If there is one truth out there, it would be that women are the absolute best when it comes to tuning things out and listening. With the exception of a few men, we are awful at it. We can't key in, we can't turn our brains off and take it all in. We usually have to bite a hole in our lips so we don't interrupt and give our unwanted opinions on whatever it is our wives are trying to tell us. If there is a television, kids screaming, or anything shiny that may distract us, forget about it. It isn't our fault, that is how we are wired.
It is everything we can do to follow the rules of being a good listener, and if there is any type of diversion, we are doomed. Women have the uncanny ability to listen with focus and empathy, no matter what is going on. I have found that men can take or leave the attention, but women need undivided attention from their spouses. Even if I don't get it, I still need to come through and be a good listener. Happy wife, you keep your life.
The ideal time to have a conversation is when all the kiddos are in bed, and all the electronic distractions are out of reach. The reality? Most of the time, when we get all six of our kids situated, we are pooped. The solution: Date Night.
Here's the reality, Date Night isn't always the easiest thing to pull off. If the kids are younger, there is a babysitter issue. If you have young athletes or active children like my wife and I, you are always on the go. There are more reasons to forget Date Night than to go to all the trouble of trying to pull it off. Sometimes you have to convince your spouse it is worth the effort, especially if they are feeling you aren't enough paying attention to them anyway. My kids are not particularly crazy about Date Night. "Why can't we go?" is asked more often than not. My answer, "Mommy and Daddy love you very much, but Date Night is for your own good too." There have been many times where we don't even go until they are asleep.
Ideally, Date Night would consist of a nice dinner and maybe a movie. I'm not talking about dinner at a noisy bar, dummies. I am talking somewhere quiet, where you can be a good listener. Date Night should be somewhere you can turn the phones off, look at each other, and be a good husband. What do you talk about?? Whatever she wants. Ironically, you usually end up talking about the kids you are trying to escape from, but that's alright. Sometimes Date Night consists of getting some shopping done. Many times the end of our special night out consists of driving around talking until we think the kids are safely in their beds.
Date Night doesn't have to be an event. If it's a nice night, sit outside. Have a picnic in your bedroom and turn on a white noise movie - something you have both seen a 1000 times so it doesn't matter if you pay attention to it. Carve out a couple of hours a week, be creative, and thank me later.