Through my experience with relationship therapy in Houston, I’ve seen that some of the strongest relationships come from partners who know how to offer each other support. It’s important to be aware of how you offer support to your partner, however, because studies have shown that unqualified support can do more harm than good.

What does that mean? If the support you offer comes across as insincere or half-hearted (such as absentmindedly saying “You’ll be just fine” when your partner tells you about a problem at work), it could actually end up hurting your spouse’s feelings or causing resentment. It’s important to learn and practice how to be the best possible advocate for your partner.

Identifying the Right Kind of Support in Relationship Therapy in Houston

There is a multitude of different ways to show support for your partner, but let’s break them down into four categories.

  • Physical comfort and emotional support (such as holding your partner’s hand)
  • Esteem support (verbalizing your confidence in your partner)
  • Informational support (giving advice)
  • Tangible support (such as taking on extra household responsibilities when your partner is stressed)

The type of support that is most effective in your relationship depends on you and your spouse, but it’s important to be careful with the informational support you offer your partner. Studies show that informational support can be the most detrimental type because it can sometimes be interpreted as giving unwanted advice.

However, some people may appreciate advice from their partner. It all depends on the dynamics of your relationship; there’s no universal form of support that everybody likes best.

What’s the best way to find out how to be the best advocate for your partner? Start a dialogue. Ask him or her what you can do to help, and in turn be willing to tell your partner how he or she can best support you. Sometimes we think we know what’s best for our partner, but we have to respect their right to tell us what they think is best for them.

It’s also helpful to remember that HOW you say something, generally speaking, is more important than WHAT you say. Tenderness, even combined with firmness, is the “major league play” of a great lover. Gain your partner’s support by being your partner’s champion, including when they seem grumpy and difficult.

Come into relationship therapy in Houston if you’d like to seek more marriage help and talk some more about how to best support your partner, especially if he or she is going through a difficult time.