How to be a supportive partner when life is stressful

    How to be a supportive partner

    8 ways to be supportive in difficult moments

    What is emotional support in a relationship?

    Emotional support in a relationship is the ability to show understanding, compassion and love – no matter what. It means accepting your partner the way they are, validating their feelings and encouraging their dreams. What this looks like in practice will be different for every relationship, but there are several traits that all supportive partners share:

    Why is being a supportive partner important?

    Emotional support in a relationship becomes even more important in tough times. Stress can cause considerable levels of irritability, anxiety, fatigue and other negative consequences. It shows up in our actions, our behavior and in our verbal and nonverbal cues – and it inevitably affects both partners and the relationship. But being a supportive partner even in stressful times can be a determining factor in which direction your relationship ultimately goes.

    When we routinely provide our partners with the emotional fulfillment they need by being supportive, we can create a new depth of love in the relationship. As ironic as it may seem, when stress makes your partner more ornery, argumentative or distant, that is when they need you to show up the most.

    How being supportive benefits your relationship

    Aside from the inherent good derived from exhibiting patience, understanding and support, acting as a stress reliever can ultimately bring a number of unexpected benefits both to your partner and the relationship itself.

    How to be a supportive partner

    Relationships are about polarity – the balance between masculine and feminine energy that creates an ideal push and pull that results in true connection and the “sparks” of romance. Understanding how to be a supportive partner as the more masculine energy can be tricky, because masculine energies tend to focus on solutions. Equally, feminine partners may need to harness their femininity and find their voice to speak up for their partner more often. There are ways to be supportive that work for both energies, with a little effort.

    1. Shift your perspective

    When we allow stress to control and overwhelm the state of our connection with our partners, it can create a sense of tension and disconnection. And if that is perpetuated, it can lead to a distant relationship, drained of the love, passion and joy that were once shared. People who are successful in relationships and in life know how to shift their perspective so that problems become opportunities. When we see stress as an opportunity to strengthen our relationship and grow as human beings, it can bring us closer and make us feel like more of a team than ever.

    2. Understand when it’s time to step in

    Sometimes being a supportive partner means understanding when it’s time for you to step in to allow your partner space to step back. When your loved one is in the middle of a busy event or is rushing around getting things done, the partner with masculine energy can step in and help shoulder some of the load. Doing so can give the extra time and space needed to finish a task or allow them a much needed break. Feminine partners, on the other hand, may want to wait for a quiet moment to offer their support, as masculine energies tend toward extreme focus.

    3. Get your talking points ready

    Your partner will find a powerful sense of reassurance and comfort through your words. Getting a feel for how to be a supportive partner often comes down to becoming comfortable with speaking the right words of encouragement at just the right time. Worried about what to say? Come up with a script. Draft a few talking points about how special your partner is and how proud you are as you watch them interact with family and friends. The more vivid and descriptive the imagery is, the better.

    4. Believe in your partner

    Oftentimes, being a supportive partner is no more than telling your partner that you believe in them. The words of a loving partner can give a great deal of comfort and assurance, especially if they’re said in a gentle and loving manner. You don’t have to feel like you need to say something complex. In fact, sometimes a heartfelt phrase can make all the difference to your partner who is caught up in a stressful situation.

    5. Be specific

    Emotional support in a relationship goes beyond words of affirmation. Get specific. It can be easy during times of stress for your partner to lose sight of the bigger picture. Many get more stressed as they start to have tunnel vision about a specific project or task. Practice being supportive by highlighting what you love and admire about your partner, and how their skills and abilities can be used to keep moving forward amid stress. 

    6. Be emotionally available

    In order to discover how to be a supportive partner, you must be emotionally available. That means being willing to be vulnerable, share your true feelings and face your fears in relationships and beyond. Emotional availability can be more difficult for masculine personalities, who tend to look for solutions to problems rather than “talking things out.” However, feminine personalities can also have trouble here, especially if they’ve been hurt in past relationships. Learning to forgive and letting go of living in the past is key.

     7. Practice deep listening

    Deep listening goes hand in hand with being a supportive partner. Too often, we don’t fully focus on what our partners are saying. We’re looking at our phones, thinking about work or spending time on social media when we need to be making time to listen. Practicing deep listening means making eye contact, giving nonverbal feedback like a smile or a nod, using open and confident body language and ensuring you are fully present.

     8. Show physical affection

    When we’re stressed, we’re being pulled in a hundred different directions. We don’t feel like being affectionate – but like deep listening, physical contact is one of the most important ways to be supportive, no matter what else is going on in your life. Similar to how smiling can change your mindset, even if you aren’t feeling happy, holding your partner’s hand or cuddling on the couch can restore intimacy and help you both feel more supported.

    Team Tony

    Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

    Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

    This content was originally published here.

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