Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been with your partner for years, learning how to be more supportive can make all the difference in the world. In this article, I will share five proven ways you can work on being more supportive in your relationships to ensure you keep them healthy and strong.
The Importance of Being a Supportive Partner
Being a supportive partner is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship. When you are supportive, you are showing your partner that you care about them and that you are there for them no matter what. This can help to build trust and strengthen your bond as a couple.
Support can come in many forms, from offering emotional support during a difficult time to being there to help your partner achieve their goals. When you are a supportive partner, you create a safe and secure environment for your relationship to thrive. You are also obeying God’s commandment to love others as you love yourself (see Matthew 22:39).
Understanding Your Partner’s Needs
One of the most important things you can do to be a more supportive partner is to understand your partner’s needs. This means taking the time to listen to them and really hear what they are saying. When you understand your partner’s needs, you can work together to find solutions to problems and create a stronger bond.
To understand your partner’s needs, it’s important to communicate openly and honestly. This means being willing to listen without judgment and to express your own feelings in a constructive way. When you can communicate effectively with your partner, you can build a foundation of trust and respect that will help your relationship to thrive.
Communicating Effectively with Your Partner
Communication is key to any successful relationship, and it’s especially important when it comes to being a supportive partner. To communicate effectively with your partner, it’s important to be open and honest about your feelings and to listen to your partner when they express theirs.
One way to improve your communication is to practice active listening. This means focusing on what your partner is saying and trying to understand their perspective. When you can do this, you are better able to respond in a supportive way and can work together to find solutions to problems. Be aware, however, that active listening involves listening more than it does talking. Give your partner an ear they can vent to without offering advice unless they ask for your opinion. That’s where a lot of us go wrong when it comes to active listening.
Another important aspect of effective communication is being willing to compromise. This means being open to finding solutions that work for both you and your partner, even if they are not exactly what you had in mind. When you can compromise, you are showing your partner that you care about their needs. You make it clear to them that you are truly willing to work with them to find mututally beneficial solutions.
Showing Appreciation and Gratitude
Another important way to be a supportive partner is to show your significant other that you appreciate them and are grateful for them. This means taking the time to acknowledge the things they do for you and to express your gratitude for their presence in your life. When you show appreciation and gratitude, you are reinforcing the positive aspects of your relationship and creating a stronger bond with your partner.
One way to do this is to make a habit of expressing gratitude daily. This can be as simple as saying “thank you” for small things that your partner does, or it can be a more elaborate expression of appreciation for something they have done that has had a big impact on your life. If you really want to make an impressive show of gratitude, you can keep a daily gratitude journal for a year. Write down the awesome things your significant other does or is, and then present that journal to him/her at the end of the year. That sort of gift is something they will treasure forever.
Taking Initiative and Being Proactive
Being a supportive partner also means taking initiative and being proactive. This means being willing to step up and take action when your partner needs your help or support. It could also mean something as simple as sending a quick message to say you love them and you’re thinking about them.
For example, if your partner is going through a difficult time, you might offer to take care of some of their responsibilities so they can focus on themselves. Or you might take the initiative to plan a special date or surprise for your partner to show them how much you care. Even something like sitting down at the end of the day and asking how they’re doing can help you two connect on a deeper, more intentional, level.
When you are proactive in taking the initiative, you show your partner that you are invested in your relationship and are willing to do what it takes to make it work.
Supporting Your Partner’s Goals and Aspirations
Finally, being a supportive partner means supporting your partner’s goals and aspirations. Be there to cheer them on when they succeed, and offer encouragement when they face challenges.
To support your partner’s goals and aspirations, it’s important to practice your active listening skills so you can fully understand what they are trying to achieve. You can then offer your support in a way that is meaningful and helpful, whether that means offering feedback on their progress or helping them to overcome obstacles that stand in their way.
Is your significant other working on making a career move by going back to school at the same time they’re working a day job? Maybe they’re trying to finish writing the book that’s been on their heart and mind for their whole lives. Or maybe they’re training to complete their first marathon. You can offer practical support in any of these situations by taking over household duties, spending more time with the kids, or making healthier lifestyle choices in solidarity.
Remember that word “compromise” we talked about before? It’s going to come in handy in these situations. You’ll also need to keep in mind that when you support your partner’s goals and aspirations, you show them you are there to help them achieve their dreams. You believe in them. There’s no better way to be more supportive.
Dealing with Challenges and Conflicts
Of course, even the strongest relationships face challenges and conflicts from time to time. When this happens, it’s important to approach the situation with a supportive mindset.
This means being willing to listen to your partner’s perspective and working together to find a solution that works for both of you. It also means being willing to compromise and be patient as you work through the issue.
When you approach challenges and conflicts in a supportive way, you are showing your partner that your relationship with them matters. You are completely committed to it, and you are willing to work on areas that could be improved.
It’s Worth the Work
Working on being more supportive is one of the most important things you can do for your relationship. By understanding your partner’s needs, communicating openly, showing appreciation and gratitude, taking initiative, supporting your partner’s goals and aspirations, and dealing effectively with challenges and conflicts, you can create a lasting, unbreakable bond with your partner. And this bond will honor not only your partner, but also your Heavenly Father.
Remember, being a supportive partner is not always easy, but it is always worth it. By putting in the effort to be there for your partner, you are creating a relationship that is built on trust, respect, and mutual support. So, go forth and be the best supportive partner you can be! And if you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends and family.
Have tips of your own about how to be a more supportive partner? Please share them in the comments.
Mishael Austin Witty is a lover of Jesus, cats, coffee, and books. She is a wife to one man and mother of two girls. She serves as a discipleship coach, Sunday School teacher, children's church helper, and food pantry organizer. You can read more about the author here.