Your support helps your husband feel loved, honored, and understood. If your batteries have been running low in the support department, try out some new strategies that show your husband you’re still his No. 1 cheerleader. Start by praising him more often and making a few tweaks to your communication patterns. Before long, your husband will be saying, “Thanks for being so supportive, honey!”
- Offer genuine praise regularly. Too often, spouses get to the point of criticizing what the other is doing wrong without ever taking the time to highlight what they do right. One of the quickest ways to show immediate support for your husband is by bringing attention to their positive efforts. Offer praise at least once daily.
- Say things like, “Wow, sweetie, you did such a good job on the back deck!” or “I really appreciate how you helped pull Danny out of his temper tantrum.”
- Offer compliments with no prompting. For example, if you’re watching a movie with your husband and the male character makes a poor decision like missing an important event to go out with friends, you could say, “Thank you for always putting me first. I appreciate having a husband who is always there for me.”
- Validate his emotional experience. Your husband might feel overlooked or misunderstood, particularly when he’s going through a rough time. If he’s having trouble in a certain area of life, let him know that you see how hard things are for him.
- For instance, if your husband loses his job, you can validate him by saying, “I know this is really frustrating for you” or “I can tell you’re really worried. We’ll get through this.”
- Understand that he may not have words to describe his emotional experience. Men experience emotions differently than women and have fewer ways to describe their emotions. It may help to let him know how you’d feel in that situation and that you will love and support him.
- See if he wants your advice before giving it. Don’t assume your husband wants you to fix a problem or suggest a course of action. If he complains or vents to you, listen actively. Once he’s gotten it off his chest, directly ask, “Would you like my advice on this or did you just want to talk it through?”
- Talk positively about your husband to others. Show support for your husband by always speaking highly about him to those around you. Tell others about the awesome job he did on the back deck or how he makes time to read to the children each night before bed.
- Doing this helps you to develop a more positive, grateful perspective rather than a disparaging one. Plus, the positive words will likely get back to him at some point and he’ll be doubled over with pride.
- Avoid nagging. It can be easy to fall into a trap of going on and on about what’s not getting done or what your husband is not doing right. Instead of nagging, make an appeal for help or changes using “I” statements.
- Say something like, “I know you’re awfully busy, honey, but there’s rain on the forecast and the roof still needs to be patched.”
EditShowing Support in Tangible Ways
- Put your marriage first when you can. Demonstrate support for your husband and your marriage by prioritizing him over everyone else, the children included. This advice might seem controversial, but your kids will benefit most by being raised under the example of two parents who are happily married—meaning you haven’t neglected your spouse for the sake of child-rearing.
- Plus, prioritizing your spouse prevents your children from coming between the two of you and undermining your parenting. It may also minimize the chances of them acting spoiled or entitled.
- Try to put your husband and your marriage first by making the bedroom a “no kids” zone. Show affection and compliment your spouse in front of the children whenever you can. Eat dinner as a family, if possible, serving everyone once your husband has arrived home from work.
- Work with your husband to create “married couple” boundaries to protect your relationship and ensure that you take time for each other. Not only will this strengthen your relationship, but it will help teach your children healthy relationship habits.
- Encourage your husband to go after his passions. Support your husband by pushing him to pursue his dreams. Inspire him to go back to school if you think that’s a secret desire of his. Suggest that he carve out more time to play guitar with a local band if you know it brings him satisfaction.
- Go further than just telling your husband to go after his passions. Do your part to help make it happen, such as watching the kids in the evenings while he studies or showing up to cheer him on during band performances.
- Remember his preferences. Show your husband that you care for and support him by taking note of the little things. Does he prefer a certain snack during movie night? Does he go wild whenever you wear a particular outfit? Notice your husband’s requests and preferences and make an effort to incorporate them into your daily lives.
- Get his advice. Demonstrate support for your husband’s ideas by seeking out his opinion. Asking your husband for his opinion makes him feel valued, so make it your business to regularly get his take on different problems or decisions.
- See what color paint your husband thinks is a great choice for the kitchen remodel. Or, ask him how you should handle a conflict at work.
- Be aware that if you ask for his advice and then ignore it, then he may feel hurt. If you do decide not to take his advice, let him know that you appreciate what he said but decided to go a different way. You could say, “Hey, thanks so much for helping me with that problem yesterday. I thought about what you said, but I think this time I’ll try what my sister suggested, since she’s dealt with this before.”
- Be accepting of his flaws. Everyone is a work in progress—husbands are no exception. Rather than constantly pressuring your husband to change his bad habits, demonstrate greater acceptance for them. Simply show that you love him anyway, even if he doesn’t change to suit you.
- You might even say, “I love who you are, and I don’t expect you to change for me.”
- Keep in mind that accepting doesn’t mean tolerating abuse or disrespectful behavior.
- Show physical affection. Whether it’s a hug, kiss, massage, or sex, show your husband you find him desirable and attractive. People who have been married a long time have a tendency to neglect physical intimacy, and as we age, we like to know our spouse finds us attractive. Make a point of showing your husband support through physical affection.
- Make a habit to kiss him before one of you leaves the house, as well as before bed.
- Talk to him about establishing “date nights” that end in affection, whether it’s cuddling on the couch or having sex.
- Go to bed a few minutes early so that you can cuddle for a few minutes before going to sleep.
- Hold hands when you walk together or sit near each other.
- Present a united front during tough times. Inevitably, your marriage will experience bumps along the road. When you and your husband experience difficulties, stand together as a team. Be wary of “traps” to your marriage, such as blaming, guilt-tripping or projecting onto one another.
- Approach each obstacle–whether a financial hardship, health scare, or deceased one–from the perspective of a team. What can you do to ensure the livelihood of your relationship despite these trials?
- Sometimes, to move through challenges, you may need to exercise patience or compromise. Be willing to do so.
EditGiving the Right Kind of Support
- Encourage your husband to share his feelings. Creating a standard for communication in the marriage will help your husband feel supported emotionally. If your husband is not forthcoming about his innermost thoughts and feelings, you might have to work hard to get him to open up.
- Start by sharing your own vulnerabilities. For example, you might say, “Last week I got really offended when you said I didn’t understand you. I’d like to understand you better, if you give me a chance.”
- When he talks, listen attentively. Turn your body to face him, uncross your arms and legs, and make eye contact. Hear him out before restating his message to be sure you heard it right.
- Schedule time with him away from your daily life to talk to him about his feelings. Asking him about his feelings while he’s busy, such as when he’s working on the car, will not feel helpful to him and may cause him to become annoyed.
- Ask your husband how you can better support him. If you don’t think you’re doing a great job supporting your husband, come out and ask him how you can improve. For instance, you might ask, “What does a supportive spouse look like to you?”
- Ask clarifying questions to gain a deeper understanding. If he says, “A supportive spouse is there for you,” you might say, “There for you in what ways?”
- See a marriage counselor. You and your husband may be facing communication roadblocks that get in the way of you meeting one another’s needs. It may help to see a marriage counselor who can help identify each of your needs and offer suggestions as to how you can support one another.