When he first comes home from work, your partner is at his most vulnerable. How you handle this small window of time can have an enormous impact on your relationship. But it is often mishandled, making men feel drained and taken for granted.
When we are waiting for our partners, our instinct is often to treat them as we would like to be treated. We make them the center of attention as soon as they walk in. In return, some men retreat or even get angry! "I just need a few minutes." "Can't I have five minutes to myself?" Whaaaat's going on? Why doesn't he appreciate coming home to a loving partner?!
The reason for this is simple: he needs to decompress. He needs to switch from "work mode" to "home mode". In order to do this, he needs to be able to stop thinking about work.
We often think about several things at the same time. However, most men prefer to work through one idea at a time. When he comes home from work, he may not be done thinking about all his "work thoughts". Until he sees those thoughts through to a logical conclusion or ending-point, they will nag at him. It's like trying to read a website with a big, neon popup flashing in the corner. He won't be able to be fully present, and he will find your bid for attention to be tiring rather than flattering.
Instead of overwhelming him, allow him to come to you. Greet him warmly, then busy yourself with something while he decompresses. I find making my partner a warm drink and then reading is a great thing to busy myself with. Each man is different in his decompression activity and how long it takes - if you don't know what your partner's is, try to figure it out. My fiance likes to read the news on his phone. Maybe yours likes to go to the garage to tinker, or play with the dog.
When he's decompressed, he'll approach you warmly. Only then should you initiate the "after work conversation" about how his day was.
During this conversation, he may tumble out any last 'work thoughts' he can't resolve easily. Your job here is not to try to solve them (unless he explicitly asks for advice) but provide two gifts he cherishes. Fist, validate his concerns. Then, offer a small piece of admiration. Is he tired of the long hours needed to meet a deadline? Acknowledge that it must be exhausting and thank him for working so hard for your family. Or maybe he has an annoying coworker; it must be hard to get anything done with someone like that around but you're impressed by how well he handles that shit-slinging baboon of an accountant. This show of support is often the last thing he needs to get into "home mode". It flips the switch.
He's in his haven now.
SO... What's your partner's after-work decompression ritual? What do you do to make this time a "soft landing" for him?