“I’m really proud of you.”
A man wants to make you proud, says Jason Weberman, a dating and relationship coach and founder of North Star Coaching. But he won’t necessarily come straight out and say how psyched he is about his accomplishments. That’s where you come in, especially since letting your husband know you’re impressed when he comes home from, say, a big-deal day at work makes it clear you’re paying attention to the details of his life.
“I’m having a flashback to 10 p.m. last Saturday.”
It’s flirtatious, playful, and a perfect statement to try out when you’re both elbow-deep in diaper duty. Sex is an important part of your marriage–even when it’s not the first thing on your mind–and by bringing it up out of context, you’re reminding him of that. It’s good for your bond, and makes it more likely an encore performance will occur ASAP.
No matter what else is going on, a simple expression of gratitude goes a long way toward resetting the conversation. Say you and he come in the door after a totally insane day. Before you launch into your usual what-did-you-do-today conversation, thank your husband for something he did earlier. Even if you reference an act as minor as sending you a LOL link, it’s an instant connector statement that puts you both on the same page.
“Wine bar, 8 o’ clock, meet me there.”
We’re not saying you should always take charge of date night, but if you’ve been trying to get one on the calendar for months, taking the plan-making reigns can be super-sexy. “Being spontaneous can remind you both that not only do you share commitment and stability, but you also have fun in common,” says Dylan Thrasher, a relationship expert and author of How to Find and Create Lasting Love.
“I think that woman was checking you out!”
If you notice someone giving your man a backward glance, letting him in on the news is a harmless stroke to his ego–and to your relationship. Obviously, you shouldn’t be spending every second scanning the room–or giving the stink eye to women who may also find your husband attractive–but it’s great to let him know you feel lucky he’s yours. “Showing your partner that you acknowledge that others find him attractive boosts his self-esteem,” says Thrasher. “It also indicates that you’re comfortable with your bond and not jealous of strangers.”
“My coworker couldn’t stop admiring those earrings you gave me.”
Men are typically insecure about shopping for their wives, so if he’s given you something you love, the benefits of cluing him in are twofold. Knowing not only gives you a good chance of receiving a similar gift in the future, but it also shows that you acknowledge him–not just the present. “Surveys of long-term couples show that while women want to feel desired, men most want to feel appreciated,” says Thrasher.
“You need to go to bed.”
You and your husband are both grown-ups with the to-do lists and daily dramas to prove it, but everyone wants to feel taken care of from time to time. Telling him he looks exhausted or run-down and giving him the occasional evening of TLC–and, of course, expecting him to do the same for you–is essential for maintaining the give-and-take a marriage demands, says Weberman.
“Let’s turn it into a bet.”
Occasionally wagering things–from how True Detective will end to whether his annoying coworker will once again decide to serenade the happy hour crew with “Africa” by Toto at karaoke–gives you an inside joke to add to your arsenal, which can make you feel even more like you’re on the same team, says Thrasher. In addition, the competitive angle adds a little bit of spiciness to your connection–especially if the reward is X-rated.