“Supportive” means different things to different people.
There are 4 general ways of support:
• physical comfort and emotional support – listening and empathizing, taking your spouse’s hand, giving your spouse a hug
• esteem support – expressing confidence in your partner, providing encouragement
• informational support – giving advice, gathering information
• tangible support – taking on responsibilities so your spouse can deal with a problem, helping to brainstorm solutions to a problem
If you need or want support from your spouse (or anyone), ask for it. Be as specific as possible. Your spouse wants to support you; they just need to know what kind of support you are seeking.
• “I just need to vent.”
• “I’m feeling awful about this; I need a hug. ”
• “I need to know that I’ll be alright. ”
• “I’m asking for your insight about this. ”
• “Please help me make sense of what happened.”
• “I’d like for you to carve out 2 hours/ night for this next week for me to finish this project. I need quiet and no distractions.”