In an era in which "overthinking" is an accepted concept, I frequently find myself going back to basics. Today's basic marital communication principal is the emotional presence we have for one another which, ultimately creates the depth of our relational bonds.
I have had this marital "talk" with men over the decades and again recently, focusing on some simple but pretty classic themes. The couple is so often lovely, they clearly love one another and their kids. They're working hard, very hard and they're exhausted. We often don't know how exhausting any given project can be until we are in the middle of it, and with kids. once you're in the middle of it there's no going back (unless abandonment is your thing.) There's not a lot of "me time" that can be had. But of course, parents have to have it, both for themselves as an individual and for themeselves as a couple. And like a lot of things, individual and couple time is easy to say and often hard to do. But it's critical.
So I instruct them in the basics (it's often the guy who struggles with these things.) Ask about her day, how she's doing, respond with more than monosyllabic sounds, ask her to say more, and look at her, deeply. As I said these words I often see her nodding and smiling in agreement and sumultaneously I see the fatigue in his eyes.
Marital communication is so much more than just the words and the content. It's the emotional investment. I'll ever remember a medical director's group supervision sessions early in my career. The staff loved him because in addition to his academic and practice knowledge, he brought his emotional self to our meetings. We would pack ourselves into a small room, it was literally SRO for these meetings, and people would pour out their hearts about the struggles of working with patients on an intensive care locked psychiatric unit. He would look at us and say "Yeah." A simple word of agreement with a tone and demeanor of hearing deeply what we were saying, looking straight at us. It was the ultimate validation from someone we trusted and really needed in the midst of very demanding work. He would, of course, go on to say lots of other things, but that "yeah" was the salve that comforted.
So too in marriage. Listening, validating, being present are so important. But I believe it's also the emotional availability that we bring to our marriages that are so critical, even when overloaded (maybe especially when overloaded). It provides a critical salve for the relationship. Yes it takes time, and certainly a lot of energy, and for those who struggle with being aware of their emotional selves it's a steeper climb, but having an emotional attachment is what marriage is, essentially, all about.