Five Characteristics That Make A Great Partner
After working with hundreds of couples over the years, I’ve noticed key characteristics that are, almost without exception, present in healthy relationships. These characteristics are prevalent in both partners in any healthy partnership. Read over this list and rate yourself on each of these traits. If you don’t pass the test—don’t even bother looking at your partner’s grade in these areas...until you get your own grade up.
The five characteristics of a great partner are:
1. Trustworthy: All great partners are trustworthy partners. They say what they mean, are where they say they’re going to be and act as though their significant other (SO) and family is their first priority. Trustworthy partners could care less if their SO looks at their e-mail or cell phone because they have nothing to hide. They don’t hide the truth, tell half-truths or omit details in order to avoid a conflict. They share information authentically, and deal relationally with any resulting feelings their SO may have.
2. Complimentary: Great partners freely give compliments to their loved one. They tell them how nice they look, why they fell in love with them, what they love about them, how they missed them, etc. They’re not afraid to say, “I love you” and, in fact, say it often. They acknowledge their SO’s efforts and show appreciation for their hard work around the house, at work or with the kids. The bottom line is they take time to notice their partner’s actions and make sure they speak their appreciation.
3. Supportive: Great partners have their loved one’s back. They want their significant other to be happy and support them in anyway they can. If their other half is upset about work, a great partner listens with empathy. If their SO hates their job and wants to get a new one, a great partner helps them brainstorm ways to make that happen. They don’t slam down the gauntlet and make their loved one stay someplace where they’re miserable. A great partner doesn’t laugh when they hear for the 100th time their loved one plans to start exercising; instead they ask how they can help.
4. Inter-dependent: A great partner is neither too dependent nor too independent. They don’t need their significant other, they want them. They do for themselves what they can and they ask for help on the things they can’t. They don’t try to be Superman or Wonder Woman and do it all. They know that by sharing the load, they are building intimacy, trust and friendship. A great partner is a great team player. They know healthy relationships are about incorporating a healthy sense of we versus an overdose of me.
5. Intimate: Intimacy means “into-me-you-see;” great partners know how to emotionally share themselves. They also know how to listen when their SO is sharing as well. A great partner wants to know more about their SO and wants their SO to know more about them. They share because they want to, not because they have to. They ask about their loved one’s day, feelings, dreams, etc., because they want to know what’s going on in their SO’s life.
These are just a few characteristics that set great partners apart from not-so-great partners. If you happen to be with a great partner—hold on to them, they are not very common. If you are a great partner—nice job!
If you’re not a great partner, start doing the work necessary to become one.
CHALLENGE: Read over the five characteristics above and determine how well you rate on the partner scale. Choose one area you’re weak in and focus on that area for the next month. See what you notice as a result. Good-luck...and let us know how it goes!