There is no way a man can meet all the emotional needs of a woman. No matter how much you love your wife, no matter how much you both enjoy being with each other, there is still a need that usually can only be met by another woman. When you hear your wife on the phone chatting away with her friend you may be thinking it's useless prattle. It's not. It is the very thing that may keep her sane, or at least less stressed. Though men need friends too, their needs are different.

Actress Kyra Sedgwick, married 25 years to her devoted husband, Kevin Bacon, said, "It's great to have a wonderful relationship with a man, but there's nothing like friendship with women... . I think there is an almost desperate need to connect."

That's true. Women need to connect with other women. Your wife is made that way. It's not a threat to your relationship with her. She's not trying to replace you. What she gains from her female friends is something you cannot give her, and you don't need to.

Here are a few things your wife gains from her female friends

1. A sense of normalcy

When she and her friends share their worries about their kids your wife finds out she's not the only one with kid problems, or many of the other multitudes of challenges women face. Talking about them with her friends makes her feel normal, and that can be a big relief.

2. A proven-good recipe for dinner

. When is the last time you heard men talking about the details of a great recipe they fixed for the family? That's not what most men talk about, even with their wives. Women friends are always sharing ideas for meals. It's hard to come up with what-to-fix day after day. When her friend cooks something her husband and kids loved then she is inspired to do the same for you and your family. It's motivating, and you will be the beneficiary.

3. Where to get the best buys

. That goes not only for groceries but for just about every imaginable thing a woman may want. They talk about the best places to get the best prices. They talk about the latest fashions, the latest food craze, etc. If you happen to catch a bit of conversation she's having about something she wants to buy that's not in your budget, you may feel a bit panicky. Don't worry. She's just talking about it. If you have a good relationship, she won't act on it without your knowledge. Just talking about it can sometimes be all she needs to do. It's called "dreaming out loud." Who knows, maybe, as a result of their conversation, that friend will give you a clue for a great gift idea for your honey.

4. A shoulder to cry on

When pain or sorrow enters her life she will most likely turn to you, first. That's as it should be, but men usually tire of hearing about it to the depth women need to go. If your wife has a female friend who will listen and hug her through some tough times, then you are a lucky man. Sorrows shared with a good friend become much more bearable.

5. Someone with whom to exercise

Have you ever watched women walking together? They don't just walk they talk. Walking or working out at a gym will lead to better health, physical and mental, and it's more likely to happen if she has a friend. If you're the exercising type, that friend can be you. If it is, just be ready to do some good old-fashioned listening and sharing. That's what makes it enjoyable.

Caution for wives

Here's a little heads up for women: Good relationships with your female friends are healthy as long as they're not excessive. These relationships must never push your husband out of the picture. Be sure to continue enjoying talking and being with him. Your friends are like rays of sunshine, brightening your day when needed. Your husband is more like the sun itself, steady and constant, always there at the center of your life. Keep these relationships in the proper perspective and your life will be more complete and happy.

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