone, makes it ineffectual and makes me sad that it's held up by so many Christians. If you have an incorrect view of what marriage represe ...more
Jana Allen
Feb 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
I liked the overall point this book made. Everyone has emotional needs, and we should try to meet the needs of our spouse.

The problem I have with this book is that I felt the author justifies (especially men) going and having an affair because their needs were not being met. He makes no exceptions for sicknesses, going back to school, or just hard times. I felt he was especially hard on women saying they need to look just like their husbands want (hair style, perfect makeup, ideal weight, clothi
...more
Hoku Ho
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any married couple, but especially those in need of help.
This book the cornerstone of my marriage. My husband and I read it early on and I really feel that it was the secret to our success and smooth sailing through the rough patches and growing pains we faced in our first few years. It helps couples put their fingers on their own needs and the needs of their spouses, and gives you a common language and understanding to draw from, which vastly improves your ability to communicate about these important issues.
The sub-text of the title of this book is "
...more
Andrea
May 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I changed this from 3 stars to 2 stars after thinking about it overnight. First of all, this book is obviously written by a man! Someone who has never given birth or stayed at home full time with babies/toddlers/preschoolers.

Secondly, the book definitely uses fear and negativity throughout the chapters. I understand that probably every family that deals with a cheating spouse never thought it would happen to them, but I don't think that it is as common as the author makes it out to be, and even
...more
Tim
Jul 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book is terrible. Unlike many good marriage books out there that encourage you to look beyond your selfishness, this book plunges you into selfish behavior. This is NOT a Christian book, it is purely secular with no Biblical basis. If you focus on your unmet marriage needs, trust me your marriage is not going to get better.
In full disclosure, I read this book 5 years ago and thought it correct at the time. It nearly ended my marriage as I basically came to the place that my marriage could n
...more
Katie Mccarthy
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My husband and I read this before we married and at each anniversary we go back over how we are each doing with the needs. At least for us, this book has been a God-send.
Charmin
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: relationship
Highlights:
1. Men tend to try to meet needs that they would value and women do the same. But the needs of men and women are often very different and by wasting effort trying to meet the wrong needs, a couple fails to make each other happy.

2. When a spouse lacks fulfillment of any of the basic needs, it creates a thirst that must be quenched.

3. An affair usually begins as a friendship. If any of a spouse’s five basic emotional needs go unmet, that spouse becomes vulnerable to the temptation of an
...more
Lori Kellogg
Jun 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
Bunch of bunk. Don't waste your time. If a spouse is a cheater, they are a cheater. If they are not a cheater, it doesn't matter what the other spouse does or does not do, they won't cheat. This books tries to make people feel guilty if they have a cheating spouse, like they could have done something better/different to prevent it. Take a page from the newspaper...Arnold, Tiger, Brad Pitt, Weiner...all cheated on beautiful, talented, intelligent wives.
Kristin Call
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
brilliant book. Will be buying this one to read every christmas break. It's a great way to start a fresh year and I would do well to be reminded of the concepts in here frequently.
Keith
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People willing to work to improve their marriage.
Recommended to Keith by: Carol Kendall
Shelves: marriage
This book is largely about preventing or recovering from an affair. Lest you say that this doesn't apply to "me", he points out that a person (even a person with solid religious belief, and firm moral conviction) may be tempted into an affair, seduced by a "relationship built upon fantasy, not reality." In addition, by meeting the needs of your spouse, and by having your needs met, you will transform your marriage into something wonderful. It is also well written. Now, on to the basics of the bo ...more
Katie Hoffman
Nov 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Some family member gave this to us as a wedding present and I eventually got around to reading it, mostly because I like reading about interpersonal communication and relationships (ie, Gottman). At the beginning, I thought the author had some credibility and somewhat (simple) decent advice but my view changed with each chapter. In sum, the advice centers on gender stereotyping (a whole chapter on all the things women should do to be physically attractive, including tips on getting professional ...more
Jennifer
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great relationship book! While some of the men's needs made me angry and seemed downright sexist, just because I didn't like them didn't mean that they weren't accurate. I think a lot of female reviewers' problems with the book are that the author tells it like it is instead of how women wish it were or think it should be. That being said, every individual has to choose how far they are willing to go to accomodate their spouse's needs without compromising who they are.

The bottom line is, the boo
...more
Brenna Saunders
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I gave this book five stars not because it's perfect, but because it has some great solid advice that I believe has put not just my marriage but my worldview on the right trajectory. My husband and I read it before we got married, and I recommend any prospective spouses who are interested in this book to read it too.

Harley is no nonsense to the point of being clinical, and yet is down to earth and even friendly in tone. His basic premise - from YEARS of experience as a professional psychologist
...more
Kari Napier
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!! I truly wish I would have read this earlier in life to really understand the difference between mens needs and womens needs. Even with every individual having completely different priorities of basic needs, it gives you the truth behind just how different men and women are! It's hard truth about the simple reasons spouses have affairs is almost mind blowing that martial problems could be avoided so easily!! I pray my spouse reads this and finds this as helpful as I do ...more
Eric Beheler
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-books
A very helpful book that is definitely an eye opener!

It's really great to see things from the other person's perspective, and this book you see both sides of the coin that is marriage!

The thing I like most about this book is that it wasn't one of those books where it's all about what the husband has to do to make a marriage work. Instead he goes through things that the husband and wife should look into correcting. He switches on and off each chapter with one chapter being about what the husband
...more
Crystal
Jul 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people in relationships, or who want to be, and want to be succesful at it
This is the best book on marriage, and making a marriage work, and work well, that I have ever read. It's a little bit Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, but so much better. Willard Harley points out the common fundamental differences between mens' and womens' needs and talks about how ignorance of these needs can lead to your partner finding someone, intentionally or not, who CAN fill the unfilled need(s). it's might seem like a scare tactic--the subtitle IS How to Affair-Proof your Marri ...more
Edward
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've been through two marriages and am currently (and very happily) on my third. My first two wives were involved in multiple transgressions that devastated me. I mean, really, really devastated me. It took me thirty years and reading this book to forgive them and to realize that their actions were somewhat predictable and not all their fault. I knew that I was not a perfect husband "what 20 something husband is"? I now know that it wasn't that I was imperfect or that they were; we were woefully ...more
Veronica Foley
Apr 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
I thought there were some very good ideas on marriage in this book. That being said there were some incredibly offensive comments, sentences, and even a chapter. One chapter talked about how if you are fat, you should expect no one to be attracted to you, even your spouse. Well, I got news for you, William F. Harley's Jr. I am fat and very attractive. My husband met and fell in love with me and my looks while being fat.

Also, William mentions in this book how being fat is not healthy. Blah, blah,
...more
Nicole Penney
While there were some helpful truths contained in this book, the majority of the content didn’t seem to suit a modern marriage in which both husband and wife work and share responsibilities equally.

Certain sections of the book such as “maintaining physical attractiveness” were geared only towards women. In general, I thought that every section should have been applied to both spouses. They didn’t seem gender-specific to me at all.
Erin Henry
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this helpful in separating out and enunciating what I need in marriage. And understanding what my husband needs. Like most marriage books it would be best if both parties can read it. His concept of a love bank and marriage is for your needs to be met seemed surprised me some. It's very different than the holy language of most Christian marriage books that marriage is to sanctify you and love is an axiom not a feeling. I felt like this book gives a person more hope because it describes h ...more
Jessica
Mar 01, 2015 marked it as dnf
I have to admit, I didn't finish this book. I debated on even leaving a review for that reason, but I feel compelled to offer my thoughts on the chapters I did read. My first advice would be DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. If you and your spouse are committed to the covenant you made with each other and God, if you're looking for guidance in being more like Christ in your marriage, this book is not for you. It does everything BUT point you in that direction. The thought of sacrificial love is non-existe ...more
Tracy Labonville
Sep 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book has some valid points, like making sure that spouses spend time together, but there are an overwhelming amount of things that make this book not worth the read.

First, Harley views marriage as a relationship without grace. The way he presents his arguments are very fear-based and guilt-ridden. He requires that women wear nice clothes and makeup and lose weight for their husbands, and if they cannot do this, then they should expect that he will have an extramarital affair. This same stan
...more
Brandon H.
I'm glad I didn't heed the reviews that said this book wasn't worth reading or wasn't "biblical," whatever that means. While the author's content could have been pruned a bit to make the book more concise, (it did seem wordy at times and parts of the book dragged on with excessive and unnecessary information like how to diet effectively or the differing physical reactions during sexual relations), and easier to read, I think his overall message is important and is even essential to know if one i ...more
Lisa Lewis
I don't remember how this book ended up on my "to read" list, but it was less than I expected. A bit dated, very stereotypical in the gender views, and kind of unrealistic in many of the recommendations. There were some good take-home messages: you can't expect your marriage to be happy if all of the happy/fun/best times you have are apart from your spouse, so you need to find activities you enjoy doing together and you need to spend sufficient time together. Also, to stay in love and wanting to ...more
Ivy
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
The five needs for men are sex, recreational companionship, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration, while womens' needs are affection, conversation, honesty, financial support, and family commitment. Though these needs are not true for everyone and may switch or be shared by both sexes.
I read this book in the late '80s early '90s....it held some eye opening ideas that I myself wasn't ready to understand. Yet now in the present and second marriage..we practice it and have a deep
...more
Angie
Aug 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone considering a marriage or already in one
The author's blunt writing style is refreshing within the relationship-enhancing genre. He's a counselor fed up with people not able to make their marriages work, and he provides countless examples of what will happen if a partner's needs are not met. Chapters include the top 5 needs for men and women, toggling between the sexes. Though I don't agree with all 5 of the top women's needs, I did gain a better understanding of the other sex and what to watch for in my next relationship.
Shalyce
Sep 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
I got this book after hearing some public speaker (can’t remember who), say it was the best book he had read for marriage. It sat in my nightstand for years.

I read about two chapters in this book and realized I had no desire to read any more. It’s basically a less effective take on Chapman’s love languages. I agree that spouses have needs and different ways for those needs to be fulfilled. However, what I couldn’t get past is his premise that affairs are a result of those needs not being met. D
...more
Tessa
My mom recommended I read this book...I found it okay. The concept of the ten needs is useful and makes sense (though there is a lot of overlap with The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, if you are familiar with that book) but I can't handle the insinuation that if you fail to meet your spouse's needs, their affair was essentially justified. Though he makes a point to say that he doesn't believe it, he spends 200 pages describing exactly that. Unfaithful spouses need to take respo ...more
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Willard F. Harley, Jr., Ph.D. is best known as author of the internationally best selling book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building An Affair-proof Marriage. Over three million copies have been purchased, and it is available in twenty-two foreign translations.

Dr. Harley earned a Ph.D. degree in psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1967 and has been a Licensed Psychologist in
...more

News & Interviews

  Justin A. Reynolds burst onto the YA scene last year with his debut book Opposite of Always, a heartfelt novel about love and friendship...
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“An environment of carping and criticism is dangerous to your mental health, whereas those who support and encourage you bring out your true potential and spark your genius.” 3 likes
“I've been able to classify most of their responses into ten emotional needs—admiration, affection, conversation, domestic support, family commitment, financial support, honesty and openness, physical attractiveness, recreational companionship, and sexual fulfillment.” 1 likes
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