How to be a more supportive partner during challenging times

Wouldn’t it be lovely if relationships were all wine, roses, and moonlight, just because you’re in love? Unfortunately, we don’t live in a utopia, and relationships are as much about the valleys as they are the mountain tops.

A relationship is not a happy one if your partner is depressed and downtrodden. It is imperative partners find ways to either resolve or cope with challenges efficiently.

To support someone doesn’t mean you offer vain flattery. Instead, you surround each other with love and work on solutions to problems together. Here are some tips towards achieving that.

Practise active listening

When your lover is experiencing a dark place on the road of life, he or she needs you to listen to him or her and be fully present. Your partner is  looking to you to understand and hear what he or she has to say.

Open yourself up with neutral body language and look at your partner while they talk. Listen, not just hear his words without interrupting or thinking about what you want to say.

Also, learn how to mirror his or her emotions during the conversation and pause a few seconds before responding. It’s often helpful to repeat what you’ve just heard in your own words, only if he or she needs to clarify anything for you. Instead of offering advice, listen with your heart, and be there for him or her.

Be empathetic

To empathise with your partner doesn’t mean that you are feeling sorry for him or her. Empathy goes beyond sympathy and allows you to put yourself in your lover’s shoes.

You can read a tragic news story and automatically feel for the people involved because you might imagine how you would feel. To be emotional and compassionately empathetic means your partner’s emotions resonate with yours, and you reach out to do something about it.

Have a change of pace

When your mind is stressed, or your emotions are frazzled, it can make you anxious or depressed.  Often, a diversion is what people need to take their minds off their problems for a while. It won’t provide a magic solution, but it can give your partner some mental rest.

Do something spontaneous and have some fun together. A rested mind is more apt to figure out problems more efficiently.

Accept the unchangeable

A sign of spiritual maturity is to realise that some issues can’t be changed and are beyond your control. Maybe your partner needs a gentle reminder that his or her circumstances are unavoidable.

The legendary poet, Dr Maya Angelo, declared that although there are things in your life that you can’t change, you still have the power to decide how you will react to them. As a supportive mate, you can help your lover sort through situations that can be changed and require coping skills.

Anticipate your partner’s needs

Do you and your partner often finish each other’s sentences or come up with the same ideas? Such is the case for couples who have been together for a long time. You have listened and empathised with each other for so long that you almost have a psychic bond.

If you see your beau (boyfriend) struggling with acute or chronic issues in his life, don’t wait for him to ask you for help.

Because of society’s unfair definitions and expectations, most men view asking their mate for help as being weak. Know your man better than anyone, and let your heart know when he or she is hurting before they can say a word.

Stay on the same page

While you empathise and feel part of each other in a committed relationship, you’ve not lost your individuality. Still, you must be supportive and work together for a union to flourish.

When your partner is coping with difficult issues, maybe at work or other challenges, be a united front. Try to find solutions together, and she will feel your supportive love. Listen intently and ask questions, so there are no misunderstandings.

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