Keeping the Romance

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- The hardest thing I’ve ever done? Be married.

Sharon and I have been married for more than 30 years – most of it wonderful, but not so at first. At about the 10 year point, something was wrong. The commitment was there, but the romantic feelings had faded. Later Sharon told me that she wanted to find a way to leave. I’m so glad she didn’t.

Our marriage began a turnaround when an Air Force chaplain gave us a book that provided us a way to regain the romance. That book taught us that everyone has a “Love Bank.” When my wife meets my emotional needs, she makes deposits in my Love Bank, which increase my feelings of love towards her. When I meet her emotional needs, I make deposits in her Love Bank, which increases her feelings of love toward me. Following the model of marriage provided by this book helped us regain our wedding-day feelings of love.

The name of the book? “His Needs, Her Needs” by Dr. Willard Harley. Want to regain the romance in your marriage? Follow Dr. Harley’s steps.

First, commit to building romantic love. Like any other skill, filling your spouse’s love bank requires knowledge and practice. Keeping the romance in marriage is work, but it is also fulfilling and rewarding.
Then identify and overcome any love bank withdrawals. Deposits increase and withdrawals decrease feelings of love. Deposits won’t help the relationship until the withdrawals stop. The most common withdrawals from the love bank are selfish demands, disrespectful judgments, angry outbursts, annoying habits and dishonesty.

Next, identify the most important emotional needs in your relationship. It’s highly likely that your emotional needs are very different from your spouse’s emotional needs. Learn from each other how to meet those needs. As emotional needs are met, the balance in the love bank increases and feelings of love increase.

The most common emotional needs include affection, sexual fulfillment, conversation, recreational companionship, honesty, financial support, domestic support, family commitment and admiration. Which of these emotional needs, if met by your spouse, boosts your feelings of love toward your spouse?

If you are interested in improving your marriage, or other relationships, here are some options…

1) Dover AFB's Chaplain Corps personnel are ready to provide premarital, marital or relationship counseling which is 100% confidential,

2) Sign up for the next "Resilient Relationship" seminar (Date TBD), hosted by the Dover AFB Chapel, or

3) Pick up a copy of Dr. Harley’s book, read it and apply to your marriage.

Happy Valentine’s Day!