The sexes are designed with highly specific—but quite different—psychological needs. Each is vulnerable to the other in unique ways. When reduced to the basics, women need men to be romantic, caring, and loving. Men need women to be respectful, supportive, and loyal. These are not primarily cultural influences that are learned in childhood, as some would have us believe. They are forces deeply rooted in the human personality.
Indeed, the Creator observed Adam's loneliness in the Garden of Eden and said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). So He made Adam a helpmate, a partner, a love—designed to link with him emotionally and sexually. In so doing, He invented the family and gave it His blessing and ordination.
Unfortunately, millions of marriages are in trouble today because of an inability of the sexes to get along. Perhaps the fundamental problem is one of selfishness. We're so intent on satisfying our own desires that we fail to recognize the longings of our partners. The institution of marriage works best when we think less about ourselves and more about the ones we love. Again, the basic needs of each gender are straightforward. Women need to be loved, all year round, and men need to be respected, especially when the going gets tough.
That understanding is hardly new. In fact, it is ancient. Here's the way the apostle Paul described it nearly two thousand years ago: "Each one of you [men] must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (Ephesians 5:33).
Love and respect. It's an unbeatable combination.
From Dr. Dobson's book Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide.