Improve Your Relationship by Honoring Your Needs

Honor your needs from the inside out to improve your relationship.

It would be wonderful if our partner or spouse met all of our needs for love, sex, intimacy, finances, fun, recreation, encouragement, safety, support, passion, romance, nurturing, you name it. But we live in a world where each person has their own variation of needs and how they like them met, as well as how they like to express love to others. It would be challenging to have every need met by one person, and it would most likely lead to a codependent relationship over time.

Healthy individuals know how to honor their needs without putting pressure on loved ones to meet all of them. Some can only be met through relationship, while other needs can be honored within. Explore the following four step process of honoring your needs in order to improve your relationship.

Identify Your Needs

Each person has their own set of needs that if not met create discomfort. Make a list of all your underlying needs. Do you need peace and quiet to work, or do you perform better in a noisy environment? Is it important to have your home and office orderly and tidy, or are you comfortable in a cluttered environment? Do you tend to express your thoughts and feelings with others or are you more of an internal processor? Do you like to be recognized for your accomplishments or do you prefer anonymity? What other basic needs do you have?

What are the important components for you in a romantic relationship or marriage? Is regular physical touch, sexual intimacy, verbal appreciation, intimate conversations, gifts, shared activities, spirituality, or creativity imperative? Another way to identify your needs is to notice what bothers you. For example, if criticism is painful you may have a need for appreciation. If you feel lonely or left out, it may be time for intimate connection or quality time spent together. If you feel unseen or unheard perhaps you crave acknowledgement. Identify your specific relationship needs.

What Needs are Met and Unmet?

Notice what needs are already being met in your life. Where are you able to honor your needs on your own? Which needs are being met through your relationship? Take time to appreciate the areas where your needs are met in connection with your partner or spouse as this positive perspective will improve your relationship.

What needs are not being met? How does this affect you? How does it affect your relationship? Determine which needs you can honor on your own and which ones need to be met through your relationship.

How to Honor Your Needs

Brainstorm all the possible ways you can meet your own needs, even the ones that are directly related to your relationship. The more you honor your needs, the more empowered you will feel and the less pressure you will put on your partner and the relationship. How can you fill your desire for connection, fun or recreation outside of the relationship? Would increasing self-love, self-acceptance or self-esteem be a way to honor your needs? Explore ways to give these gifts to yourself.

As you begin to fulfill your own needs, your partner will feel freer and this will improve your relationship. Sometimes when a spouse is not being pressured to do something or behave a certain way, they let go of resistance and then are naturally drawn to meet their loved one’s needs.

Communicate Needs with Your Partner

For needs that can only be met through your relationship with your spouse or partner, or that are a ‘make it or break it deal’ in a romantic relationship or marriage, discuss these with your mate.

To ensure that your partner doesn’t feel judged or bombarded with requests, schedule a time to talk about both of your needs, not just yours. Communicate from the heart and soul so you don’t get lost in mental judgments or emotional manipulation. Approach the subject from a place of partnership and teamwork. How can the two of you find ways to meet each others relationship needs in a healthy way together? And how can you support each other to honor your own individual needs?

As you explore ways to honor your needs for yourself and with your partner, your relationship will improve as you will both be happy and satisfied from the inside out.

Do you have any questions or comments about how to improve your relationship by honoring your needs? Please share below.

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Dear Readers,

I am not able to be on the computer much these days due to my current activities, so I won't be able to respond to comments very often.

I encourage you though, to use the comment section as a place to share your experience, read about others' and to respond to and support each other with your situations.

Take care,


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8 Responses to Improve Your Relationship by Honoring Your Needs

  1. Second Chance Letter says:

    Yes, I find it very interesting and it has lots of good advices. Thanks for sharing this article.

  2. JANE says:

    I really enjoy your articles, they are so spot on and I can really relate to them, especially the ones that relate to how we relate in romantic relationships.

    I spotted in myself a long time ago, a need to find a man who showed I hoped similar traits to those I have in my mother, the most important one to me, being that the person is supportive-kind-caring.

    I have read that is important to meet our own needs, and I guess I have a job to know how much is realistic to expect from another, and how much to try and supply to myself. I am still very much working on this and it isn’t easy!

    I did not have a good relationship with my father, so maybe this is why I look for the traits that my mother showed, as she was kind and supportive.

    I suppose its when we want/need to have, that its considered unhealthy. I found that my thoughts/attitudes etc were not in any way validated, and that often I felt ignored, interestingly this would relate to my father..who was immersed in himself and we were almost there (the family) by default.

    Not being judgemental seems a very hard habit to change. It does not feel nice to be judgemental, it feels nice to like someone and accept them as they are!

    Maybe we can lighten things up and try to be a little jokey , if we really cannot stop the judging, until we deal more with ourselves and why we do this ..

    What do you do if you like someone, but you are aware that you perhaps are in an unhealthy relate situation, maybe in timie both may change and grow and not necessarily grow apart, it must be possible. It depends on each individual, if both are really wiling to grow, it could be a win win situation!

    Here is the irony, I am really into self growth, spiritual type interests anything from healing, angels, ufo–anything unexplained, I know guys that I can talk to about this, but, I am not attracted to their energy, the guy I do like –I am drawn strongly to his energy, but he is not remotely intrigued about these things…

    oh flipping life!! why can’t it be straightforward!!


  3. Gini Grey says:

    Hi Jane,

    That makes sense that you would want to be with a partner who has the supportive, kind, caring traits of your mother, yet might be drawn more to a partner who is like your father – not present and invalidating. As I’m sure you know from your self-growth work, there is a whole psychology underneath this. This will make for a good article for me to write on the site, but the bottom line seems to be that we get into relationship with the very partner that embodies the traits that trigger our wounds. Some would say that this is to reinforce our underlying beliefs of not being worthy enough etc. but others shine a light on how this lights up these wounds so we can heal them and move on.

    I’ve watched myself over the years and noticed the different partners I’ve been drawn to and how they either fed an important need of mine or triggered a needy wound. Yet as I heal these wounds and find ways to meet my needs, I feel more empowered and my relationships shift.

    When you look at the energy of the types of men you are attracted to – what do they represent? Are you still working on old issues with your father? Or is it an aspect of yourself you’re trying to bring out (or are judging – when we judge male, we are often judging a masculine aspect of ourselves).?

    And regarding the spiritual type males you enjoy talking with but aren’t attracted to in a romantic type way – is there something you are not letting yourself have? Is it about receiving love, attention and common interests and you can’t have that yet?

    Just throwing out some ideas to explore.

    Take care,


  4. JANE says:

    Hi gini, it does make me wonder how the heck anyone ends up in a really emotionally healthy relationship. Its seems to me no man or woman is an island, therefore, if we could supply all our own needs, we would still wish to be in a relationship with others of the opposite sex. So when I read that we need to love ourselves and not try to find that love from someone else for example, I think it would be hard for many to know how to get the balance right.

    I have no idea what self love is meant to feel like. I guess it means not caring for another at the expense of ignoring our own needs.?

    I know that one of my weak areas is fearing rejection if I dare mention any issues that I feel are around..

    I guess the really best thing that most can hope to obtain is a partner who is a motivated as oneself to self development and to discuss issues win an adult way and agree to help each other learn from any issues.

  5. Gini Grey says:

    Hi Jane,

    I think it is challenging in our society to have a really emotionally healthy relationship (given the high percentage of dysfunctional families most of us were raised in). There is a saying that you can’t truly love another until you love yourself. This is why I believe we need to meet our core needs for love, attention, approval, feeling good enough etc. or we end up in codependant relationships with others – giving our power away just to get an ounce of love in return.

    When we love ourselves, we are not needy in relationships and if the relationship ends, we may be very sad and need to grieve, but we know down deep inside we are okay and will love another again. Their love does not equate with our survival so to speak.

    I have been focused on self-love for several years now as it seems to be key in so many areas of my life, not just relationships. I’ve discovered that love is at the core of our very being and all we really need to do is to touch into it and let it melt away the blocks to love. I’ve written a few articles on the topic – here and on my Insights & Inspiration site – some include experiential exercises for increasing self-love. Here are links to them:

    ~ Self Love

    ~ Increase Self Love with Your Intention

    ~ Open Your Heart with Self Love

    ~ Love Yourself to Receive Love

    I hope these help you to fill with your self-love and let it shine out!

    Take care,


  6. liz says:

    Hi Gini,

    How can you for sure know you don’t love yourself? I keep hearing that phrase “you can’t truly love another until you love yourself”, I mean I believe that I love myself enough to love someone, and I loved someone, and yet it didn’t seem to work because I feel that he didn’t meet one of my needs. Now i feel like i was selfish or that my need was too much.

  7. Gini Grey says:

    Hello Liz,

    Good question – how to know if you don’t love yourself. I believe at our core, we are filled with love, but if we’ve shut it down or it’s been covered up with invalidation, judgment etc. I think we tend to feel a bit of self-hatred within us. We don’t treat ourselves well – perhaps we get into codependant relationships or unhealthy relationships and friendships, we don’t honor our needs through relationship or for ourself. We beat ourselves up and don’t have high self esteem. We may punish ourselves through addiction, abuse etc. Fortunately, we can heal the underlying issues and start to love ourselves more.

    I think we love others as much as we love ourselves and if we feel we are loving someone else more than we love ourself, perhaps we are codependant or have strings attached to the love. There is a difference between attachment or needing another and loving someone unconditionally. You can love your partner but if the relationship isn’t a match and your needs aren’t being met (and can’t be met on your own) then it makes sense to leave the relationship but you can still love him or her. I left my last partner due to codependancy issues, but I still love him dearly (and it’s been 16 yrs since we parted).

    It’s not selfish to find a relationship that is a fit. If you are not happy in a relationship then this will affect your partner negatively so you are really doing both of you a favor by leaving. I do think it’s helpful to explore the relationship dynamics first (by seeing if you can meet your own needs or by looking for the lessons and healing opportunities, otherwise the pattern may continue in the next relationship – but hey, then you get another chance:)

    There are no mistakes in life, just opportunities for learning and growth.

    Take care,


  8. Simmy says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful article. I’ve just realised, aged fifty, that i’ve spent all my life taking care of others needs and totally repressed mine as they were never acknowledged as a child.

    I’m going to sit down and work through your advice – thank you so much for showing me there is another way!


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