What does it take to have a honeymoon marriage, years after the honeymoon is over?
If it were a simple answer that worked for everyone, hopefully everyone would already know about it. But marriage isn’t simple and it isn’t easy. I don’t claim to have all the answers. But I do know that my husband and I have a thriving marriage, nearly seven years and three kids after we vowed our lives to one another.
I’d like to share with you 10 questions from a book that have been helpful as we continue to build a marriage that gets better, richer and more precious with each passing year.
When we were engaged, we read the book His Needs Her Needs: Building An Affair-Proof Marriage. We have found it to be very practical and insightful. It helped us find words for things we just “felt” but were unable to verbalize.
It gave us tools to be able to take our communication to the next level.
In his book, Dr. Willard F. Harley addresses the issues that can destroy a marriage and equips the readers with tools to “affair-proof their marriage”. The book dissects in detail 5 major needs of men (generally speaking), and 5 major needs of women (again-generally). Harley offers insightful explanations for each, as well as practical ways for each spouse to meet those needs. In addition, he addresses deeply rooted habits that undermine the growth of intimacy in marriage.
After identifying with and discussing the needs talked about in the book, we committed to do our best and be intentional in meeting each others needs.
Throughout the first two years of our marriage we scheduled a weekly date (mostly over coffee- 2 tall coffees were all we could afford:) ) to connect and talk about how we were doing in our relationship.
Here’s the main gist of our conversations:
I asked him (in my own words):
1. How am I doing meeting your need for sexual fulfillment?
2. How am i doing meeting your need for recreational companionship?
3. How am I doing meeting your need for an attractive spouse?
4. How am I doing meeting your need for domestic support?
5. How am I doing meeting your need for admiration/respect?
He asked me (in his own words):
1. How am I doing meeting your need for affection?
2. How am I doing meeting your need for conversation?
3. How am I doing meeting your need for honesty and openness/trust?
4. How am I doing meeting your need for financial support/security?
5. How am I doing meeting your need for family commitment?
Not all 5 needs were super relevant every week, so we chose a few that were the most real to us, and focused on those for the majority of our conversations.
We were usually able to fly through the questions, because we were being intentional throughout the week to actually work on meeting the needs of the other person. Our dates served as a connecting point and a time to listen and honor each other with undivided attention.
Our dates gave us the time and space to bring up something if there was a struggle and it gave us an opportunity to encourage each other in the ways we were being blessed in our marriage.
There were times when one or both of us would say that we had been feeling a little “empty” in our “love banks” and that a bit more attention, time or effort in one area or another would be really great.
Because we created room for radical and humble honesty, there was never any accusation, blame, or pressure. It was a sincere desire to see each other thrive.
The purpose of this book for us, was not that we were being defined by specific “needs” but that we were being given clear language to talk about our marriage and validate each other’s unique ways of receiving love.
The intentionality of these conversations built a deep sense of mutual trust, communication and respect that we still draw from today. We still take date nights and will ask each other these questions from time to time, but after making those conversations a consistent priority, meeting them became a more natural way of loving each other.
I would love nothing more than to give away this book that has been such a helpful tool for us. There will be two winners randomly selected to receive the book as a gift from us to you with prayers that your marriage will flourish in ways you never thought possible.
How to enter the giveaway:
Just leave a comment telling me where you took your honeymoon or just say “I want to read this book with my spouse!”
*For extra entries you can follow @FrancieWinslow on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. Return here and leave an additional comment that you tweeted.
And/or become a fan of UP In and Out on Facebook and post a link to this giveaway on your facebook page. Return here and leave an additional comment that you Facebooked!
The Giveaway is open until Friday, Feb. 3 at midnight and the winner will be announced on Monday the 6th!
As an additional resource for all of you:
Marriage Builders website is full of helpful info and articles!!