Here are 9 simple ways you can demonstrate to your partner that you’re there for them:
- Give your attention to their requests or concerns – I believe your attention is the most valuable gift you can give to another human. And if you’re going to give a loved one your attention… Make sure it’s your full attention. Have you ever talked to someone whilst they’re doing something on their phone? Rubbish isn’t it?
- Be available at an emotional level – Love can turn fear and pain off. Emotions are why we’re stronger, healthier and more resilient when we’re connected to people we love. So share your emotions and how you’re feeling with your loved ones. And be sure to ask (and listen) to theirs.
- Make your partner a priority – Your brain interprets being emotionally disconnected from loved ones as a serious threat to your continued survival. Why? Because your brain is still using 2 million-year-old software! As a result, your partner needs to know if they call you… You will come.
- Make your partner feel included – Whilst it’s healthy to have interests and activities separate and apart from your partner, avoid letting them feel left out. For example, imagine you go out with your mates and your partner comes along (for whatever reason) and doesn’t know your mates… Don’t leave them to fend for themselves. Instead, make sure you include them and make time to be with them.
- Listen to your partners deepest concerns – I used to struggle with this one. As soon as Clarabella voiced concerns about anything, I’d switch to ‘Mr Fix-It’ mode. Eventually I discovered she didn’t always want solutions, most of the time all she really wanted was to be listened to.
- Be there in times of need – Similar to the point above. Often you don’t have to do anything, simply being there is enough. Providing support in times of uncertainty doesn’t have to take the form of solutions to problems. Quickly suggesting solutions to your partner’s problems can give them the message you think their concerns are trivial or not important. Sometimes letting your partner talk and saying something as simple as: “That must be really difficult for you.” Can be all it takes.
- Respond to your partners need for closeness – Or if necessary, let them know of your need for closeness. Don’t expect them to be able to read your mind! I remember clearly how my connection with Clarabella was strengthened when I learned it was okay to ask for what I wanted. For example: I’m more tactile than her, so waiting for her to give me a hug means I can be waiting a long time. Now when I want a hug, I simply ask for one.
Before we move on… Let’s address a couple of important issues to do with this point…
- “Yes… But if they really loved me… I wouldn’t have to ask” – Wrong. The idea of a couple being so in sync with each other they automatically know each other’s needs and wants only happens in romantic fiction. In my work with couples I come across this idea frequently. And I’ve discovered: Telepathy is a very bad strategy for a happy and fulfilling relationship. Instead I recommend honest, open and kind conversations about wants and needs.
- It’s okay for your partner to say no – I’m not going to go into too much detail, but I think you’ll understand what I mean when I say: “It’s okay to ask for more than a hug…” – Hey, stop laughing at the back! But always remember… Whilst you’re allowed to ask for what you want, your partner is allowed to say “No”. And if they do, you have to accept it.
- Make efforts to reconnect after an argument – All couples argue, the key to a healthy relationship is how quickly you reconnect afterward. If you’ve ever gone to bed on an unresolved argument, you’ll know how much it can mess up your sleep. Resolve to be the first one to reach out with the olive branch after a bust-up.
- Let your partner know you value them and they’re important to you – This isn’t something you want them to have to guess! Telepathy again…
About 3 decades ago, I sent my dad a Father’s Day card. In it I wrote something along the lines of: “…I hope one day I can make you proud of me.”
The next time I saw him, he thanked me for his card and said he was already proud of me. I remember feeling very resentful, because how was I supposed to know? He’d never, ever, told me.
Don’t do something like this to your nearest and dearest. Do they know you love them because you’ve told them recently? Do they know you value them, respect them, and admire them or that you’re proud of them? Because you’ve told them? Recently?
Remember… Telepathy is a terrible tool for showing your partner you love them.
Choose one of the tips above and for the next 3 days commit to demonstrating it to your partner.
And if you want professional help with your relationship please see my couples counselling page.