Why does traditional marriage need to be defended? Traditional marriage is a permanent and sexually exclusive relationship of extraordinary care between one man and one woman. But marriage, as defined this way, has been under attack for more than seventy-five years, and if you're married-or planning to be-that's not good news. In fact, those attacking traditional marriage have been winning. Why? And what can be done about it? WIlliard F. Harley, Jr., nationally acclaimed clincial psychologist and best-selling author, believes you can not only protect your own family from falling prey to these legal and cultural attacks but also help reverse the trend that characterizes today's marriage unfriendly culture. Historically, traditional marriage has provided two primary advantages over any other relationships: safety and stability. If either of these advantages over any other relationships is undermined, the success of an entire society is threatened. With heated sanctity-of-marriage debates swirling around us, whose responsibility is it to defend what's left of traditional marriage? According to Harley: "It starts with you."
Marriage is a hot topic these days. It's easy to find out who married who and for how long-just turn on the TV or open a newspaper. But with the recent, well-publicized court battles regarding marriage, many are beginning to wonder: Is the increased interest in marriage issues a good thing? Or are people being trained to devalue this sacred relationship?
Using expertise from his thirty years as a clinical psychologist and marriage counselor, Willard F. Harley Jr. asseses the state of marriage today and shows couples how to safeguard their own marriages from current laws and culture. In this new book he offers a detailed definition of marriage: it is a permanent and sexually exclusive relationship of extraordinary care between one man and one woman. In thoroughly examining each element of this definition, Harley shows couples what they can do to influence legislation and how to grow a strong marriage-even amidst today's marriage-unfriendly culture.
Willard F. Harley Jr. is a nationally acclaimed clinical psychologist, marriage counselor, and best-selling author. His popular web site, www.marriagebuilders.com, offers practical solutions to almost any marital problem. Dr. Harley leads Marriage Builders Weekends across the country and lives in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, with Joyce, his wife of forty years.
In Defending Traditional Marriage, Dr. Willard Harley, Jr. has declared war on those factors that end marriages or relegate them to misery. Using guidelines from marriage vows themselves, Dr. Harley shows the extraordinary care that married couples expect when they marry. He explains how to rebuild that level of care, the obstacles to it, and ways to avoid infidelity and divorce. He confronts legislative and social enemies that have decayed marriage, and ends with the dangers of legislating homosexual marriage.
As a man in love with one woman for over forty years and as a behavioral psychologist with thirty years of practice in marriage counseling, Harley passionately defends marriage. He eschews the popular ideas that marriage should not meet the emotional needs of the spouses, that marriages in trouble are not worth saving, that couples should live independently while living in a marriage, or that children can do just fine in divorced families. However, he also decries abuse in marriage, and urges spouses in abusive situations to leave if the abuser will not change.
He divides the book into four sections: Extraordinary Care, Romantic Exclusivity, Permanence, and One Man, One Woman. From a practical level, he makes a lot of sense. In the extraordinary care section he shows that a couple's meeting of four emotional needs usually saves a marriage: sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, affection, and intimate conversation. He lists others but in his view, these are the biggies. He encourages couples to try to meet each other's emotional needs and to try to avoid love busters like selfish demands, disrespectful judgments, angry outbursts, dishonesty, annoying habits, and independent behavior. His ideas are both workable and sensible in most cases.
Harley doesn't deal overtly with spiritual ramifications or reasoning, although the underlying philosophy is there. He doesn't quote Scripture. Most readers could feel comfortable giving the book to non-Christian friends who would reject overtly Christian books.
Defending Traditional Marriage is well written and engaging. Harley keeps the reader turning pages with strong reasoning, readable discussion, and occasional anecdotes. This book was not what I expected; it was much better. It goes on my short list of good books on marriage. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com