Marriage can be challenging. Researchers say that one of the keys to a happy and lasting marriage is mutual support. Find out how you can support each other in marriage with these 5 practical tips.
In any relationship, communication is key. But in marriage, it’s especially important to communicate with your spouse about your needs and wants. That’s because, in marriage, you’re not just committed to each other — you’re also committed to the relationship itself.
That’s why supporting each other in marriage is so important. By supporting each other, you’re not only showing your spouse that you care about them, but you’re also investing in your marriage. When you support each other, you’re saying, “I want this marriage to be healthy. I’m willing to put in the effort to make it happen. You matter to me!”
Of course, supporting each other doesn’t mean that you always agree with each other. In fact, healthy marriages are built on a foundation of mutual respect — even when you don’t see eye to eye.
In this article we want to debunk three big myths about supporting your spouse, and offer a few practical tips on why it is important and how you can build your marriage by creating a mutual support system.
3 Big Misconceptions About Supporting Your Spouse
Support is vital for the health of your marriage. It’s important to understand what support means and how it can affect your relationship. Yet there are a few misconceptions we need to clear up before discussing how to encourage our spouse.
Here are 3 big misconceptions about what it means to support your spouse.
The most common misconception about support is that it is a synonym for “pity.” However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Support means to help someone in need without pity or judgment. It’s giving them a helping hand when they need it most, not just when they are already doing well.
2. Giving Advice
Support is not just about giving advice, it’s about giving emotional support as well. It can be hard to know how to provide emotional support sometimes, but it’s important to remember that it’s not about fixing the problem, it’s about making the person feel better and less alone.
Sure, there are times when we should offer our opinions and advice, but this is not the essence of support. In fact, it can often appear less supportive.
Support is about being there for them no matter what they are going through. It means being their partner in life and showing them that you will always be there for them no matter what happens in their life.
3. Fixing Them
The essence of support is not about trying to fix the other person. It is simply being with someone in the way that he or she needs to be supported.While there are are issues that should be resolved, support is more about our emotional involvement in the life of our spouse. Not merely correcting problems. Click To Tweet
We tend to look at life as a problem to be solved. While there are are issues that should be resolved, support is more about our emotional involvement in the life of our spouse. Not merely correcting problems.
Why Support Is Vital For The Health Of Your Marriage
In the context of a relationship, support is about offering genuine care and understanding. It is about listening to your partner and doing what you can to help them feel better. Whether your partner is going through a difficult time or just needs someone to talk to, your support can make a world of difference.
When it comes to supporting your partner, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one person may not work for another. The key is to be attuned to your partner’s needs and to offer support in the way that they need it.
Here are a few reasons we should be supportive to our partner:
1. We All Face Disappointments In Life
Life happens. Even for the most positive people, challenges emerge that often push us to our limits. These circumstances look different in every marriage, but every couple (individual) experiences some form of disappointment.
Here is a list of things my wife and I faced recently with couples we help:
- Sickness and health problems
- Financial difficulties
- Parenting challenges
- Career challenges
This is by no means a complete list of disappointing events in life. It is merely the things we have faced in the recent past when working with families.Life throws us curve balls at times. Because of this, we need a support network to help us face those challenges. That network should begin with our spouse. Click To Tweet
The point? Life throws us curve balls at times. Because of this, we need a support network to help us face those challenges. That network should begin with our spouse.
2. We All Have Blind Spots
A blind spot is an area in our life where we can’t see things the way we should.
I explain it like this.
Hold your hands up in front of your face with thumbs up. It’s easy to see them because they are directly in front of you.
Now, slowly move your right hand outward toward the side of your face while keeping your face and eyes looking forward toward the hand in front of you. Do not bend your elbow. Just slowly move your right hand backward.
You should be able to see your right hand with your peripheral vision. Even while focusing on your left hand.
At some point, you lose sight of your right hand. It moves out of your peripheral vision. This is a blind spot. A point in which you cannot see your hand.
We all have blind spots in life. It is not sin or character flaw. In fact, I believe it is by design.
God created us to need each other. He never intended us to be independent of others. At least, not in the sense that we are totally self-sufficient. God created Even because it was ‘not good’ for him to be alone. He needed a help-mater (someone compatible to him).
Blind spots are not points of criticism against our spouse. We do not recognize those points of vulnerability so we can accuse them, or point out their faults. On the contrary, we pay attention to them so we can help each other.Blind spots are not points of criticism against our spouse. We do not recognize those points of vulnerability so we can accuse them, or point out their faults. On the contrary, we pay attention to them so we can help each other. Click To Tweet
I explain this concept in more detail in the video below. (Excuse the audio. I did not take time to set up for proper recording).
Bottom line: We are made for relationships.
This is partly because we all have areas in our life where we need each other to see what we can’t see.
3. We All Have Dreams And Need Encouragement
What are your spouses’ dreams? What do they desire in life? What are they passionate about? What makes them want to get out of bed every day?
I’m not talking about hobbies, appetites, or superficial things. What do they want in life? What do they want to achieve and accomplish?
We all have these dreams. Ever. Single. One. Of. Us.
One of the best things we can do for our spouse (and to enrich our relationship) is to discover those secret dreams and work to help them fulfill them.
Zig Ziglar once said: You can have everything you want in life, if you help other people get what they want in life.
This is a truism we often forget.We are attracted to the people who care most about our dreams and are committed to helping us achieve them. Click To Tweet
We are attracted to the people who care most about our dreams and are committed to helping us achieve them.
Because of this, we should be our spouses greatest cheerleader.
4. We Are Stronger Together
There is strength in numbers.
Scripture says one can put a thousand to flight. Two can put ten thousand to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30). There is a multiplication that takes place when we work together.
Our efforts are not just added together. They are multiplies.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, when we work together we can pool our resources and talents. This means that we can accomplish more than we could on our own.
Second, we can provide encouragement to each other.
This can be especially helpful when we are facing a difficult challenge.
Finally, we can learn from each other and grow as individuals.
How To Support Each Other
In a strong marriage, spouses support each other in good times and bad. They are each other’s cheerleaders and comfort zone. A couple’s relationship is often described as a partnership, and that is how spouses should view it. They are a team, working together to make their marriage the best it can be.
There are many ways spouses can support each other. In this section we will look at five (5) practical ways to give support to your spouse.
Whatever form it takes, supporting each other is crucial to a strong marriage. It can make the difference between a happy, lasting relationship and one that fizzles out.
1. Be Fully Present
If you’ve ever tried to talk to someone about an important issue but they seemed distracted, preoccupied, or disinterested, you know why being present is so important.
When we are fully present in a relationship, we are completely focused on our partner. We are not thinking about anything else except for them. We are present in the moment and we are fully engaged with what is happening.
This can be a difficult thing to do because life is full of distractions. But when we are able to be fully present, it is a very special thing.When we are fully present, we are able to give our partner our undivided attention. We are able to really listen to them and connect with them on a deeper level. This can make our relationships much more meaningful and fulfilling. Click To Tweet
When we are fully present, we are able to give our partner our undivided attention. We are able to really listen to them and connect with them on a deeper level. This can make our relationships much more meaningful and fulfilling.
Here are a few practical things you can do to be more present in your marriage:
- Make a commitment to spend some time each day where you are completely focused on your partner. This can be during conversation, while you are doing an activity together, or even just sitting in silence.
- Try to put away all distractions when you are with your partner. This means no phones, no TV, and no other people. Just you and your partner.
- Be in the moment. This means being aware of your partner and what they are saying or doing. Really try to understand them and connect with them on a deeper level.
- Express your love and appreciation for your partner. Let them know how much you care about them.
Making a conscious effort to be more present in your relationship can make a world of difference. It can deepen your connection and make your relationship much more fulfilling. We discuss this in more detail in our article on the marriage wheel.
2. Tune In
This is similar to being present, but has more to do with listening from the heart.
There is a difference between hearing something, and listening to someone.
We hear words, but we listen for signals.
For example, most people (unfortunately) don’t say what they really mean. They hide their true feelings, needs, and desires behind a wall. Mainly because of fear of rejection.
So to listen, we must not only listen to what is being said, but pay attention to the unspoken (non-verbal) signals our spouse is sending.
When we tune in, we let our spouse know we are truly paying attention to heart matters, not merely hearing their words.
Flexibility is a secret key to a healthy relationship.
Since we all face disappointments in life (see above), we must learn to adapt to situations. Life doesn’t always go as planned. So we must learn to bend with the situation.
There is a life principle that states: What doesn’t bend, breaks.
Marriages that are not flexible and willing to adapt to changing situations, will shatter.
In any relationship, it’s important to be able to adapt to these life changes. Life is full of surprises, and being able to go with the flow will help to keep your relationship strong.Marriages that are not flexible and willing to adapt to changing situations, will shatter. Click To Tweet
It’s also important to be flexible when it comes to your partner’s needs and wants. No one is perfect, and we all have different needs. If you’re able to be flexible and understand your partner’s needs, it will help to keep the relationship strong.
At the end of the day, relationships are all about compromise. If you’re able to be flexible and understand your partner’s needs, it will help to keep the relationship strong.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to support your spouse is to simply ask them what they need.
While many people struggle to put their wants, needs, and desires into words, asking opens the door for communication. Together you can work to discover how you can best support and encourage your spouse.Asking is the most under-rated action we overlook. Click To Tweet
Asking is the most under-rated action we overlook.
I love this quote by novelist Thomas Berger:
The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.(BrainyQuote)
5. Physical Touch
Physical touch is more than sexual contact. Physical intimacy does play an important role in marriage. But so does non-sexual touch.
According to recent studies published in Physiology & Behavior, non sexual touch releases chemicals in the brain that increase pleasure, relaxation, and over-all sense of wellbeing.
One study on couples was conducted by having one partner lay on a bed while the other partner sit in a chair next to them. They were separated by a blanket and could not see each. They were also instructed to not talk to each other.
Brain and heart monitors were used to measure specific responses.
Both partners expressed (and experienced) pleasure responses. But the partner who received physical touch experienced higher levels of pleasure.
The study noted:
The researchers found that both strokers and receivers rated the experience as pleasant; however, those who received touch found it to be even more pleasant than those who gave touch.(Physiology & Behavior)
Final Thoughts On Support In Marriage
It is evident that supporting each other in marriage is beneficial to both spouses. When one spouse is supportive, it can help to reduce stress, promote communication, and improve problem-solving skills. Furthermore, being supportive can also increase relationship satisfaction and stability.
In this article, we looked at 3 big misconceptions about support, why it is necessary to create an atmosphere of support and encouragement, and 5 practical things you can to do support each other.
- 3 Big Misconceptions About Supporting Your Spouse
- Why Support Is Vital For The Health Of Your Marriage
- How To Support Each Other