How To Be A Supportive Partner (And What You Gain As A Result)

Marriage and Family Therapist By Shelly Bullard, MFT
Marriage and Family Therapist
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to relationships. She has worked with thousands of clients on improving their relationships with others and themselves.

Sometimes we fail to support our partners in becoming the best versions of the of themselves because we're scared of what that means for us. What if he wants something I don't want? What if her desire takes her away from me?

We fear if he learns to fly, he might fly away. So we hold our partners back, sometimes without even knowing it. This strategy always backfires – it ends up holding our relationships back, as well.

But there's a way to feel safe enough to support your partner to fly, and why doing so will take your relationship to new heights of love.

To begin with, it's important to remember that our partners are individuals. They have their own desires, hopes, visions and dreams. And while you're likely to partner up with someone who holds similar beliefs about the world, no one is ever going to want everything that you want, too.

Unfortunately, this scares us. We're scared that our partners' dreams might take them away from us, so we may not support them in fulfilling them. What we don't realize is the opposite is actually true: supporting the happiness of your partner encourages them to bring their happiness back to you.

Think about it. How does your relationship feel when your partner is shining; when they're happy, free, and doing what they love? If you're internally secure enough, I imagine it feels great! Most of us love seeing our loved ones shine! We also feel the benefit of it – when we're happy, we share the love.

Good vibes support the health of a relationship. Which means the opposite it true: bad vibes hinder the health of a relationship.

When someone holds us back, we get resentful. Not a single person on this planet enjoys feeling controlled or stifled. It's completely against our nature; it makes us want to run away.

Support is always the way to go if your want your relationship to thrive. So, how do you do it?

Well, for starters, you have to know what it means to be genuinely supportive. True support is about about encouraging someone's growth as a human being. Support doesn't mean we encourage people to do whatever they want, just because they want it.

For example, supporting an alcoholic in their destructive drinking pattern is not being supportive in the name of love. It's enabling. But supporting your partner to take that trip abroad because it's something she's always wanted to do (and she wants to do it alone) is being supportive. See the difference?

Support always encourages growth. And this is why it can be scary. Growth pushes us into the unknown. But having faith in love is trusting that if you support your partner in becoming the best version of himself or herself, it will support your relationship, too.

I hope that you'll support your partner to shine so you can bask in some of that light.

Please leave a comment below to tell us how you support your partner in being the best version of himself or herself. I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a holistic and spiritual approach to...
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Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a marriage and family therapist with a...
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