What does supporting your spouse look like?
“I can’t promise to fix all your problems, but I can promise you won’t face them all alone.” Unknown
What comes to mind when you think of support? I immediately think of things I’ve come to rely on as I’ve gotten older. Those knee braces I wear when I run or that cushion on my office chair that supports my lower back are at the top of my list.
The first definitions that came up when I googled “support” gave me a pretty clear picture of what it should look like. Bearing all or part of the weight of something, and to hold up. To help, and enable to function or act. It makes sense, but what should that look like in a marriage?
To have, and to hold.
The gift of marriage provides us with plenty of opportunities to support one another. In a few short months, my husband and I will be celebrating 25 years of marriage. As I sit here typing this, my eyes are tearing up. It’s been a long road, friends. Ups and downs, and all sorts of side turns. There’s been joy and happiness that I struggle to find words to describe. There’s also been heartache that’s left me just as speechless.
Supporting one another in marriage takes practice. It isn’t something people are necessarily great at, especially when the first part of life before you get married is spent so focused on self–my wants, my needs, what works for me. It’s challenging to expand my view to focus on someone else’s needs above my own.
I thought I was a pretty selfless person… until I got married.
For better, and for worse.
Supporting your spouse is valuable in the good times, and the not-so-good. It’s important to know that your spouse is there for you in the joys and successes of life, as well as through disappointments and loss. Regardless of what we’re going through, I’m sure we can agree that we all want loyalty, honesty, and someone who listens well.
There are some pretty standard ways that most people feel supported. While that’s true, it’s also important to find out the specific ways that communicate support to my husband. The more I’ve gotten to know myself, and the more I’ve gotten to know my husband, the more I’ve learned that there are unique ways each of us feel supported and esteemed.
My husband appreciates it when I’m not afraid to call him out. Reassuring me of my value when I’m self-critical communicates support to me. Being thoughtful and intentional connects with me while joining my hubby in his excitement about the “little” things connects with him.
When I need to talk to my husband about a negative situation or circumstance, it’s helpful for me to start with some positive affirming stuff first. I prefer for him to use a more direct approach based on facts when sharing.
To love, and to cherish.
I’m sure we can agree that most of what I mentioned above communicates support to many different people across the board. There are specific ways, though, that communicate that support most effectively with each partner. Each of us is created uniquely, including the special ways each of us feel most supported by those that love us.
Supporting my spouse in marriage means taking the time to find out what those special ways are, and then putting them into practice.
As I was adding the finishing touches to this post, I decided to put my hubby on the spot. When I asked him to share the first three things that popped into his head, here’s what he shared with me:
He feels supported when–
- I help him think through situations that come up in life.
- He’s given freedom to do all the extrovert things that he loves, but that make my introverted self cringe.
- I keep him grounded so he doesn’t float away like a hot-air balloon.
How about you–what are ways that you feel supported as a spouse? What are some ways you’ve been supporting your spouse lately?