Book Review: His Needs Her Needs by Willard F. Harley

His needs Her needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage is a book written by Willard F. Harley and is concentrated on guiding couples on how to avoid infidelity or couples who have already committed adultery and are trying to get back on track. The whole therapeutic technique of this book is to get couples to discuss, discover and engage in each others emotional needs instead of dismissing them as it in one of the main contributing factors leading someone to infidelity. The main reasoning behind this approach is that women’s and men’s needs differ from each others and are usually at opposite ends of a scale of importance. Harley examines the top 5 emotional needs from each partner which in most cases the females number 1 need would be the males number 5 and reverse.


As the book progresses Harley explains his solution which he calls a “love bank” and how each partner has one, like an imaginary bank each partner either deposits or withdraws from this love bank. This is the most vital part of the book, he describes this as how a couple can fall in and out of love with each other. Making deposits to your partners emotional needs will bring you closer together, and withdrawing will ultimately tear you apart. Throughout the rest of the book, Harley lists the emotional needs needed by men and women to keep a marriage healthy. He also dedicates a chapter to couples who are trying to recover and find their way back to loving each other.

The only faults of “his needs her needs” are that some of the lessons seem a bit out-dated for the way couples work now. It is also written from a very stereotypical male standpoint, which in the sense the way a relationship is described in the book may have worked a while ago does not necessarily work for today’s couples. This is completely salvaged by his fair standpoint and criticisms of both members of the marriage, he then goes on to give examples of both husbands and wives who have failed at meeting their partners emotional needs and how as a spouse it is your job and your duty to meet your partner’s emotional needs.


Throughout the book Harley mentions his faith, Christianity, Jesus even references biblical passages but speaks of marriage in the most unbiased standpoint, he also does not speak of adultery as a sin or lustful desire which is also a sin, this may be a bit confusing or unhelpful for Christian couples who read this book. If you are looking for a more religious based couples counseling book, this might not be the right read for you. Although it is not necessarily all useful in finding god in your relationship, this book will no doubt be able to enhance the health of your marriage by focusing on each others emotional needs.

While this book might be flawed in some aspects, his advice, tips and practices are all based on couples he has counseled so the advice is still insightful and helpful, there are parts of this book which contain great bits of truth to them. Although not all the emotional needs may meet every couple the general idea behind them are sure to help anyone in whichever stage of marriage they find themselves in and the lessons in this book could prove to be life altering. His needs her needs encourages couples to make behavioral changes toward one another by being more self-controlled, kind and loving.

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