It's not just compliments and sex he's hoping for, though, let's face it, he wouldn't mind a little more of those too.
Break out into a spontaneous dance party...
...Or whatever your silly side has the urge to do. Men feel relief when they get an occasional break from a woman's serious, action-oriented sides (which he's not knocking; he totally digs how ambitious and efficient you are). "Women today have to be very type A in order to get everything done, because there's just a lot—the kids, the carpools, the work presentation, keeping the house clean, and more," says couples therapist Laura Berman, Ph.D., author of Quantum Love. "So it's hard to remember that sometimes your relationship just needs a hit of fun—whether it's an impromptu bowling date, ordering pizza instead of slaving over the stove, or ignoring those work emails for an evening." It'll likely give you a hit of nostalgia from your early dating days, and a night of relaxation that you probably need in more ways than one.
Tell him how awesome he is.
Of course he's not going to complain when anyone says something nice about him (who would?), but hearing it from you means more, and experts say it's a man's number-one relationship need. "The most important thing husbands crave from their partners is appreciation and approval—but it's amazing how many of us are accustomed to telling our spouses what they're doing wrong without balancing that out with positive feedback," says relationship expert Andrea Syrtash, author of Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband). So for every time you whine about his football obsession or forgetting to take out the trash, remember to high-five him for picking up the kids from soccer or tell him how kickass his work presentation looked. It'll get you big-time brownie points, not to mention a very smiley husband.
Go out with the girls.
Throw in a load of laundry.
Okay, before we trigger any outrage, let us explain: In healthy relationships, housework is divided up, but it's not always split down the middle. What with jobs, kids and, uh, a life in the mix, sometimes one of you ends up cleaning more than the other. Which is cool—so long as it gets balanced out down the road, says Syrtash. And even if it's "his task" to do the laundry, if he's super swamped that week, do your best not to hem and haw about handling it. Tossing in a load sans complaint will show him you're a team, she says, and it's all about that ebb and flow.
Let him get a little vulnerable.
Alright, we admit it: The word "vulnerable" sounds all kinds of self-help-book cheesy. But until recently, it wasn't really a thing for men to embrace their soft sides, failures, or weaknesses. "In our society, men don't traditionally get to cry or admit they're feeling scared or hurt, and may feel shame because these things aren't 'manly,'" says Berman. "That's an unfair thing to ask of anyone, and leads to inauthenticity and broken communication." Encourage him to open up about something from his past, and let him know it's cool for him to always express how he's feeling—not just when he's playing the role of caretaker.
You're busy, overworked, exhausted. Girl, we feel you. But it may actually make you feel better if you get a little action, and he'll be on top of the world if you're the one to get things going. "Sex isn't just a physical need for men," says couples therapist Jill Vermeire. "It's also their way of feeling connected to you." She suggests just going for it—once a month could be a good goal—simply by sitting on his lap or tugging off his shirt. He'll get the message pretty quick...and be all sorts of stoked to continue.
Compliment how well he's balancing everything.
Ladies are pros at balancing everything, but give your guy some props because he's likely busy AF at work, too. In fact, maybe give him extra props: Research shows a woman's brain is built to be better at multi-tasking than a man's, so it's that much harder for him to juggle work life, home life, and a social life. And since you know heneeds those appreciative words now, feel free to throw a few of 'em his way to show him you've noticed how hard he's working.