A dozen roses, romantic dinners, love notes … we girls love all of these types of things. But don’t let us fool you; these are really not the things that we need the most from you. All the gifts and romantic moments are nice, but they are really just icing on the cake.
Honestly, guys, it is all the character-stuff and all the heart-stuff that your girlfriend really needs from you. Guys are usually more driven by tangible things — they want to provide nice things for their girl, they want to look good for her, and they want to say the right things and do the right things. But, in general, girls are more driven by non-tangible things — they want to know how you feel, they want to connect with your heart, they desire security and trust.
If you want to meet your girlfriend’s needs, then my advice is to start focusing on the non-tangible things. Also, I think it goes without saying that the No. 1 non-tangible thing your girlfriend needs is for you to have a healthy relationship with God. So building on the assumption that you have a genuine relationship with Jesus, here are four things every girlfriend really needs from her boyfriend.
1. She Needs to Know He Thinks She’s Beautiful (Attraction)
Deep at the core of every woman is the desire to know that she is beautiful, valuable and worthy to be pursued.
Unfortunately, a lot of times guys do not understand how central this question is. Sometimes guys think this desire for beauty is rooted in vanity or sexual desire, but usually that is not the core at all. The true root of this question is value: “Am I valuable enough to him to catch his attention?” “Am I valuable enough to be pursued?”
Also, I understand that this need of your girlfriend can be confusing for guys, because if purity is a struggle for you, then you are trying to not focus so much on your physical attraction to your girlfriend. However, there are lots of ways to express your attraction and communicate value to your girlfriend that are wholesome and appropriate.
Ultimately, the Word of God needs to answer this beauty and value question for your girlfriend. She needs to know she is beautiful and has worth for herself because the Bible says so. But your words and actions can help be an echo of the Word in her life.
Here are some practical ways you can add value to your girlfriend and let her know you think she is beautiful.
• Be generous with compliments. Compliment her when she is dolled-up and compliment her when she is in everyday clothes with little makeup. (Be sure to make sure these compliments are done in a gentleman-type way and not with sexual overtones.)
• Be a gentleman. Open the door for her, pull out her chair for her at dinner, offer to serve her in genuine little ways that help communicate that she is beautiful and that you value her.
• Encourage her in her gifts and talents. Help her recognize things that she is good at. Be vocal about your support of her. Speak well of her privately and publically.
2. She Needs Transparent Conversation (Honesty)
Girlfriends desire that their boyfriends be honest when communicating feelings, expectations and boundaries. When you take the lead in honest communication with your girlfriend, you help her guard her heart.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam was given responsibility to “tend and keep the garden.” Part of the initial design of man is to “tend and keep,” even in dating relationships. Guys, your girlfriend needs you to honestly communicate your feelings, even if it is not what she wants to hear. She needs you to be honest in DTR (defining the relationship) type convos, and she needs you to help create and enforce emotional and physical boundaries within the relationship.
The clearer you can be in your intentions and expectations, the more enjoyable the relationship will be. When you humbly take the lead by initiating conversations that make relationship expectations clear, you and your girlfriend will start connecting in more genuine ways.
Here are some practical ways to start opening up honest avenues of conversation:
• Set up a coffee date so that you guys can have a DTR (define the relationship) type conversation. During this conversation be completely honest (in love) about your feelings about her and the relationship. Also, be honest about what kind of commitment level you are interested in right now and how that affects expectations with frequency of communication, dates, and physical boundaries.
• If you and your girlfriend cross a physical intimacy boundary that you both had initially agreed upon not crossing, then be a man about it and verbally address the fact that a physical boundary was crossed, that it was wrong, and then discuss how to move forward.
3. She Needs a Heart Connection (Intimacy)
Your girlfriend wants to connect with your heart. She wants to know what you are thinking about. She wants to know your dreams and aspirations. She wants to know about the emotions you are experiencing: Are you hurt? Are you satisfied? Are you confused?
Your girlfriend feels close to you when she is close to your heart.
Sometimes it is not natural for guys to be involved in this type of conversation, but know that your girlfriend needs it. Heart moments are intimate moments for your girlfriend, so it would do you good to learn how to share different parts of your heart with your girlfriend.
Note: The Bible does talk about guarding your heart. So while it is not wise to share all the parts of your heart with your girlfriend early on, as the dating relationship gets more and more serious, you should continue to share more and more of your heart.
Here are some practical ways to start having more of a heart connection with your girlfriend.
• Ask her how she is feeling. Ask her what she has been thinking about lately. (And do not feel like you have to “fix” anything or give any solutions. Just listen.)
• Find ways to express your emotions and feelings on things that your girlfriend asks you about.
• If her response to a certain situation surprises you, then follow up with her about it and ask her to explain why she responded the way she did and ask how the situation made her feel.
4. She Needs Him to Be Trustworthy and a Man of Integrity (Security)
Your girlfriend needs to know that she can trust you. She needs to know that you have “eyes only for her.” She does not want to have to worry about if you are still communicating with old flames. Trust needs to be a non-negotiable.
Your girlfriend deserves more than a loose commitment. She needs you to either be with her or not be with her. You are not doing anyone any favors if you try to be partially committed to her while keeping other options open.
She should not feel like she has to work to gain your commitment. Also, she should be able to trust that your words are true and that you have integrity in word and deed. She needs to know that you are “all in” the relationship.
Here are some practical ways to increase trust and prove your commitment to your girlfriend:
• Stop talking extensively with other girls. You do not need to continue casually texting or communicating with old flames or girls who are “just friends” if you really are interested in exclusively dating your girlfriend.
• Don’t let your eyes linger. Prove self-control with your eyes and don’t let your eyes wander on girls who walk by or wander in your Internet or social media usage.
• Be a man of your word in all spheres of life. Don’t drop plans because a better opportunity came up. And as much as possible, don’t back out on your commitments. When you follow through on your commitments within your dating relationship and in other commitments, it brings trust and security into your relationship.
In summary, your girlfriend needs you to be real. She needs you to be real with God and real with her. I hope you are encouraged that you do not need to spend more money on her, and you don’t even need to become a better person necessarily.
She just wants you, the real you — the you that is at the core of your heart. If you focus on all the heart-stuff, all the non-tangible things, you will give your girl what she needs the most.