5 Easy Ways to Support Your Partner
Supporting your partner can take on many forms; however if you are failing to provide support or are providing the wrong type of support, your relationship will definitely suffer.
But fear no more, here is your guide to 5 easy ways to support your partner.
1. Get fired up on your partner’s behalf
If you’ve ever been accused of “not being on your partner’s side” or “not getting it” or “being argumentative” when your partner is upset, this suggestion is for you.
Most times when someone is explaining a situation that feels really unjust, he/she doesn’t really want to be told that their feeling is wrong, an overreaction, not helpful (after all “control the controllables” so true but an annoying response), not worth getting “so upset” about, or that you need to consider the other person’s perspective.
Usually what your partner needs is to feel UNDERSTOOD…that you are on his/her SIDE!
Your partner likely wants to know that you get it, that you are with him/her and that you feel fired up on their behalf.
Unless your partner has a pattern of aggressive or erratic behavior do not fear him/her being upset, rather align with them and express that you get why he/she is so upset. And when you express it, use your tone of voice to match what you’re saying..or else it can sound condescending.
Usually, this expression of “getting it” and being upset WITH your partner all that is needed to support them in this moment and for him/her to move past it.
Some examples of what you can say include:
“I cannot believe that happened, that’s so frustrating!”
“I’m so sorry ________ said that, no one deserves to be treated that way!”
2. Use words + actions that demonstrate you are aware of your partner’s world + what he/she needs.
Feeling known is a major need in relationships. When you support your partner by articulating that you are aware of what he/she is going through or what his/her day looks like you are demonstrating support in a major way.
You are showing your partner that you really KNOW him or her. That you think of him/her throughout the day and “get it”.
Some ways of expressing this are:
“You must feel (fill in the blank) after your long day, how can I best support you?”
“The kids are relentless with their demands, you have to feel exhausted, why don’t you take a couple hours to yourself. I’ve got this.”
“I picked up dinner, I knew you had a long day and I didn’t want you to have to cook.”
“I know you have that work trip coming up, so all your clothes are clean and ready to be packed.”
3. Use words that express you understand your partner’s feelings
This one is similar to #1, but should be woven into the fabric of your conversations with your partner, instead of just making an appearance when your partner is fired up.
So as you talk with your partner, listen for ways to express that you “get” what is going on with him/her. That you get what they’re feeling or why they’re feeling the way they are.
Some suggested statements are:
“You must feel so overwhelmed sometimes with all that you have on your plate.”
“You have to feel so helpless when you have to meet your quotas at work but your boss has taken away your power to make decisions about how to do it.”
“You must feel lonely sometimes being home with the baby all day.”
You get bonus points for following these statements up with things like…
“What can I do to support you through this?”
“What can I take off your plate?”
“What can I do to help?”
“What can I do for you in this moment?”
4. Try meeting your partner’s needs before being asked
Ahhhh anticipating needs is the motherload of support, the jackpot, a skillset that you may or may not believe that you possess, but I challenge you to make this one happen. Stereotypically women are thought to be better at this BUT anyone can anticipate needs by just raising their awareness and focusing some attention on their partner for a moment. SO, close your eyes and think about what your partner is doing throughout their day. What may he/she be feeling? Experiencing? Now if you were in their shoes, what would you want someone to do for you? Or say to you? Try to come up with 2-3 ideas. Then execute one of them. Maybe it is just a statement of support because that’s what “does it” for your partner. Maybe it is a small gift. Maybe running an errand that he/she has dreaded and can’t seem to get done. Whatever it is, you get major bonus points for making this one happen without being asked.
5. Be a person of action not just easy statements like “let me know if you need anything”
“Let me know if you need anything” is such a common response that people give when they are wanting to sound supportive but aren’t really being supportive (or sure how).
Most people turn down generic offers of support, so instead come up with a few specific offers you can throw out there or practice JUST DOING instead of offering.
Some examples are:
“Hey, can I take the kids on Saturday? I know you haven’t had time alone in a while.”
“I put together your favorite snacks for your upcoming trip!”
Drop off a small gift. (this goes for friendships too)
Purchase/make your partner’s favorite dinner.
Take care of a task that your partner really dreads.
Demonstrating support goes a long way in relationships to helping your partner feel loved, visible, valued, and appreciated. Hopefully this helps and if you do’t really know what your partner needs, check out this post: How to meet your partner’s needs in 3 easy steps.
Or download the free cheatsheet GET TO KNOW YOUR PARTNER’S NEEDS.
I’d love to hear, what ways do you show support to your partner?
About the Author: Dr. Morgan Cutlip
I am a wife, a mom, a PhD in Psychology and an advocate and life-long lover of all things relationships. My work centers around creative content development for My Love Thinks as well as research on the Love Thinks programs. I have a particular passion for helping my generation of Millennials find love, happiness, and longevity in their relationships. Oh yeah I have conducted several studies on the Love Thinks programs as well as research on the high divorce rate of female soldiers. If you are into reading that stuff, you can find it at www.lovethinks.com. PS I am available for questions so hit me up at email@example.com.