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Husbands, wives and Oscars, those famed, golden bald men given out at the Academy Awards each year, have an interesting history.

In 2009, Sean Penn popped up in the tabloids after winning the Academy Award for Best Actor following his role in Milk. Why? For neglecting to mention his wife in his Oscar acceptance speech. Hounded by reporters, he finally explained that he and wife Robin Wright Penn had discussed the speech beforehand, and had decided that—in order to save time so that Penn could speak at greater length about continuing injustices within the gay community—he’d leave her out. When asked whether his wife knew how much he loved and appreciated her, he simply responded, “She knows.”

That’s sorta sweet. But what about the time Hilary Swank forgot to thank hubby Chad Lowe when she won the Academy Award in 2000 for her role in Boys Don’t Cry (the couple divorced in 2006)? And how about the time Sarah Jessica Parker forgot to thank Matthew Broderick when she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy? Rumor had it that their relationship was on the rocks.

The 2010 Oscars are just around the corner. Given the touchy connection between acceptance speech mentions and marital bliss, we wonder: if there were an award for Best-Supporting Spouse, would you win? Here are three ways to successfully support a spouse, all the way to the Kodak Theatre stage.

1. Support your partner‘s every endeavor.

If your partner has created—or is in the process of creating—a new web app, a short story, or the architectural plans for a super-cool man cave, show some interest, for the love of god. Allow yourself to be swept up by his enthusiasm, and even go so far as to give well-thought-out constructive criticism (but only when solicited). Knowing that you care, and that you think he’s brilliant, will make your man feel like a million bucks, and perhaps even give him the extra fuel he needs to finish the job.

2. Respect his need to “make it work.”

You may, occasionally, have to deal with insufficient amounts of couple time, either because your partner has a major deadline to meet, or because he’s so swept away by the excitement of his latest project that he just. can’t. stop. During such spans of time, you may feel compelled to simply lay in bed, in the dark, weeping, because all you want is the chance to at least fall asleep next to him and god it’s like you’re single all over again! Resist these urges, and also resist complaining (too much) about his extended absences. He’s already under a lot of pressure, and your ability to take such tough circumstances in stride will make him appreciate you all the more.

3. Talk him up.

Once your beloved is done with his project…and maybe even before he’s done…talk him up. Become a one-woman publicity department, and rave about the work your partner’s doing to anyone who will listen. Hand out his business cards. Tweet links to his web posts. Throw a launch party to celebrate a project’s successful conclusion. When everyone gathers around for his toast, guess who he’ll thank?

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