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9 Signs Your Husband Is Supportive (and a Keeper!)

Photograph by Twenty20

Out of nowhere, I found myself teary-eyed, totally unproductive and questioning my life, my choices and my career. Despite being a blogger, I'm a pretty private person and it's hard for me to reach out to a friend when I'm feeling the blues. Usually I just suck it up and assume I'm having an off day or have been overtaken by a tidal wave of hormones.

I don't get depressed often, and when I do, it generally passes quickly. But this week, it didn't. I just couldn't shake it. Noticing this, my husband made sure to check in with me a bit more often than normal during the day and made sure to pepper me with encouragement and compliments.

Finally yesterday, I was able to talk to him about what was going on in my head. It turned into a lengthy conversation with him listening, encouraging me and reminding me of all the good things I had accomplished rather than what I was focusing on: the things I didn't accomplish.

I left that conversation feeling much better. It wasn't that all my problems were solved. But more importantly, I realized having a supportive spouse trumps any concerns I was having about my life. I couldn't imagine not having my best friend and partner also be my biggest supporter and cheerleader.

But I know that's not always the case, which reminds me just how lucky I am. One of my best friends is a writer whose husband has never read a word of her work. Another good friend's husband refers to parenting issues as "her problem." And the list goes on.

Truthfully, every woman has to judge the supportiveness of her spouse for herself. But if you ask me, here are 9 signs your man has got your back. (And of course, the same goes in reverse.)

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1. He doesn't call your work a hobby or a thing.

Whether you make $1 a year or a $100,000 a year, your career is not a hobby. When someone refers to another's vocation as a hobby or makes comments like, "How's that thing you've been working on?" it minimizes you and your work. Nobody asks a man how his hobby is going when he leaves for work each day.

2. He's a partner in parenting and doesn't assume Mom is the default parent.

A supportive spouse doesn't opt in to child rearing when it's convenient.

Parenting is not one parent's job, nor is it the other parent's job. Parenting is, usually, a decision two people made together. So while one parent's schedule might allow for them to be with the kids more than the other, that shouldn't mean that parenting is his or her job by default. A supportive spouse doesn't opt in to child rearing when it's convenient. They're engaged and involved, not just for the kid's benefit, but to support their partner in parenting.

3. A supportive spouse doesn't blame you when one of the kids is struggling.

It's stressful when one of the kids is struggling in school or when you have a toddler that won't eat or sleep. It's natural to want to find an answer or solution, but that doesn't mean the problem is one parent's fault. Parenting choices should be made together and solved together.

4. A supportive spouse sees when you need a break, from the kids, from work, from him!

And he gives it to you without comments like, "Why are you tired? You went to sleep at 10." Or, "What's so hard about being with kids all day?" Everybody needs a break, moms included.

5. He supports you pursuing outside interests that may not include him.

Life doesn't stop at motherhood and neither do a mother's interests. A supportive guy recognizes that and helps make it happen.

While rewarding, motherhood can be constraining. Most moms I know, myself included, find it life-altering to spend time with friends, see art or shows or get away for a few days. Life doesn't stop at motherhood and neither do a mother's interests. A supportive guy recognizes that and helps make it happen.

6. He does things that you enjoy, even if he doesn't.

Lord knows you do the same for him!

7. When you just need someone to talk to, he listens rather than tells you why you're wrong.

I know I personally sometimes want to talk about an issue I'm having. My husband wants to offer solutions and fix the problem. I don't always want his solutions. I usually just want a supportive ear. It took us a while, but now he understands his job isn't always to fix stuff. Sometimes his job is to do what my girlfriends do and listen.

8. He thinks ahead, thinking of things he can do to make your life easier.

When I've spent a day juggling bickering kids while making one meal after the next, nothing feels better than the hubs coming home and saying, "I stopped at the market to pick up a few things I noticed we needed."

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9. A supportive spouse doesn't sell you out in front of the kids.

There's nothing worse than having just told the kids "no" and your husband comes in and tells them the opposite. A supportive spouse supports your parenting choice in front of the kids. If he disagrees, he should tell you in private.

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