1. Try to Actually Learn About Said Career
First and foremost-it’s not beyond you to learn the basics of your spouse’s career path. They don’t make that line of “dummy” books for nothing. Do a little research, and pick up the “Complete Idiots Guide to Aerospace Engineering,” or whatever it is your partner specializes in, and get to reading. Is your person’s job too obscure for that? Consider picking up an entry level text book- think Biomechanics 101- and see what you can make of it. For bonus points, you can even ask your spouse for a recommendation on what to read to learn the basics. They’ll likely be touched that you’re trying at all, and you might spend more quality time with them than you expect as they talk you through some of the more confusing concepts.
2. Talk About Work- But Be Vague
3. Focus on Your Partner’s Feelings and Reactions
Similar to “Be Vague” up there, this is your chance to have a meaningful discussion with your husband or wife without having complete understanding of the goings-on at work. Ask about their reaction to something that happened, or if you know a big deadline is approaching, ask how they feel about the deadline- are they ready? Stressed? Nervous? You’ll get them to open up more often than not, without having to dive into some of the more complex details.
4. Inquire About Their Coworkers
I like to ask Michael who he is working on the project with, who he went to lunch with, and the like. Follow up with them about their coworkers who are out on leave, or ask how so-and-so is liking the new house. You can even work them into your “Be Vague” questions by asking how a coworker you know reacted to a certain situation. Even if you’re not sure what’s going on at work, you can find out about the people who make their day meaningful and a little more fun while keeping the focus on your spouse and their workday.
5. Stick with What You Do Know