Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Hey Goldilocks…How Much Support is “Just Right?”

posted by Michele Olson
Be more supportive. This seems to be a reasonable request in a relationship, even welcome advice. According to a Science Daily article based on a series of University of Iowa studies, too much support and the wrong kind of support are just as bad as not enough support.

After studying couples who were in their first few years of marriage it was shown that the husbands who received the right type of support were the most satisfied, while the wives who asked for support when they needed it felt the best.

The study also showed that couples need to understand the various ways they can be supportive and the importance of communicating what they need and when they need it.

There’s the big “C” word again, COMMUNICATION!

The idea that your spouse should know you so well, they should be able to know what you need or want is a big myth, and one that causes a lot of problems. That would fall under the category of “mind reading” and who has that ability?

The advice is pretty simple. State what you are feeling, and how you would like to be helped. If you don’t, then you are in danger of receiving even more support than you were envisioning.

When you don’t get enough support, you have options. You can reach out to family and friends.

When you get too much support, it’s an even more difficult adjustment according to the article. Too much information was often perceived as “unwanted advice” and was seen as the most detrimental in a relationship.

Four kinds of support were identified:
1) Physical comfort and emotional support. Example: a hug or empathizing while listening
2) Esteem support. Example: expressing confidence and providing encouragement
3) Information support. Example: advice or gathering information
4) Tangible support. Example: taking on the responsibilities or brainstorming solutions

Do you agree that too much support can be a problem?

Read the entire article here.

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