Get On Board With What’s Important

A healthy couple consists of two well-rounded and developed individuals who don’t need the other to “complete” them, but to share in their journey together. What often brings people together are common interests, hobbies, similar tastes in music, movies, food or art.

As you enter into long-term relationships you grow and evolve as a couple and as individuals.

This can mean that your paths may diverge and you may develop separate interests, a different group of friends, other hobbies and career paths. What happens to togetherness then? Can you get on board with your partner when it comes to their interests and passions, even if they don’t involve you?  You should.

If something is important to your partner, it should be important to you. Simply put, your partner deserves your support even if you don’t have the same interests or investment in what they are doing.  In the same way a family supports their children in whatever endeavors they pursue; your partner deserves that same level of support if not more. After all, this is your great love, not some random acquaintance. If they don’t deserve your best, who does?

Suppose your partner decides they want to change careers? You’ve been together for years and your joint income has provided security and a nice lifestyle for you both. Now your partner wants to leave their job and pursue another type of career. Maybe they want to go back to school. How would you react? Will you nix the idea or would you find a way to make it work so that your partner will be happy in their career? You should absolutely get behind and support that decision even if it means sacrificing financially for a while.

On a smaller and more intimate level the same concept applies. When your partner comes home from work at the end of their shift dying to tell you all about their day, and you’re at home in the middle of a household task, you may feel like you can’t be bothered. The last thing your partner needs to hear is “I’m busy”, or “I don’t have time to listen now”.  They deserve your full attention. Stop what you’re doing and listen. Even if you’re not interested, you should be. If it’s important to your partner, it should be important to you.

The same holds true for the opposite scenario. If only one of you works outside the home, the partner tasked with parenting at home probably hasn’t spoken to anyone over three feet tall all day long, and they may have a lot to tell you when you arrive home from work. You may just want to go decompress for a while, but I suggest you take that extra few minutes to let your partner tell you about their day before you do.

By attending to your partner, you’re showing them that they matter to you and that what they have to say is important.

This is how you build and maintain a bond of connection between you. It goes both ways. You both need to fully support each other and be willing to listen and make the other’s issues as important as your own.

Couples can get into a “me-centric” cycle where they compete with one another in life. Who can be right, who can win. They argue, over talk and monopolize the conversation so that it’s all about them. There’s little give and take, compromise, or consideration. It ends up with each partner feeling that the other doesn’t care for them the way they need to be cared for.  When you are interacting like that with each other, you both lose. You don’t go into a love relationship to compete with your partner. I’m not saying you shouldn’t push each other to be the best you can be and support one another that way, but it can’t always be just about “me”- in order to nurture your relationship there must be a give and take. There must be an understanding between you that you’ve got each other’s back – No matter what.

Seasons in life come and go, and in some of these seasons, one partner needs more than the other. It’s not always equal. A healthy relationship between adults recognizes this fact. One partner may be in need of support from the other, and that other must be willing to give their support unconditionally, in spite of what they want sometimes. They give what their partner needs.

So when your partner comes to you full of emotion and needs your support, don’t hesitate. Next season it could be you who is in need. This is how we maintain long-term loving relationships; by supporting our partner and getting on board, even if we’re not really feeling it in the moment.  I’m not saying you should compromise your principles, or support anything harmful or reckless; only that you should be sensitive to your partners wants and needs and be there to listen and support them as a loving partner should.


About the Author:

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.