A reader asked me to write about how to make your partner more supportive, remain attentive and affectionate.
Inside Track with Grace Mutandwa
She complained that it was not always easy to find the support one needs from a spouse, but believes if all couples could be more supportive of each others marriages would be happier and would last.
Long-term relationships and marriages, especially in most cases settle into a certain groove. Boredom sets in. This might not look like the worst-case scenario when you compare it to having a lying and cheating spouse but it causes its fair share of distress in some marriages.
The problem that many people do not want to face up to is the fact that some women get married without putting a lot of thought into what the end goal is.
You must think beyond the big white wedding.
Before you even agree to marry someone, you must ask yourself in all honesty if you really want to spend your whole life with that person.
You must reflect honestly about what it is that attracts you to the person. You must also be prepared to ask the man who wants to marry you all the hard questions about life. If you can ask a man to take an HIV or Aids test with you, then you can certainly ask him anything.
Some women pretend that the small things that niggle them when they are dating will eventually disappear when they get married.
Sadly, small problems today, grow into bigger problems in the future. It is through asking the right questions before you commit yourself to someone that enables you to establish if the man you have chosen is supportive and will continue to be so, even when there is a major storm.
Women lack the nerve to assess things honestly
Women sometimes lack the courage and sense to assess things honestly. We assume that if we ignore problems, they will cease to exist. We think because we have the power to make men fall in love with us, we also possess the power to change them and fit them into our tiny boxes.
If you are honest right from the start, you can tell if the man you have agreed to marry is going to stay engaged in the relationship for better or for worse.
Staying engaged means being supportive and paying attention to the fears and needs of your loved one and acknowledging that which makes your spouse who they are.
Unfortunately, these are qualities that can neither be grown in a test tube nor can be wrung out of a man who has never possessed them.
The guiding principle must always be the fact that marriage is a long-term investment, whose sanctity must be respected and honoured at all times.
When you get into it, you must be certain that you are entering into it for the right reasons and with the right person, and that your partner will remain the right person for as long as you both shall live.
Marriage requires a lot of focus from both partners. It demands that you both put in a fair share of work, remind each other constantly of why you got married, what it is that you love about each other and gently encourage and support each other.
You should be open to doing new and invigorating things together, find ways of honing a more relaxed and open-minded attitude and incorporate it into your life.
Sometimes you think your spouse is not supportive and loving because you are unaware of any personal battles they might be silently going through.
Most women are comfortable talking about their feelings and discussing their problems, but many men are unable to talk about feelings so openly. Men tend to deal with their problems quietly and in most cases take it for granted that the woman understands. For some men just being there with you means they are being supportive and that they love you.
Love and support mean different things to men and women. You might want to be held and reassured but a man might assume that buying you that dress you have always wanted is his way of showing his love and support.
Communication is an important tool that you must employ from the day you decide to date someone, marry him or her and throughout your relationship. Many couples stop talking about the important things and become master tacticians at the avoidance game.
From day one, be honest about why you want to be married and why you want to marry that particular person. Decisions and choices have consequences and God gave you the power to make the right choices.
You marry for the wrong reasons or in the hope that you can recreate your man, the chips as they say will fall where they will.