I think women are complicated creatures. Trying to understand them is like trying to understand the brain. What makes it even worse they differ from one woman to the next. I think the best approach is being you and let her see that, she'll take it or leave it.
On your friends magazine story I think what you are trying to explain is heroism. Women love hero's, that's a fact and it's huge. If you can be a hero to a woman you've won her. In our regular day to day lives this can hardly come by. Small heroic acts though are possible just like the story you gave us. 😊
Even though women love testing. That's a really grey area. Some women take it to the extreme making us go through emotional roller coasters. They might then apologize later and tell us how they love us. That is not good at all.