“Music is one of those rare channels that allow men to express their feelings more naturally, whether they’re playing air guitar or even singing,” explains Magdoff. “It helps them get out any mindset.” When he pops in a playlist, he mentally transports himself back to a great concert, spring break, or his first date with you.
To help bring him to that feel-good mental state, have him lie down, and plug his headphones into your iPod. While you’re both lying there, scroll around, playing stuff that will make him smile. “It’s an instant mood-lifter and an opportunity to show just how well you understand him by choosing songs you know he loves,” says Thomas.
When was the last time you two spent an entire Saturday or Sunday indoors, doing nothing but watching movies in your pajamas? Sounds good, right? “In our fast-paced world, we feel the pressure to be productive all the time,” explains Thomas. “That’s why it’s so important to lock yourself away every now and then; and if you do it as a couple, it feels fun rather than antisocial.”
So rent a whole bunch of light, brainless flicks that you will both enjoy (like comedies and action films — skip the documentaries on the world’s various problems). “The point is to give your mind a break, not overwhelm it with more anxiety-provoking thoughts,” says Thomas. Then hole up at your pad all day, completely guilt free. Consider this an essential opportunity to recharge as a couple.
Tuck Him In
No, you’re not his mother, but if you see him sleeping on the couch or passed out on top of his bed, throw a blanket over him. This nurturing move brings him back to a kidlike place subconsciously, when paying rent or getting ahead at work didn’t weigh so heavily on his mind. There’s also a bonding benefit.
“Even in a sleep state, he’ll feel a surge of affection from your caring gesture,” says Yvonne Thomas, PhD, a Los Angeles psychologist specializing in relationships and self-esteem. “You’re making him comfortable, keeping him warm, and showing him that you pay attention to what his needs are.”