Nowadays, romance seems to be defined by the number of likes. Every event a couple experiences from prom to the wedding needs to be a lavish display worthy of a Shakespearean sonnet. By these standards, my hubby would never be defined as romantic. He asked me to marry him in a grocery store parking lot and, one year, bought me a hot water bottle for Christmas. But believe me when I say, I got the best one.

Do we want our young women judging the quality of a man by a few isolated WOW moments? A marriage marked by only a handful of grand gestures will be hollow. The simple acts between the extravagant ones fill up a marriage with trust, confidence, and security. Teach your daughters to look for these attributes from Ephesians 5:25-29 first and flashy moments second.

Does he take an interest in her interests?

Red Flag: Only talks about himself and his hobbies.

This doesn’t mean he’ll listen to your daughter talk about scrapbooking for three hours. He should, however, ask her about it and look at some of her work.

When I first returned to writing about twelve years ago, my husband bought me a thesaurus. This simple gift said, “I hear you. I support you.” Even though I mainly use google now, I still have the book because it was the first of countless times he’s shown me he believes in my writing.

Does he think of her needs?

Red Flag: He wants her to do things for him, but never does things for her.

Over the years, I’ve heard various versions of this complaint: Husband and wife are on the couch. Wife says she’s cold. Hubby says he’s not cold. She continues to shiver beside him until she gets up and finds a sweater or blanket. In this case, the husband is only concerned with his own physical comfort and not his wife’s.

My husband usually wakes up a couple hours before me. When he’s making his coffee, he brews me a cup, sweetens it, adds vanilla, and puts it in the freezer to start getting cold (I don’t like hot drinks). He doesn’t do this every morning, but he does it often enough that I check the freezer before making myself a cup. Actions like this show me that while he’s meeting his own needs, he’s also thinking of mine.

Does he sacrifice what he wants to give her what she wants?

Red Flag: They only go to the places he wants to go and watch the movies he wants to watch.

In relationships, wants and needs between partners often conflict. When they do, he should occasionally set aside his needs for hers. If he did this all the time, it would create a lopsided relationship. But it should happen more often than not. My family has been through a lot the past two months. Hubby has had to hold down the fort while I traveled as well as dealing with some big deadlines at work. We’ve both been exhausted. Recently, I’d driven five hours and came home weary. He was equally weary from his week. We both needed comfort. But just as it points out in Ephesians 5:25-29, he laid down his needs and focused on mine. He sat on the couch with me while we watched my shows. True crime is not his thing.

Then, he unpacked my CPAP (yes, I sleep in a snorkel), got out my night shirt, and, even, turned down the covers on the bed. He could have easily expected me to comfort him or let me do my own thing while he did his. He didn’t. He chose to meet my needs.

My husband may not have proposed to me in a hot air balloon, but everyday he shows me that I’m important, valuable, and loved. Our daughters should expect nothing less from their spouses. In this glitzy, public world, let’s teach our daughters that true romance happens in small ways every day.