This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
Sometimes, support and understanding are all we need from our partner. It’s easier to experience life’s lows if there’s someone to give you compassion, active listening, and empathy. On the other hand, if the support’s absent and nowhere to be found, things get tougher, tougher, and tougher.
Do you and your partner ask each other the standard what’s up? How are you? How’s it goin? How was your day? I’m curious – do you listen? Do you tell? Do you emotionally bomb one another? Think about it for a minute and get honest with yourself.
Do you discuss your individual problems, concerns, wants, and wishes? Are you there for each other when the times are confusing, complicated, and challenging? Are you their shoulder, and they yours?
That’s what support is, or at least what one aspect of it is. Not having it is one of the things that can cause a relationship to suffer. It can make it easy to start thinking about how to leave your toxic relationship. However, lack of support isn’t toxic, and it won’t become toxic if you try to work on it. There’s a lot you can do to change the tides of your relationship.
Why Is Support In A Relationship Important?
Supportive relationships are healthy relationships. They’re caring relationships. They’re empathetic relationships. Most of all, relationships in which partners experience mutual support are extremely important to your and their emotional and mental well-being. That’s one of the essential reasons it’s crucial to share your life with a partner who’s there to support you and the things you do.
Having a partner who’s there to provide all the different types of support you need enhances your quality of life and allows you to reach new heights, both individually and within your relationship. And it works both ways. It feels good to be the point of support for your partner as well, to see them tap into all the potential they didn’t think they had.
However, the key lies in the mutual support. Only being on one end of it doesn’t cut it since support is important for both of you. And, it does not mean that your partner is solely responsible for your feelings. You are.
What Are The Important Aspects Of A Supportive Relationship?
Not all people know what it’s like to be in a relationship where you can truly rely on your partner. This is why the first step in your journey toward support is to explore what the aspects of such a relationship are.
10 Elements Of A Supportive Relationship
All relationships are unique. However, when it comes to support, you’d be surprised at just how many similarities there are from one supportive relationship to another. After all, happiness shares common characteristics across all relationships and support is no different.
Here are a couple of common threads:
- You and your partner spend quality time together on a regular basis.
- You listen to each other and show empathy toward your problems.
- You mutually encourage each other’s growth and development in different areas and using various methods.
- You pay attention to your partner’s feelings and the things going on in your lives.
- You offer help and you help your partner through the good as well as the bad.
- You refrain from judging each other and focus on discussing your differences if necessary.
- You foster tender and caring honesty.
- You and your partner both feel safe and secure in your relationship.
- You’re there for each other when you need it and can ask for what you want and need. And, if it is not possible for your partner to give it to you, you can understand and take care of yourself.
What Are The Characteristics Of A Supportive Partner?
To be completely honest, there’s no one set of skills that makes one partner supportive and the other one unsupportive. Support comes in many forms and takes on different shapes depending on each individual and the situation they’re finding themselves in.
However, there are certain traits that many supportive partners share. Knowing what they are can help both members of a relationship recognize whether they have them or not and start working toward becoming a better partner.
Traits Of A Supportive Partner
Some of the most common traits supportive partners exhibit include:
- Respect toward your partner’s feelings
- Ability to truly listen to what your partner has to say
- Showing true consideration for your partner’s problems
- Possessing the ability to say you’re sorry
- Not shaming your partner if they tell you no because it truly doesn’t work for them
- Being helpful when your partner needs it
- Respecting their “me” time
- Taking the time to be intimate with your partner
- Sharing your dreams and having common dreams with your partner
- Refraining from placing high expectations on your partner
- Viewing your partner’s needs with the same level of respect as you would your own
How Can I Build A More Supportive Relationship?
Not receiving the support you need is tough. However, know that it’s probably tough on your partner too if you’re the one failing to deliver the support they need. Luckily, building support is possible.
Support is not having and/or demanding expectations that are unclear and unrealistic.
First and foremost, know that offering support works both ways. It’s crucial to give support as well as to receive it. Second, noticing and getting honest that there is a lack of support in your relationship is something you and your partner can definitely work on together. It’s not a deal breaker, just a point of necessary improvement. You can do it, you just have to start!
13 Ways To Build Relationship Support
There’s no time like the present and no better way than to explore some of the things you and your significant other can do to enhance support in your relationship. Know that these methods are just the beginning and that support is something you keep giving.
Here’s how to start:
- Make an honest commitment to listen to your partner and do it
- Be clear about your want and/or need if asking and make sure it is realistic
- Be respectful to your partner’s point of view – when they are sharing it, even if you don’t agree, meet it with phrases like, “tell me more”, “is there anything else?”, “I’m glad you are sharing how you feel”.
- Be as empathetic as possible
- Try to offer help, not just wait for your partner to ask for it
- Communicate with your partner often and honestly
- Be there to encourage your significant other and spur them on
- Be there to talk to your partner’s ambitions, dreams, desires, and fears
- Grant your partner the benefit of the doubt and give them moments of necessary solitude
- Ask the questions you would like your partner to ask you.
- Model what you’d like
- Be completely present when your partner needs to talk
- Show your partner that you appreciate them
- Give your significant other a chance to do their things their way
- Practice doing small and thoughtful things
PIVOT Can Help You Incite Support Without Leaving A Potentially Unhealthy Relationship
If there isn’t ample support within your relationship, chances are that unhappiness will slowly come bubbling to the surface. From slowly losing the flame of your passion to gradually beginning to think about other people, lack of support can cause a lot of other issues.
This makes actively working on supporting your partner and experiencing support in your relationship one of the most important aspects of a healthy relationship. Sometimes, continually dating your partner isn’t enough and you have to put in more effort. However, there are times when you simply don’t know where or how to start tackling these issues.That’s where PIVOT comes in. We’ve assembled a team of experienced, caring, and empathetic coaches and advocates who guide you through both individual workshops and activities for inspiring support and couple retreats to help you find support mechanisms in your relationship. Reach out to us today and we’ll help you find your common ground.