9 steps to becoming a supportive partner
Being in love is amazing. And being loved back is even better. You have this person who believes in you, puts up with you at your worst, cares for you and is someone you can always fall back on. If you’re reciprocating all this, then keep at it. If not, then you should know that telling someone you love them and proving it are two different things. A relationship needs a lot of things to flourish and survive. Any one of the pieces goes missing, the whole thing becomes shaky. One of such things is support. You may have love, trust, respect and honesty, but if you’re not being supportive, they’ll feel something missing.
Unless they’re putting themselves in harm’s way, support them in everything they do. Here are 9 ways to you could do just that:
1. Listen intently
It might work in the movies, but despite how eyes can speak, or how that special connection enables you to understand your partner without saying anything; the reality of the matter is quite different. It’s true that with time you learn each other’s gestures, expressions and body language, but even then, words are always needed. A lot can happen over time, but you cannot become telepathic.
So when your partner is making your life easier by talking to you about stuff they want to do, or the things they like or what intimidates them the most or any number of things, do yourself a favor, and LISTEN! Absorb every little thing that comes out of their mouth. It shows you care enough to pay attention. Even if it’s something you can’t help them with, all they might want from is for you to just hear them out.
2. They should come first
Being able to think of someone else even before yourself shows just how much that person means to you. Placing their needs and wants before your own is not easy. Let’s face it. We’re all selfish, maybe some more than others. But we would never do something for someone if we don’t like it, or it doesn’t benefit us, or it’s just a lot of effort for getting nothing in return.
But when in love, you want them to have everything in the world. They mean the most to you. And even though you do place them first in some things, it’s not always the case. Love is never selfish, never!
3. Laugh with and at each other
The people that can make you laugh, are the best kind of people. There’s this level of comfort and like-mindedness that you share with them. It’s irreplaceable. Being in a relationship doesn’t have to be all about deep conversations that put you in a trance. Be silly and goofy around each other. A good laugh is always needed and welcomed. Find something funny in situations to ease things. There’s no harm in laughing at yourself, or something you did, or something they did.
4. Be attentive
Attention is what every human is designed to crave. Some may deny it, some may accept it and then there are others who are just needy. Anyhow, however long you’ve been in your relationship, never allow yourself to believe that you fully know each other. People are constantly changing, and those changes are gradual and initially may not be as visible as say, a different hair color.
Never stop observing your partner. There is always going to be something new. You’ll be surprised by the things you can learn about someone even after spending years together.
5. Be the helping hand
Make each other’s life easier. If you have spare time and they’re up to their ears with something, ease their burden. It’s something that comes almost naturally. You tend to look out for each other and do whatever you can to make life less difficult.
6. We’re in this together’, say it, mean it, and act on it!
As a couple you’re going to go through a lot of things together. And these are the times when you both need each other the most. Don’t ever fall short of doing your part. Always be there for them. You’re equal partners. Whatever the matter may be, you both are a part of it and you’re going to deal with it together.
7. Accept and apologize for your lack of support
To err is human. You may have failed to give them the backing they needed, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the world. And they shouldn’t have to point it out for you. Keep an open mind so that you can recognize your own mistakes. But recognition alone does not do the job. Apologize. And try not to do the same thing again.
They might not always need your support, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want it either. Don’t let that slip out of your mind.
8. Own up to your mistakes and apologize for them
Mistakes being unintentional can be forgiven. So apologize fearlessly. Apologizing doesn’t hurt your pride, and it doesn’t make you any less of a person. All it says about you is that you’re trying to set things right, you’re capable of realizing the error in your ways. And you’re willing to change things. You’d never do anything intentionally to hurt your partner in any way. Make sure they know that.
9. Be honest
You’re the one person they’re closest to in the whole wide world. They depend on your for a lot of things. One of which is honesty. They trust you to be entirely honest with them, whether it’s something about you or something about themselves. Truth can be bitter. Be sure that you’re not harsh with them. Be honest, but don’t forget to keep the choice of your words and the tone of your voice in check.
Practice all of this, and you’ll see things getting much better than they were before. A work in progress nonetheless.