What Is The Secret To A Strong Relationship With Your Partner? Knowing Yourself!


Want to know the secret to a strong and lasting relationship with your partner? It has to start with you knowing yourself.

Firstly you need to be able to recognise your emotions and work out what they have to tell you about what you need.

Then you need to be able to state those needs in a calm and positive way – this is what we call assertively drawing your boundaries.

All of this depends on you having a clear sense of who you are. Let’s look at why that is, and how you can get to know yourself better, and feel more confident about your relationship.


The Secret To A Strong Relationship: Understanding Your Feelings And Needs


Having a great relationship with your partner starts with understanding your emotions.

Let me give you an example.

Do you ever feel envious of your partner?

Owning emotions like envy and resentment can make us feel particularly vulnerable.

They can feel embarrassing, or even shameful.

Envy is about wanting what the other person has.

I envy my husband’s ability to work as much as he does without feeling guilty that he’s not spending every available minute with his children.

I wish it felt that easy for me.

Sometimes envy just means longing for what the other person has, without any ill will intended towards the person.

Sometimes it develops into bearing a grudge.

That’s when it can become resentment.

Envy and resentment are fuelled by comparison.

So it makes sense that going from two individuals in a relationship, to two people raising children together, can be a trigger for envy and resentment.

How could you not compare yourself to your coparent?

It’s natural. And it’s important, if you want equality.

Envy becomes resentment when we don’t pay enough attention to what it’s telling us about what we need.

It can develop into anger and hate when we become focused on what an easy ride our partners are getting.

When we bemoan the injustice, without asserting our own needs and desires.

The better you understand your emotions, the easier it is to work out what you need, and ask for (or take!) it.

In what ways do you envy your partner?

What does that have to tell you about what you want and need?


Drawing Your Boundaries


When we understand our emotions, it’s easier to draw our boundaries.

Having clear boundaries and setting limits are both crucial to the health of your relationship.

Because if you continue to accept things that you’re not really ok with, sooner or later it’s going to drive a wedge between you.

But you can’t tell other people what you’ll comfortably accept from them unless you’re clear about where those lines lie yourself.

You need to be aware of your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, as well as the choices you’re making – whether actively or passively. (Doing nothing is a choice too.)

As Denis Waitley says,

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”

You need to know what you want and need, what your feelings and intuitions are telling you.

It helps if you can be aware of your hopes and dreams, things you imagine, relationship patterns you have got drawn into in the past, and any unfinished business you’re carrying around too.

When you’re not aware of these elements which make up your inner life, it makes it difficult to get clear about what’s acceptable to you, and to speak up when you’re uncomfortable with how things are.


Boundaries In Parenthood


When we become parents, our whole world changes.

It can sometimes feel like everything is happening very quickly.

We have to make far more decisions than ever before – often disagreeing with our partners about them – while our thoughts and beliefs are in flux.

It’s easy to lose touch with what your feelings are telling you when your whole sense of self is up in the air.

It’s hard to be flexible and adaptable when you’re under stress.

At some point on the other side of this transition, you’ll start to feel like you know who you are again.

If you felt unclear about your thoughts and feelings for a while, you might have found yourself going along with things, but now realising you’re not happy with them.

You don’t have to carry on with anything you went along with during that unsettled time when you weren’t quite sure who you were or what you needed.

You’re allowed to change your mind.

Brene Brown explains the importance of holding your boundaries when she says,

“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, the mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”

Your partner needs you do this, even if they don’t always like the lines you draw.

They need you to stay authentic so you can stay present in the relationship.


The Secret To A Strong Relationship: Asserting Yourself


Setting boundaries means standing up for yourself, ideally calmly and positively.

And it means expressing your opinions, feelings, and needs directly.

Women in particular often struggle with assertiveness, because our patriarchal society rewards us for being passive.

When women stand up for themselves, they are often shot down. (This starts at a young age with little girls being called “bossy”.)

Assertive people respect other people’s feelings and needs.

But they do so without denying or quashing their own.

You can stand up for your rights in a clear, open and reasonable way, without denying anyone else theirs.

Assertive people:

  • talk openly about what they think and how they feel, and encourage others to do the same (while respecting that sometime people find talking about how they feel makes them feel better, and sometime people find it makes them feel worse, so pushing people to talk isn’t helpful)
  • listen to others and respond kindly, whether they agree or disagree
  • are responsible, but don’t do more than their fair share, and delegate/divide up tasks
  • admit their mistakes and apologise when necessary (but don’t go around saying sorry all the time!)
  • feel in control of themselves, and don’t feel the need to control others
  • treat everyone as equals, including themselves
  • say thank you, including to compliments and expressions of appreciation


The better you know yourself, the easier you’ll find it to assert yourself.

The more assertive you are, the more self-respect and self-esteem you’ll develop.

Your relationships will come to feel more authentic, and you’ll have more time for your priorities.

This stuff isn’t always easy, but that’s sort of the point. As Nathaniel Branden puts it, “It is a mistake to look at someone who is self-assertive and say, ‘It’s easy for her, she has good self-esteem.’ One of the ways you build self-esteem is by being self-assertive when it is not easy to do so.”

Love Happy Live Free is my holistic group coaching program which teaches you the 6 steps to relationship mastery.

Step two is where we revolutionise your relationship with your emotions, so you welcome them as information about what you need.

Step five teaches you how to communicate assertively, including drawing your boundaries and knowing what to do next when one is crossed.

Find out about the other fours steps and join the waiting list here.


The Secret To A Strong Relationship Is Knowing Yourself


“How can you even know what you want, if you don’t know who you are? Invest the time and energy into getting to know yourself. Get real with yourself.” – Akiroq Brost

It’s not always easy to be open with your partner about how you’re feeling and what you need.

Sometimes it feels easier to stay resentful than to ask for – or demand – change.

We do need to be willing to face the differences between us in order to find compromises that work for us both, though.

We need to be brave to share our true feelings, and assert our boundaries.

But first we need to know how we feel, what we want and need, and what is and isn’t ok with us.

We can only really have this awareness when we know ourselves well.

So how can you develop awareness of your thoughts and feelings, beliefs, decisions, choices, experiences, and intuitions?

There are many ways to do this.

Meditation, journaling, and talking therapy are all very useful.

One of the most powerful ways of all is to join a group of likeminded people who are on a similar journey to you.

You’ll learn from each other, and keep yourselves accountable as you learn and grow.

People who know themselves well are better at expressing what they want, so more likely to get it, and feel happier.

They have less inner conflict, because they find it easier to align their actions with their values.

They make better decisions, feel more in control of themselves, and both less pressured by and more understanding of others.

And not only this but they experience more pleasure, feeling more alive, more real.

Each of us is responsible for getting our own needs met.

Being clear about who you truly are means you can show up for your partner in the most authentic way possible.

Click here to join the waiting list for Love Happy Live Free.

You can also click here to get in touch, and click here to join my mailing list for regular updates on how to have a great relationship after kids.