Have you ever noticed the many rows and rows of cards in a gift shop devoted specifically to women—mothers, wives and sisters?

Ever wonder why these affectionate gifts are so gender specific? Is it a woman's more emotional nature that is so tenderly touched by the few graceful lines of poetry on the attractive card or the vibrant colors on the bouquet of flowers?

No, of course not.

The secret behind these gender-specific gifts is that women thrive on feedback. The cards, the flowers, or the small tender presents show that he cares. They represent the time he took out of his day to think about me. It means that he values our relationship. He took the moments to drive to the store and he deliberated on what I would most appreciate. A woman may not need the flowers, cards or chocolates, but these tender gestures demonstrate to her that he cares. He remembered to choose my best color, or my favorite chocolates. It means the world to me that he showed that he cares.

Women need that feedback.

Self-help books on improving married life invariably provide practical suggestions to husbands on communicating their care better, listening better, and being more understanding. Buying flowers or cards is just one way of expressing this. She may not need the flowers, cards or chocolates, but these tender gestures demonstrate to her that he cares.

A husband neglecting to give his wife the attention that she needs or expects, notices her becoming withdrawn, irritable, upset, or in husband parlance, "nagging." Venture to ask her what's wrong and she's sure to rejoin, "nothing."

Never buy that.

What is a woman implying by her response? She is saying that if you care enough, if I am sufficiently important in your life, you'll keep asking. If our relationship is as important to you as it is to me, you won't accept my retort at face value, but you'll keep probing. As most husbands figure out soon enough, woe is to the man who assumes that nothing means nothing!

A man, on the other hand, may be comfortable sitting silently on the couch beside his wife, just knowing that she is his. He might be doing his thing and she might be doing hers, but he considers that spending time together.

But a woman, through her need for feedback reminds her man that over time their relationship can grow static. Gestures are important to reignite that flame of romance, longing and tenderness by reawakening the original dynamism and passion. She brings a message to the relationship that says reaching a comfort level is great, but let's not take one another for granted. Show me regularly that you care, not only in your heart, but also through your deeds.

I know of a wife who complained to her husband that he never buys her anything—not jewelry, not flowers, not cards. His staggered response was, "Honey, do I ever tell you not to spend the money? By all means, if you want jewelry or flowers go out and buy it!" He thought he was being generous, but of course he missed the point entirely of what she was lacking. It's not the time or money that you spent on me, it is the fact that you cared to spend the time and money.

Perhaps this natural dynamic is a reason why women are not obligated in the time-bound mitzvot of the Torah. Some of the traditional reasons given for this are the fact that women may be occupied with other more important things, namely her family life and children. Far from binding a woman to the chains of domesticity, this underlines the supremacy that Judaism places on the value of home life, and its precious regard for family and children—a goal that more and more of us are realizing in today's turbulent times.

Another reason given for women's exemption from these time-bound mitzvot is that she doesn't require the spiritual powers of these mitzvot for her unique spiritual make up. She intrinsically is in tune with the point of the mitzvah without the need to perform it.

What I think this means is that in our relationship with G‑d, mitzvot serve as connectors. Torah is full of do's and don'ts. Things that G‑d doesn't like us to do and things that He asks, please do this for Me. Mitzvot teach us not to take our relationship with Him for granted, but to maintain the connection, keep the passion and dynamism alive.

While a woman is equally obligated to abstain from the negative precepts of the Torah, she doesn't require the constant reminders of the time-bound, positive ones. She intrinsically understands the need for the positive gestures, and the feedback, because that is her own need.

Men on the other hand, need to be told specific directions. This is the prescribed formula for demonstrating a connection.

So, a woman doesn't need to send her husband flowers. The message of these tender gifts is a message that she already is sending him and knows how to send him—because this is a need of hers.

And so she doesn't need to wear a yarmulke or bind tefilin daily on her arm or pray at three specific times a day to remind her of G‑d's presence in her life, because He is a reality. Not because she is more spiritual. Not because she is a better person. But simply because feedback to a woman is as necessary as the air she breathes.

So husbands, the next time you pass by your local mall, take a few moments to stop by and visit the gift shop. Don't forget to remember her favorite color, too—she'll appreciate that you did.