Someone said the greatest asset of any person is a supportive partner. How do you build and maintain such a relationship?
Lead by example. Your partner will observe your habits and behaviors and begin to imitate them. If you demonstrate a bad temper and foul language, your partner will learn from you. If you show respect and affection, your partner will return the same to you. Make decisions that are in the best interest of both. No person can be ordered to do the bidding of another, but he or she may consent to follow when your loving leadership is observed.
Respect your partner. Your spouse did not vow to become your slave. You did not promise to follow his or her bidding either. When your spouse does not do as you wish, you should always respond with respect and love, never hostility. When you were married, you made certain vows of loyalty: to honor, love, cherish and so on. By your self-less behavior, convince your spouse of your sincere loyalty and respect.
Speak uplifting words. Never put down your spouse. Support your partner in public and in private. Speak words of blessing, never find fault. When you ask your partner to do something, use a tone of voice filled with respect and affection. Use words that allow your partner to make his or her own decision and not feel coerced or manipulated. Speak as you want your partner to speak to you.
Listen. The true secret of effective communication is not knowing how to express yourself, but learning attentiveness. When your spouse begins to speak, say, "Just a moment." Turn off all distractions, face your partner, make eye contact, then say, "Go ahead. I am listening." Attentiveness is something that you can give or withhold. It is possible to hear words and not actually be listening mentally. Listen to both the words and intent of your partner. Listen as you want your partner to listen to you.
Enjoy yourself. Lighten up. If every moment of every day is heavy and somber, you need to consider changing your style of approach to subjects. Spend time with your spouse when you do not discuss "business". Designate a time of day or place that you talk only about personal matters. Your partner needs a break from decision-making in order to make clear-headed decisions.
Offer a sense of security. Build a home environment where it is safe to disagree. Encourage your spouse to experience personal development and independent growth. A healthy relationship is not about dominance of one person or bending the will of another, but individuals coming to an agreement to submit to each other.
It is not about taking away someone's independence, but instead giving that person the freedom to choose to follow.