The support you get from your spouse or romantic partner may determine your personal growth and psychological well-being, a study suggests.
The findings showed a supportive spouse encourages his or her partner to embrace life opportunities by expressing enthusiasm about the opportunity while also reassuring and talking about the potential benefits of taking on the challenge.
The spouses who accepted challenges showed an increase in their personal growth, happiness, psychological well-being as well as had a better relationship.
"Significant others can help you thrive through embracing life opportunities or they can hinder your ability to thrive by making it less likely that you will pursue opportunities for growth," said lead author Brooke Feeney, Professor at the Carnegie Mellon University in the US.
For the study, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the team brought 163 married couples into the lab and gave one member of each couple a choice: either solve a simple puzzle or they were given an opportunity to compete for a prize by giving a speech.
The researchers then recorded the couples' interactions as they decided whether to take on the challenge.
Participants with more encouraging partners were substantially more likely to decide to compete for the prize, while those with partners who discouraged them or expressed a lack of confidence more often chose the simple puzzle.
Six months later, those who pursued the more challenging task reported having more personal growth, happiness and better relationships than those who did not.