It’s something we hear from couple after couple: men and women are so different! How can my spouse and I learn to understand each other?

Men and woman sure are different! It doesn’t take science to tell us that. All we need to do is look at how any group of guys or girls interact to begin to see some differences. Obviously, these are generalities, but here are just a few of the differences between men and women:

• When guys need encouragement, they typically go for the slap on the back from the guys on the court. When women need encouragement, they want hugs from their supportive friends.

• Men look to their friends to be just company. Women want emotional connection in friendships. For women, it hasn’t been a good time if they haven’t had a good laugh or a good cry.

• Men think of intimacy in physical terms (S-E-X); women think of intimacy in emotional terms (T-A-L-K).

So how are you supposed to know what your husband or wife wants and needs? Well we’ve done part of the work for you! For our book, The Five Love Needs of Men and Women, we surveyed more than 700 couples from across the country and asked them to rank what they needed from their spouse. The results may surprise you!

Here’s a look at the top five love needs for husbands and wives – and how you can meet your spouse’s needs.

A Wife’s Top 5 Love Needs

1. Unconditional Love and Acceptance. Imagine your spouse loving you completely, without even hesitating over your mistakes. Sounds just like Christ, doesn’t it? That’s the core of unconditional love, and He is the source of it. You can reflect God’s love for her and your love for her by encouraging her, standing with her, complimenting her, respecting her opinion, talking with her—and listening, spending time with her, and serving her.

2. Emotional Intimacy and Communication. When your wife hears the word intimacy, she thinks about emotional connection and communication. She wants a marriage that has vulnerable sharing of inner thoughts, feelings, spirit, and true self. Listen to her. Show her an understanding heart. Give her attention and affection. Build rapport with her. Resolve conflict and safeguard your relationship.

3. Spiritual Intimacy. A wife wants a marriage as a cord with three strands: God, husband, and wife. She wants God to be inextricably woven throughout the marriage relationship. She needs to be growing spiritually and watching you grow spiritually and leading the home. To do so, encourage her spiritual growth, encourage her fellowship with you and others, encourage her to express her spiritual gifts, and encourage her with your prayers.

4. Encouragement and Affirmation. To keep a bounce in her step, give her daily doses of encouragement. Tell her she’s your best friend, that she’s the best wife, give her some space when she needs it, leave her thank-you notes, and give your wife extra help with chores. Encourage her by understanding her wiring, giving her first place, pointing out her potential, and appreciating her contribution.

5. Companionship. To your wife, friendship means heart-to-heart communication, special time away with you, and growing old together. It involves togetherness. She needs you to work hard at your marriage – to laugh together, play together, stay the course, and work out the inevitable differences between you.