And men, while you may wonder if you should really take the time to read this article, remember that a happy woman who is getting her needs met is one who is happy to meet your needs as well, including that one need that every man thinks about often, even if he may not say it to his partner - the need for more s-e-x. :-)
So without further ado, let's get right to the juicy details! As I did last week, with each crucial relationship need, I've also posted a tip on how to meet this need for your woman, so you can put it into practice right away and watch your relationship improve.
Relationship Need #1: Caring
This pretty much goes without saying if you're a woman, but we really need to know that our man cares for us! And we don't just need to hear it, we need to feel this on a deep level. Some men have trouble expressing how much they care for their partner, and obviously since this is need #1, this can cause great problems in a relationship. To complicate matters further, each woman has her own definition of what makes her feel that you love and care for her. It's no wonder we sometimes drive you guys crazy!
Caring Tip: It really can make you crazy trying to figure out the ways to best show your woman that you care - especially if this is something that doesn't really come natural to you. For this particular need, I would suggest checking out the book "The 5 Love Languages", by Gary Chapman. It's a short read, and gives you a simple way to determine how your partner likes to be communicated with. For example: my primary language is physical touch. If yours is something completely different - say, acts of service - it doesn't matter how many nice things you do for me - if you don't touch me often, I'm still not going to feel loved, even though you are doing all these things to show me that you love me. (Luckily, even though it's not his primary language, my fiance knows it's mine, and he is really great at communicating with me in that way.) :-) It's a great book to help any couple learn to communicate better and make each other happier.
Relationship Need #2: Empathy
Gentlemen, the truth is, the majority of the times a woman complains about something, what she's really looking for is empathy. While your efforts to offer solutions are admirable, and completely make sense from your perspective, from hers, they are no help at all. In fact, they make her feel like you don't understand her, and that is never a good thing unless you want her to put distance between you.
Empathy Tip: This one may sound simple, but it may be harder in practice than you expect. The next time your woman complains about something, just listen. That's it, don't offer suggestions, don't try to come up with solutions, just listen. And once you get more comfortable with listening, it's fine to chime in once in a while and commiserate if you like - show her that you're on her side, and you understand what she's going through (even if you don't, completely). But don't offer a solution unless she specifically asks you, "what should I do?" If, and only if, she asks for help, then you can try to help solve her problem. Otherwise, just empathize. You may be surprised just how much this one little thing can improve your relationship!
Relationship Need #3: Respect
You may be surprised that this on the woman's list instead of the men's, but it does appear for men in other forms (trust, acceptance, admiration, and approval), and for women it is slightly different. Women may not feel as wounded in the ego when feeling disrespected, as a man might, but the need for respect from their partner is paramount. We need to feel that you respect who we are, and honor our opinions, even if you don't always agree with them. We also need to feel respected physically - something that many women take very personally. We need to feel that you see us as worthy, beautiful, intelligent, and competent partners. When you express respect towards us, it makes us feel safe with you, and that's a feeling you don't want your woman to ever lose.
Respect Tip: Similar to empathy, respect is often best demonstrated by listening. Listening shows that you appreciate and respect how your woman feels, and thinks, and expresses herself. In fact, one of the things that makes a woman feel most disrespected is feeling that you don't listen to her, or that you think her opinions are silly. If you disagree with her, that's fine, but try to express your disagreement in a way that makes her feel like you really heard what she has to say, and that her opinion is valid, even though it may be different from yours.
Relationship Need #4: Devotion
Your woman needs to feel like she is important to you - in fact, that she is the most important lady in your life. (Guys, if you have a close relationship with your mother, this may be a tricky one, depending on the woman.) Of course she understands that you have work obligations, and other things you need in your life besides her, but when it comes to other women, be sure that you always let her know that she's #1. When met, this need more than any other, can help keep your relationship strong - and your times in the bedroom more frequent! :-)
Devotion Tip: Listening again goes a long way in showing your devotion, but you will also want to express your devotion to her in more overt ways. Every once in a while, let her know that you are so very happy to be with her, and that she is the one for you. It may be hard to express these things, but try - it's worth it, for a happy relationship! Write it in a note if that's easier. Or even a heart-felt text message can work wonders!
You're probably noticing by now, that as with the men's list, many of these needs are very similar! This is true, as both women and men have certain areas that they really need support in from their partner. Validation, like respect and empathy, makes your woman feel that you see her as special, and that she is a unique individual whom you love because of who she is.
Validation Tip: There are many ways to make your woman feel validated, and you can use some of the tips from the other needs above for this as well. Besides showing her respect, empathy, and listening to her, you can also make your woman feel validated by telling her how much you appreciate certain unique things about her. Every so often, think of something very special about her, which other people may not even know about, and tell her how much you love that particular aspect of her. A validated woman will bloom before your eyes, and will reward you with love and physical intimacy!
Relationship Need #6: Reassurance
This can be a tough one for many guys, who may feel frustrated that their woman doesn't already know how they love her, and can't see why she should need reassuring all the time. However, if your woman seems to require a lot of reassurance, most likely you are not meeting one or several of the needs above. If all of the above needs are being met on a regular basis, your woman probably won't need much reassurance of your love at all - except for on specific occasions when she is going through a particularly tough experience - such as the death of a loved one, job loss, or other traumatic event. In these instances, she will likely need more reassurance than usual. But in general, this need is usually met as long as the other needs are taken care of.
Reassurance Tip: If your woman is feeling insecure about her looks (pregnancy is one especially common reason for this) - be sure to compliment her regularly - and be specific. "You look beautiful" is great, but if you can also tell her something specific that you love about her, that goes even further. (I still remember a time several years ago when I was feeling insecure about my butt. Upon hearing this, my fiance asked to inspect it, and after doing so, declared it the most perfect butt in the world. It was silly, but I actually have been much happier with that particular body part ever since!)
You can even favorably compare her to another woman, if it's done the right way. You may hear her saying something about how beautiful another woman is. In this case, your response will depend on how comfortable you are with expressing yourself in a romantic way. You can go all in and tell her that the other woman is "nothing compared to you," or tone it down and just say something simple like, "I'd much rather be with you," or, "you're more my type."
Reassuring her that you love her, respect her, and are devoted to her - using the tips above - also will be very helpful.
So there you have it! If you regularly meet these needs for your woman, any woman worth her salt will meet yours in kind - with all the love, patience, trust, and physical intimacy you desire and crave in your relationship.
May your time together be long, happy, fun, and filled with love!