As marriage goes on, we all get stuck in our responsibilities, especially those pertaining to our career. Men wrap their egos in what they do for a living. Still, many wives complain that their husband is working all of the time and when he isn’t, he hardly pays her any attention at all. So do men trade success for their marriage? Many men see their ability to provide as showing love. The more they can provide the more love they are showing, though this is a mistake. Certainly, they want to make their family including their spouse proud. Also there is a lot of pressure to perform. It’s not only guys today. More and more women are entering the workforce better educated than ever before. Lots of women are the breadwinners and there is a growing number of stay at home dads. This phenomenon certainly affects them as well. Still, no matter your gender, it’s is so important to not put your marriage on the backburner in order to focus all of your energies on your career. Learn to prioritize and schedule time wisely. Delegate to coworkers, subordinates and others, though make sure not to overdo it. Teleconference so that you can cut out commute time and spend that time with your wife or husband. There are plenty of other things you can do on the other side of life, the household that will increase happiness and show your love and engagement.
Don’t just say “I love you” though those are important words to hear. Say “How are you?” This little phrase is very powerful. It communicates care and opens things up for communication. Sometimes all your spouse needs to do is vent or have their emotions validated. It doesn’t have to take long but will make all of the difference to them. Once you return to the homestead, be fully engaged in home life. If you need a little time to relax when you first get in the door, it’s completely understandable. Twenty minutes or a half an hour alone should do the trick. But if you are answering work emails or lost in your iPad when your partner wants to talk, you are not taking part in appropriate behavior. Be there and focused on your spouse when you are home and your relationship will have less conflict and will be a lot happier. Sometimes, just do a little something to show that you care. Plan a night out. Get a sitter if you have kids and surprise your spouse. Get them a thoughtful gift or do some gesture to show your love, like sending them flowers or their favorite fruit in a gift basket, just because. Take a minute or two here and there and send them a message. A love note hidden where they will find it, a nice massage after a long day, a sexy email, a sweet text or a phone call out of the blue just to say, “I love you.” For more on getting the most out of your relationship, read Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay Ph.D., Patrick Fanning and Kim Paleg Ph.D.