As couples in the world, we often get confusing relationships advice. Despite the fact it isn’t always clear, the inner world of our love relationship is the most rewarding and important. The rest of our lives should flow from that. Until we have that tended to, we can’t expect to have a healthy relationship. It is fairly obvious how to show the world outside we have affection for our partner: we hold their hand, show them off, ask their opinion in public etc. These are gestures of love that show affection not support. Support is part of your “inner world” as a couple that is often never seen. Even your closest friends may not see things said and done in this inner world of a couple.
You’ll read and hear a lot of advice on relationships in your life so be sure and use discernment. People in a relationship need support for many reasons. It could be as simple as deciding whether to become a teacher or as complicated as going through chemotherapy. These two examples and everything in between produce a hunger for support in your partner. When you set aside the concerns of the outer world and examine the inner more closely, you begin to realize the power support can put into a love relationship. Whatever is going on with your significant other right now, I encourage you to remember these 3 ways to support your partner.
1. Practical Servanthood: This is the most boring yet most effective way to support your partner. Instead of walking by a dirty dish: wash it. Instead of seeing the clothes in the dryer and walking bay, fold them (especially your partner’s). This says “I support you” more than most things. I highly recommend always thinking of this one, even during a time or arguing or otherwise difficult period. This prevents a lot of negative relationship issues.
2. Become the VP in support of the Pres: This is a bit misleading. There should be no one person “in command” in a marriage in my opinion. You share tasks and responsibilities according to talents. BUT, when she/he has a task or dream she/he wants to take on, you become THE SUPPORT SECTION. Ask what you can do to get it done. For example, my wife Sarah recently decided to try doing a month’s worth of cooking in one day and freezing the meals. She thinks it will save us money, especially on dining out. When she shared the idea with me I was all to eager to go to the store to get the things she needed to start the project. Of course, if both people are able to do this one, the relationship gets strong really fast.
3. Give the partner the right to have an unpopular opinion: This one is so important and I am still learning it. The best way to understand this one is simply to think about your own opinions at work, at home, with friends etc. If you shared an opinion that was “unpopular.” For example, the most popular couple of the group was doing something rude to another couple and you pointed it out, you would want support. In the same way, give it to them. Rationality is highly overrated in marriage and relationships. Do all you can to show support of them. If their point of view is whacked, they may change it in time. You have nothing to lose by supporting your partner in her/his opinions.
These are three that I have found to be important. My goal is to show my partner that she is worth my service, my support in her projects, and my acceptance when/if she has an unpopular opinion. I hope these tips help you avoid relationship problems.
Can you think of ways support could help your relationship? Remember, when all else fails there is always couples counseling.