Truly supportive relationships are rare these days. Such relationships take a fair amount of work. And they take commitment, too. Accordingly, they take character, itself a rarity.
Supportive relationships have certain characteristics to them. However, most of these characteristics are not easy to come by in the age of widespread character disturbance. That’s what makes a supportive relationship so special when you’re fortunate enough to have one.
The Core Characteristics
Supportive relationships have very recognizable core characteristics. The most important of these include:
- Acceptance. A supportive partner knows who you are. And they accept and respect you for who you are. They have no need to change you. Nor do they need to mold you to fit an image they desire.
- Trustworthiness. Supportive partners understand that safe, intimate relationships are founded on trust. And they understand the horrendous damage that can be done by a betrayal of trust. None of us is perfect. And no relationship is perfect. But supportive partners know that breaches of trust attack the very foundation of a relationship. And they gladly honor the promise to be faithful.
- Commitment. Every relationship has its ups and downs, its trials and tribulations. Unwaveringly being there for one another through life’s inevitable storms marks any truly supportive relationship.
- Positive Regard. Positive regard for another requires empathy. You have to really care to truly love. But caring is not enough for a truly supportive relationship. Supportive partners respect one another. And they respect one another’s needs, concerns, fears, and, especially, boundaries.
- Forgiveness and Contrition. We’re all human. So, we make mistakes. Sometimes, we make big ones. But unlike casual relationships, truly supportive relationships are marked by forgiveness and contrition. Now, forgiveness does not mean giving a pass to repetitive unloving behavior. Rather, it means letting go of hurt when you know your partner is genuinely contrite.
I’ve written before on contrition and its role in healthy relationships. Mature, spiritually-evolved characters behave a certain way when they fail life’s inevitable tests of their character. And because of the importance of this key concept, I would invite you to re-visit some of the articles on the topic.
- What Real Contrition Looks Like
- Contrition Revisited
- Shame, Guilt, Regret, Remorse, and Contrition
- Trust and Relationships – Wrap Up
Follow the link provided to catch the latest Character Matters podcast. And look for an announcement soon about the next live program.