As humans, we are emotional beings who always crave love, care, respect, and support.
Friends and family are important, but we all desire to have that special someone in our lives who would love us unconditionally and be by our side, no matter what goes wrong!
The support of our partner in the lowest moments can help us boost our confidence to another level. However challenging a situation is, a supportive partner’s presence can make us believe that everything will be alright!
Being a supportive partner seems like an essential part of a relationship, but some people may not know the best ways to be a supportive husband, wife, or significant other.
There are different kinds of support in a relationship, as well as several important reasons for supporting your spouse or significant other.
What does it mean to be a supportive partner?
There is no clear cut example of what it means to be a supportive partner. The idea of being supportive that holds for you might not work for another.
Ultimately, having a supportive partner means that your needs are met in the relationship, whatever these may be.
One way to know you have a supportive partner or that you are supportive in a relationship is to look at the concept of choice.
A supportive partner allows their significant other to make choices.
An encouraging partner allows their SO to make choices about the direction their life will take, such as whether they change jobs or go back to school.
Similarly,a supportive partner is someone who is encouraging.
Instead of doubting your significant other’s abilities, if you are supportive, you will express your belief that they are capable of meeting their goals, and you will encourage them to go after new dreams.
Being a supportive partner also means making your partner feel important and respected.
This requires listening to and considering your partner’s opinion and making them a priority in your life.
The aforementioned traits are reflective of a supportive partner.
But it is also helpful to understand that being supportive in a relationship does not simply mean you go along with everything your significant other says or give in to every demand, nor does it mean spending every waking moment with your partner.
A supportive partner also challenges their significant other when they are not making the best choices for themselves, in addition to giving their partner space to explore their own interests.
While a supportive partner may mean different things for different people, if you are supportive in a relationship, your partner will feel like you are their safe place, and they can be themselves with you.
Being a supportive wife may include some of these traits:
Being able to listen to your spouse without judgment
Having an ability to encourage your partner to be the best version of themselves
Refraining from placing expectations on your spouse, such as pressuring them to make a certain amount of money
Viewing their needs as being just as important as yours
Much like a supportive spouse should be honest with you, it is important to be honest with them in order to be a supportive wife.
Of course, some of the traits of a supportive wife may apply to a supportive husband, and vice versa, as every relationship is different, with each partner assuming different roles depending upon the needs of the couple.
20 steps to becoming a supportive partner
If you are wondering how to take on some of the traits of a supportive husband or wife or a supportive boyfriend or girlfriend, you can take certain steps to support your partner.
There are different kinds of support, such as emotional support, being supportive through motivation and encouragement, or supporting your partner through making them feel important and respected.
Here are 20 tips for overcoming lack of support and learning how to be a supportive partner:
1. Make a commitment to truly listen to your part
Research shows that active, responsive listening is essential for well-functioning intimate relationships.
Responsive listening requires you to be actively interested in and participating in the conversation. You can do this by taking time to ask questions, so you can truly understand your partner’s perspective.
2. Respect your partner’s point of view
It is important to respect your partner’s point of view instead of making judgments based upon your own perspective.
For example, if your partner shares with you that he is interested in a career change, eliminate your judgments and try to truly understand where he is coming from with this desire.
3. Be empathetic
It requires you to put yourself in your partner’s shoes.
For instance, if you are annoyed that they are venting to you about a bad day at work, think about how you might feel if you had a conflict with a coworker and wanted to talk to someone about it.
4. Don’t always make your partner ask for your help or support
Sometimes, it can be difficult to ask for help, or your partner may feel guilty, placing a burden upon you.
If you notice your partner is going through a challenging situation, anticipate what they might need from you, and provide it without their asking.
5. Communicate to your partner often that you two are a team
When life gets difficult, be sure to communicate to your partner that you two are a team or a united front. Express that you want to remain supportive of each other.
6. Truly encourage your partner and be their biggest supporter
When your partner accomplishes something or is facing a challenge, be sure to let them know you are rooting for them.
Something as simple as saying, “I am so proud of you,” or, “I know you can handle his” will go a long way.
7. Give time to talk about your partner’s dreams and ambitions
Take time to sit down and talk about your partner’s hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. This shows your partner that you support them in growing and becoming the best version of themselves.
8. Take advantage of opportunities to lighten your partner’s load
Whether this is taking your partner’s car in for an oil change on your day off or agreeing to take the kids out of the house for a few hours so your spouse can enjoy a few hours of alone time, your partner will appreciate the support.
9. Give your partner some time to cool off or relax by themselves
If your partner comes in the door from work and seems stressed, grumpy, or simply not in the mood to talk, recognize this fact and give him or her a few minutes of alone time to unwind, without taking it personally.
10. Try to be an understanding partner
The occasional late day spent at the office or canceling of dinner plans because they are too tired should not lead to guilt or a fight.
Understand that your partner can still respect you, even when they have to prioritize something else from time to time.
11. Ask your partner about how they spent the day
Make an effort to always ask your partner how their day was, and remember the details.
It is easy to ask your partner about their day and then tune them out, so you forget important details later. This may make them feel a lack of support.
12. Apologize when you are wrong
Part of being supportive in a relationship is being able to apologize when you are wrong, such as when you fail to do something you promise you would do or when you wrongfully accuse your partner of something they didn’t do.
13. Avoid distractions when your spouse wants to have a conversation with you
This means silencing your phone and avoiding checking your email when your partner wants to discuss something that is important to them.
14. Schedule regular check-ins with your partner
Things may seem to be going well, but having a weekly conversation about how things are going and whether they need more or different support from you can prevent small problems from becoming big issues.
15. Be a patient listener
Do not become angry or complain when your partner shares with you a stressful situation or challenge they are facing. They should feel at ease approaching you when they need to vent or seek support for a challenge in their lives.
16. Appreciate your partner
Take time to praise your partner for their accomplishments, and remind them that you appreciate the things they do for you.
17. Practice small, thoughtful acts
You can practice thoughtful acts such as taking your partner’s car through the car wash when you are out, or taking on an extra chore they usually do.
18. Let your partner do things their own way
They may occasionally do something differently than you would, but chastising them for it shows a lack of support.
19. Avoid talking your partner out of their feelings
You may be uncomfortable with your spouse or significant other’s unpleasant emotions, but telling them, “Don’t be upset,” can make them feel unsupported.
Instead, validate their feelings and let them have a conversation about their emotions.
20. Do not make unreasonable assumptions
Show understanding instead of questioning your partner or making assumptions.
You may not always agree with a choice they make, but jumping right to the conclusion that they are wrong does not show support. Instead, giving the benefit of the doubt is an important way of supporting your partner.
The aforementioned twenty steps to becoming a supportive partner are things you can implement today to overcome a lack of support in your relationship or simply to do better at supporting each other in your relationship.
Being supportive in a relationship is beneficial, as it creates trust and a solid foundation. When you are a supportive husband, wife, or partner, your significant other will know that they can count on you, and you are their safe place.
This sets the stage for a healthy relationship in which you and your partner are a team. Following the twenty steps for becoming a supportive partner does not require any significant, life-altering changes.
Instead, it involves small but meaningful steps that can really change the dynamic of your relationship for the better.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.