The best couples are cheerleaders and teammates. It’s pretty obvious that marriage requires teamwork – especially after children come along; but, marriages are also enhanced when a husband and wife take an active interest in each other’s lives.
When I’m reaching for a new goal that does not explicitly involve Eric, I still want him there to cheer for me and encourage me. I love a “Good job!” and ”Way to go!” A few months ago he said, “When you meet your goal, and you totally will, …” His vote of confidence in me was so endearing!
When most of us think of cheerleaders, we think of young, beautiful girls in attractive uniforms cheering for a win on the sidelines for their team. This is how some people cheer on their sweeties. “Go, go, go! You’ve got this! I believe in you!!!” However, it’s not the way everyone likes to be cheered on.
Eric is not one who thrives in such conditions. One night as he was running on our elliptical trainer and I decided to go downstairs and cheer him on. As I began my, “Go, go, go! You can do it!” routine, he glared at me and said, “NO.” Apparently, he finds that method of “encouragement” annoying and counterproductive. ~smile~ Good to know!
Instead, Eric feels more cheered on and supported by my presence and assistance (when requested), my help in making his goals easier to reach, and my willingness to administer back rubs. ~smile~ And, instead, I’m the one who needs words of encouragement. It’s tempting to give your sweetie what you need thinking it’s what everyone needs, but it’s a good idea to find out how your sweetie wants to be cheered on and encouraged.
Is Your Sweetie Your Biggest Fan?
Before you get engaged, ask yourself this question: “Am I my sweetheart’s biggest fan – and is he or she mine?” Do you want to share your accomplishments and failures with him or her first, or do you prefer to go to someone else first?
For some of my victories, I do go to other people first. Sometimes because Eric’s busy at work and someone else is more readily available. Sometimes because another person has been specifically helping me reach a goal. However, at the end of the day, I want Eric to be a part of my accomplishments. I want him at the finish line of my races. I want to see pride on his face when I win. Do you have a cheerleader in your sweetie? Does he or she have one in you?
We Want a Witness to Our Lives
In the excellent movie, Shall We Dance, Susan Sarandon’s character asked the private investigator she hired, “Why is it, do you think, people get married?” When he said, “Passion,” she responded:
“No. [It’s] because we need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”
Sometimes the best way to cheer your sweetie along is to just be a witness to their lives. This quote resonated with me when I first heard it because it was one of the most honest, non-mushy, deep explanations as to why people choose to marry. We want a partner. We want a witness. We want to be important to someone. We want to cheer and be cheered.
If it Matters to You, It Matters to Me
Do you truly care about what matters to your boyfriend? Do you listen to your girlfriend talk about her life even if she gets a little long-winded? Do you feel encouraged by each other? Do you believe you and what you love are important to your sweetie? In relationships, it hurts when your significant other or spouse takes little interest in your passions. It’s not fair to assume that he or she should become crazy excited about your sport or craft; but, it’s not unreasonable to think that he or she should show some interest in it because he or she is interested in you. “If it matters to you, it matters to me. I may never love it or choose to engage in it on my own, but I care about how much it means to you.”
If you are in a relationship that completely lacks this cheerleading element, it’s time to have a frank conversation. Your sweetie may not realize you need cheering on – or he or she may be already trying to support you in less obvious ways (or, in ways which don’t communicate support to you). If explaining your need for more support does not help, decide if you are willing to live with this dynamic for the rest of your life. Maybe even seek counseling.
Couples often show encouragement in different ways, so be grace-filled towards each other as you learn. However, if it’s clear that your sweetheart has no interest in your goals, dreams, and passions, and has no interest in supporting you in your endeavors, it sounds like a clear indicator that he or she is still too selfish (or not quite ready) to be someone’s spouse. You’re not looking for perfection, but you are looking for effort. With life’s ups and downs, receiving and giving encouragement is essential.
Is your sweetie your biggest fan and vice versa?