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Celebrate the Good Stuff  

Interesting enough, being supportive of your partner through good stuff may go further toward preserving your relationship than being supportive in the negative times.  Some recent research found that people who felt supported and honored by their partners through a positive event felt better about the relationship and about themselves.  Support through a negative event wasn’t as consistent in creating positive feelings about the relationship. 

One theory for this is that with negative events there is so much focus and energy devoted to dealing with the event there isn’t enough energy left over to appreciate the support.  I’m certainly not saying you needn’t worry about being supportive of your partner through negative events.  Quite the contrary.  Support in difficult times is very important to a relationship, at the very least because it is easier to deal with the negative times when you deal with them together.

What the research suggests is support in negative times may not give the positive emotional boost to the relationship that support for good things does.  It makes sense.  Imagine yourself lounging on the couch with your partner fondly remembering something that impacted one of you or the two of you together.  Is the memory more likely to be your award at work last year or the way the two of you so neatly took care of the flooded basement last summer.  The first is likely to generate positive feelings while the latter is likely trigger some painful feelings as well.  Shared positive feelings go a long way to helping you feel positive about the relationship.

On a practical level it is about priorities, as so much about preserving love is.  Our lives are very busy and there are schedules, work, and crises to deal with all the time.  Sometimes it seems like you can’t afford the time and energy to focus on the good things that happen because there is so much else you have to attend to.

It is worth it to focus on and honor the positive.  Pay attention to what is going on in your partner’s life and make it a priority to honor and celebrate the good stuff.  Tell them how proud you are of their accomplishments.  Have a special dinner or some other way to celebrate a promotion, new contract, or a personal best in a 5K.  The more time you create to feel good together about what you are doing and achieving, the better you will feel about the relationship. 

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