This is a follow-up from a previous post (Click here to see previous post).
I finished reading Dr. Harley’s second book, Love Busters. It was excellent. I think the combination of His Needs/Her Needs along with Love Busters is a “must read” for all couples – married or thinking about getting married. I wondered as I read both books how many marriages could have been saved had both partners read these books and seriously applied the principles.
Love Busters deals specifically with behaviors and habits that destroy romantic love. Romantic love is key for Dr. Harley. Without the feelings of romantic love, your marriage is in jeopardy. In his experience, he has never seen a couple want to divorce if they felt romantic love towards one another. The key to a great marriage is to: 1) continually do those things that produce romantic love (meet each other’s emotional needs); and 2) avoid love busters - behaviors that will be detrimental to romantic love.
There are always two parts of us at battle in marriage: The Giver and The Taker. Each of us have a giver and taker. The Giver part of us follows this rule: Do whatever you can to make others happy and avoid anything that makes others unhappy, even if it makes you unhappy. The Taker part of us follows this rule: Do whatever you can to make yourself happy and avoid anything that makes you unhappy, even if it makes others unhappy. It is the tension between these two parts of us that often leads us to behaviors that destroy romantic love. And we all have the potential to do so.
Dr. Harley lists six specific “love busters” common to most marriages:
- Selfish Demands – commanding your spouse to do things that would benefit you at your spouse’s expense, with implied threat of punishment if refused.
- Disrespectful Judgments – Attempts to “straighten out” your spouse’s attitudes, beliefs, and behavior by trying to impose your way of thinking through lecture, ridicule, threats, or other forceful means.
- Angry Outbursts – Deliberate attempts to hurt your spouse because of anger, usually in the form of verbal or physical attacks.
- Dishonesty – (he lists different types of dishonesty – “Protector Liars;” “Looking Good” Liars; “”Avoiding Trouble” Liars; and “Compulsive” Liars.
- Annoying Habits – Behavior repeated without much thought that it bothers the other spouse.
- Independent Behavior – The conduct of one spouse that is conceived and executed as if the other spouse did not even exist.
Now, Dr. Harley does a great job of really detailing each behavior and the subtleties of what it looks like and a plan on how to rid it from life.
He basis a lot of resolution on a couple of ideas:
- Policy of Joint Agreement: Never do anything without an enthusiastic agreement between you and your spouse.
- Policy of Radical Honesty: Reveal to your spouse as much information about yourself as you know: your thoughts, feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history, daily activities, and plans for the future.
Dr. Harley then applies these two principles to the potential conflicted areas of: friends & relatives, career choices, financial planning, children, and sex.
There are two chapters dedicated to restoring romantic love after addictions and/or affairs and two chapters on building romantic love with care and time.
Very good book that I would highly recommend!