Rosenthal: Give and get support from your spouse
Vail CO, Colorado
Do you think you are a supportive spouse or intimate partner? Would your significant other agree with your answer?
Or maybe you want more support from your partner?
Of course, both answers could be true. But what exactly does it mean when you say that you want your partner do be more supportive? Supportive of what? How often? For how long? What exactly would you like your partner to do in order for you feel a greater level of support?
Try taking this quiz, borrowed from Pat Love in the book “The Truth About Love.” Rate each idea in terms of how supportive this would feel to you from 1 (not helpful) to 6 (very helpful):
1. Ask me “Is there anything I can do to help?”
2. Point out that I seem stressed.
3. Give me space and time to work it out myself.
4. Listen to me.
5. Ask if I want to talk about it.
6. Have sex with me.
7. Give me advice.
8. Ask me questions about what is going on.
9. Pitch in and help out with what needs to be done.
10. Take over some of my responsibilities.
11. Give me physical affection.
12. Take me out for some fun.
13. Give me peace and quiet.
14. Spend time with me.
15. Tell me you’re interested in what is going on with me.
16. Tell me you love me.
17. Tell me some good news.
18. Do your best to cheer me up.
19. Cook my favorite meal.
20. Suggest we go for a walk.
21. Reassure me that things will be OK.
22. Be friendly to me and to my feelings.
23. Greater financial support.
Now find a specific issue on which you would like more support from your partner. Put some time and consideration into thinking about this carefully. Where/how would you like greater support from your partner? With child rearing? Money? Household chores? More affection and/or sex? Find one issue to talk about. Here are some ways Love recommends you approach the issue:
– “One issue I could use some support with now is …”
– “You could help me by …”
– “What I specifically need is …”
– “If you did that, I would feel …”
One more thing. Getting more support from your partner isn’t everything. Being willing to give support to your partner is equally powerful and vital for a healthy relationship.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303-758-8777, or e-mail him from his Web site, heartrelationships.com.
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