Peter and I read many books during our 13-month engagement. One however, stood out above the rest; in fact it seemed to summarize the rest and add more clarity and details. "I Promise You" by Willard Harley is the engagement version of "His Needs, Her Needs" and it was amazing! In my opinion, it takes "The Five Love Languages" to a level that is much more applicable to actual interaction between a couple. During our Honeymoon, it gave us names for ways to communicate love with each other so much easier than "physical touch" or "quality time." We have been so fulfilled emotionally in our relationship and I credit much if it to this book.
The basic concept is this illustration of how a love relationship works. Every person has a "love bank" and the way the people in their life act either makes deposits into this back (causing happiness/satisfaction/love) or withdrawals (causing unhappiness/dissatisfaction/dislike). A romantic relationship will start out with attraction, (and that can even be so strong it feels like instant love) but what makes the relationship last is the deposits the partner makes into the relationship--which essentially turns it from an attraction to love.
Harley identified 10 main ways that men and women receive the largest deposits. In his experience most people fall into these categories (he does encourage finding others for yourself if these don't fit you): Affection, Sexual Fulfillment, Conversation, Recreational Companionship, Honesty and Openness, Physical Attractiveness, Financial Support, Domestic Support, Family Commitment and Admiration.
Your top 5 or 6 are the most important to maintaining your romantic relationship. If you are only having one or two met a relationship can survive but is usually not very solid. You're goal then, is to learn your partner's top emotional needs and become an expert in them. Notice--you often have to LEARN them, because in nearly every case most of your most important emotional needs don't line up with your partner's needs. That's completely OK and in my opinion God designed it that way. (There seems to be a general trend that maintaining a relationship, with anyone, takes work, but the rewards are so great!)
What I've found is that there is so much wisdom and blessing in thinking about a relationship this way, but the wording of his books is very marriage-worded. This has been a put-off to my friends who are in serious relationships but who aren't in the place where talking about marriage is frequent (I respect their decision to wait on the topic and understand the situations, FYI). So what I'd like to do is take a couple posts to explain the emotional needs and apply them to dating/courting in a God-honoring way.
Until then, what is your first impression of this idea? Have you heard of these before? Have you read either of these books?
Facebook Readers: Interested in more of my blog? Visit mybreathingheart.blogspot.com!