The Sweet Christian Bride

Featured Resource: Fall in Love, Stay in Love

Fall in Love, Stay in Love

By Willard F. Harley, Jr.

Summary: Harley worked as a marriage counselor for years before actually learning the heart of what kept marriages thriving.  His conclusions are written in this book, and they seem to genuinely work!  His approach centers almost entirely on the concept of a “love bank,” which is essentially the idea that everything you do will affect your spouse either positively or negatively.  Like in a bank, withdrawing (affecting negatively) more than depositing (affecting positively) will leave the marriage bankrupt.  The reverse will allow a cushion for solvency during difficult times in the marriage.

With that as the foundation, Harley states what the 10 most common emotional needs in a marriage are.  Based on those needs, he offers instructions for how to negotiate in a marriage so that both parties are pleased with the outcome.  His book is sensible and, in many ways, revolutionary.

Value: The greatest value to Fall in Love, Stay in Love is that the advice is relatively simple.  Sure, reversing bad habits is never easy, but he breaks this process down in such a way that it is manageable.  And without much “extra,” a marriage can be saved.  Additionally, everything he recommends for the marriage can be applied to other relationships, thus strengthening the family’s condition as well.

Harley includes some great appendices that help readers to evaluate what their emotional needs are and what their personal history is.  These two revelations alone can drastically change one’s outlook of his or her marriage.  Other appendices give formulas for accountability documents that a husband and wife can choose to complete together.

Highlights: Two sections stood out to me the most, the first one being the 10 most common emotional needs.  It is always encouraging to have an “ah-ha” moment about the way we function, but the problem is, we then have to do something with that information;  that can be tricky.  Harley encourages a husband and wife to only focus on the top one or two emotional needs, so they can begin to reverse patterns and see some success.  To tackle all ten at once can set a couple up for failure.  So in addition to gaining powerful insight about the way I (and my husband) operate, I also felt equipped to move forward in implementing the necessary changes.

The other section that was eye-opening for me (one of the “revolutionary” aspects of his counsel) was the idea of enthusiastic agreement.  He believes that in every solvable problem there is opportunity for a husband and a wife to reach a compromise which pleases both of them.  He spends time flushing out the idea that each person has a “Giver” and a “Taker” personality.  Reaching an enthusiastic agreement is simply a matter of appealing to both sides of the husband’s and wife’s personalities.  It takes patience, grace, and practice, but it yields revitalization in the marriage team.

Rating: 5 stars.  Fall in Love, Stay in Love was such a simple read, leaving me excited to implement change rather than daunted.  Yet, for its simplicity, it speaks profound concepts that can truly reverse the direction of a broken marriage.  Any resource that can give such weighty counsel in such an easy manner gets my vote.