A major concern today is that people are so busy on the life hamster wheel with work and family that there is little time for people to really feel into how they are feeling and what their true needs are. 

According to Elizabeth Jane, without recognising and communicating our needs, our relationships tend to suffer.

What can we do to rekindle the spark or deepen our connection with our partner? Elizabeth Jane, respected wellbeing and mindfulness keynote speaker, relationships’ coach and mentor, celebrated artist and author of Amazon best-seller ‘Free and First – Unlocking Your Ultimate Life’, shares some tips to help busy couples get their relationships back on track. 

Jane experienced a sudden and traumatic divorce after 25 years of marriage and during her difficult and life changing journey of rebuilding her life and finding her new path, she journalled the process translating her insights and learnings into a highly sought-after self-help book.

Jane now speaks all over the world and shares her insights and tools on how to survive and overcome difficult and challenging life experiences as well as how to find joy, and in the process, rediscover yourself. 

“Many people are so busy dealing with the daily challenges of life that they start to lose touch with themselves and those around them including their partners,” Jane said. 

“As a result, friction and tension develops and people drift apart.  It is important to make the effort to stay connected and this involves actively working with each other to ensure you stay aligned. The key to a great relationship is understanding and respecting your needs and those of your partner and being able to effectively communicate and share how you feel to make things work for both of you,” Jane said. 

Jane shares her criteria for healthy empowered relationships. 


Me time

“It is paramount to allow time each day for self-reflection to feel into what matters to you and then to be able to set and maintain healthy boundaries to allow your needs to be met,” Jane said. 

Jane talks about this important skill in her book as the ‘ABC of Me’ tool. 

‘Me Time’ has two equally essential components: being quiet, reflective and meditative time and time to play or follow your joy. Jane believes both components are essential for our mental health and the health of our relationship.

“If we don’t allow ourselves this time out for self-nurture, it is difficult to both foster a healthy self-esteem and allow ourselves to feel how we feel. We are then unlikely to be able to speak up and set boundaries when things bother us, neglecting our needs,” Jane added. 


Daily empowered communication time with your partner   

Jane explains that empowered communication is about being able to speak authentically about what matters to you and setting and maintaining boundaries to ensure your needs are met. This type of communication builds intimacy and allows a relationship to strengthen. Conversely not speaking up about how you feel builds walls in a relationship and over time you can distance yourself from your partner as well as lose yourself in the process.

Empowered communication is an acquired skill that requires a healthy self-esteem, vulnerability and courage to face and speak about how you feel. It also requires a certain determination, focus and lots of practice especially if you have been a people pleaser or peacekeeper in the past. 

“Practice makes perfect.  Don’t be too tough on yourself when you don’t succeed at first. It takes time to break from restrictive people pleasing habits and also your partner will probably take time to adjust to the newfound you who stands up to matters that are important to them,” Jane said. 

“Realise that when conflict arises it may well be a reflection of something within you that needs to be healed. For example, if your partner is not respecting you, it’s a good idea to take a close look at how much respect you have for yourself and give yourself more self-nurture time if needed to build this quality within you.

“Relationships are a brilliant tool and opportunity to work out what needs to be looked at within us – especially when a problem or challenge arises within the relationship. Such conflict can be an opportunity for both parties to grow if handled the right way.”

In her book Jane details five techniques for empowered conversations, one being ‘The Listen and Reflect’ technique where your partner’s words are reflected back to them so they feel heard and understood. 

“This technique improves listening skills and gives both parties more opportunity to understand their partner’s viewpoint, how they feel and what they need,” Jane said. 

For a conversation to be empowered it requires at least these components:

  1. Both parties to be actively present and not distracted by devices
  2. Two Way – allowing both partners to speak, to listen and be heard
  3. Should be heart felt, but assertive
  4. Responsive not reactive – refrain from blaming or shaming your partner and instead initiate conversations with positive words and how you feel then lead into the behaviour that you won’t tolerate 
  5. Be Authentic. Being positive is a good attribute but not when it is masking how you truly feel  


Money – Major Cause for Conflict in Relationships

“You may have heard that money is one of the biggest causes of conflict between two people. So how do we navigate these tricky yet inevitable discussions without resorting to heated arguments? By regularly setting aside some time together to discuss the household and family budget,” Jane said. 

“Couples who are transparent with each other and set financial goals together are generally closer because they understand and trust each other. Besides budgeting and goal setting, it’s also a good idea to address your debt together to avoid unnecessary conflict. 

“Set your debt as a shared goal, which may include having some short-term sacrifices, but always keep your goal in mind. When you’re in a relationship with someone, you’re creating a life together. Recognise that money is simply a tool to help you realise your dreams together.”


Practise acceptance

“You cannot change people and you shouldn’t want to. If you’re with someone that you constantly find fault with and want something to change, then you’re not with the right person. You need to learn to accept them as they are and realise that you cannot control them,” Jane said. 

“Instead, love yourself more, and love them for who they are and redirect that energy towards self-development. Focus on your own personal journey and contribution to the relationship. Focus on how you can become the best version of yourself and embrace personal growth.”

In Jane’s book ‘Free and First – Unlocking Your Ultimate Life’ she discusses how conflict within a relationship, can be an opportunity for personal and relationship growth when handled the right way. Jane provides solid tools and techniques to guide you forward so that you can become the person you were always meant to be, living with more peace, joy and freedom. 


Fun and Spontaneity 

Jane emphasises that pursuing a fulfilling, healthy and positive relationship doesn’t have to be about going on epic trips and spending a load of money. You can have lots of little moments together involving small habits, rituals and routines. Having fun together and spontaneity is important. Think regular game or movie nights, going on walks together, going for coffee together, surprising one another with loving messages, are just small and inexpensive ways that couples can really take the time to show affection and care for one another. 

These are the things that are the building blocks of our daily lives, so doesn’t it make sense to focus on these rather than those few and far between moments of grand trips away? Having some interests in common definitely goes a long way towards maintaining the bond between two people, but you should always continue to pursue your own interests and hobbies too so that you can share your experiences with your other half. 

“An interdependent relationship should be the goal – somewhere in the middle between co-dependency and independence where both partners can keep their sense of identity as well as enjoying the third relationship of us,” Jaid said. 


Practice sexual intimacy

“Sexual intimacy is one of the most direct forms of maintaining and improving your relationship with your partner and it’s a fundamental part of any healthy relationship. Make sure when you have intimate sexual time that you leave your adult self and work matters out of the bedroom and bring out the playful, heart centred inner child in you. Again, expressing to our partner how we feel and what we need helps build the intimacy within the relationship,” Jane said. 

“Regular ‘conscious’ sex where both parties are truly present, aware of all their senses, is linked to lower divorce rates amongst married couples and has many physical and psychological benefits including lowering stress, boosting your immunity and improving your sleep.

“We often think about intimacy as just sex, however it’s not the only way to express intimacy. Cuddling, kissing, holding hands and massages are some other forms of intimacy too.”


Sharing your life with your partner

Maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner requires ongoing time and energy to ensure healthy boundaries are always in place, but the rewards are forthcoming. Having regular empowered conversations allow growth for both parties and a relationship can truly flourish.

“People in healthy relationships are more likely to feel happier and more satisfied with their lives and are less likely to have mental health and even physical health problems as thoughts and emotions are not contained and restrained within but are discussed openly. There is also much more freedom within the relationship as neither party is sidelining their needs,” Jane added. 

About Elizabeth Jane

Elizabeth Jane is an Australian artist, author and public speaker. She uses a selection of painting media in her art, including acrylic oil and water colour. Digital and canvas versions of her art are available for purchase through her website.  Jane’s debut book, ‘Free and First—Unlocking Your Ultimate Life’, was written as part of her healing process following her divorce, which ended a 25-year marriage. Jane aims to develop wellness centres and healing sanctuaries focused on helping people to recover from relationship breakdowns and other life issues. 

Find more information on www.elizabethjane.com.au