1. When He Needs Space
Sharing office news, the kids’ schedules and the latest neighborhood drama as soon as your husband walks in the door each night can backfire. “Most women want to immediately connect at the end of the day. For a lot of guys, they need their space more than ever then,” says Les Parrott III, PhD, a psychology professor and co-author (with wife and marriage therapist Leslie Parrott, EdD) of The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Bring You Closer. Give your hubby a few minutes to unwind when he comes home. You’re more likely to get his undivided attention if you wait.
2. When He’s Really Listening
If it seems like your husband constantly tunes you out, consider this: Men may look at other areas of the room while still paying attention, according to Deborah Tannen, author of You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, who reviewed videotapes of same-sex best friends talking. Rather than focus on where your husband’s gaze lands during conversations, note how he responds to you. If your words are truly falling on deaf ears, Rachel A. Sussman, a relationship specialist and author of The Breakup Bible, suggests gently telling him you feel he isn’t listening; then, let him respond. “Don’t accuse or blame him,” she advises.