What does it mean to you to support your partner? Not adamantly protesting when they want to do something? Getting behind them 100 percent in whatever they are interested in? Or ignoring them until they drop the subject? While your reaction and the level of support you offer is directly influenced by what the subject is, you still have to be able to support your partner… within reason.

If you asked one hundred couples if they supported each other, chances are most would say yes. But do they really? It depends on what your definition of “support” is. If you support your partner, then you are endeavoring to be there for them as the experiences change in their life. You might not necessarily agree with the area they are interested in, but that doesn’t mean you do not support them anyway. After all, it is important to your partner.

But support can come in different ways. Perhaps it is a hobby they are interested in. Even if we are not interested in the same hobby, it is important to our partner so, therefore, it should be important to us. We should want to back them in hobbies that will make them happy. If you only offer support in what you are interested in, then that qualifies as being selfish. As long as what they are interested in isn’t harmful to them or detrimental to the relationship, let them give it a try.

Support can also focus on the relationship. Being there for the other person is support. Helping console them when they are not having a good day is supporting them. Comforting them when they have experienced a fight with a loved one is support. And, of course, taking care of them when they are home sick is supporting them also.

The thing about support is it needs to be unconditional. You should be willing to back your partner without wondering if there is anything in it for you. The female partner has had a bad day and he brings home a small bouquet of flowers. He had to work late and she massages his neck.

When you offer support in a relationship, you will find your partner will be much more willing to reciprocate. As long as they feel you are behind them, no matter what, and you are genuine in supporting them and don’t need to be coaxed, then you can expect the same firm level of support from them in whatever it is you need.