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Why Are Core Values so Important to Your Relationship?

Couple talking closelyWe hold that for two people to be in harmony, they have to have matching core values. They have to have the same approach to people and the world.

We introduced this idea in a workshop we did recently by giving out a list of suggested core values, asking people to identify theirs and then talk about them with someone else. The list was just a jumping-off point (find that list at the bottom of this blog) and we suggested that people add their own whenever they came up with different ones.

We were surprised at how animated the discussion was. This was obviously an exercise that challenged people to look deeply, as many of the attendees had not really thought about what their core values were.

One woman shared that if she and her second husband had discussed their values, they never would have gotten married or had children! One of the men shared that just before he and his ex-wife got married they had a discussion of what they wanted from their life together. She said she wanted the white picket fence, a certain amount of children, a certain degree of affluence; in essence a completely NORMAL life, as she put it. He, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with NORMAL, the farthest from it in fact. They got married anyway and that went in a predictable manner, the way that marriages without matching values go!

Since having matching core values is a critical foundation in creating a relationship that is both conflict-free and peaceful, we feel it would be useful to review what core values are in more depth.

The thing with core values, as with emotions in general, is that they are felt, not thought. They only become clear through feeling what is right and then labeling them. Until they are named, they are forces outside our control that move us in mysterious ways. Once we can articulate our values and our feelings, we can make decisions that integrate the emotional and the rational.

In order to honestly view whether your values match with a partner, you need to first examine alone and for yourself, what the values are at the root of how you live your life, of who you are and how you interact with the world.

It can be very revealing to search inside yourself for these values and to observe how they express themselves in your life. These principles underlie most of the important decisions that you make. The more you get to know yourself, the more this will be true. We all have a wide panoply of values, yet some of these are so intrinsic to who we are and how we want to be in the world that they become core to all else that we do and decide. They go to our very hearts.

When reflecting on what they are for you, you will find that these are not transient or dependent on a particular situation. Rather they are more of a determining factor in what you do and how you do it on an ongoing basis. Do look at what seems to travel with you on your life’s journey, perhaps reappearing in different dresses, but always echoing those same values. They may find different forms of expression, but they do not really alter much when circumstances change.

Certainly, there are transformations that sometimes bring forth an actual change in these values, but more often they just deepen and get expanded or clarified. This process of consciously connecting with your core values is something that it is good to keep as a recurring activity in your inner life.

When you want to begin a new relationship or revivify a long term one, this is the first place to go. Look at and reflect upon each other’s core values. In order to express total acceptance and to live and love in true support of your partner, you must have matching core values. If you hold one value and your partner doesn’t, is it a deal-breaker or just a difference that adds variety to your life?

To answer that, you need to know your own values and what your partner’s are, too. You can’t judge the latter by what they say, only by how they behave, and that takes observation over a period of time. Does the other person actually live by the values being espoused? Take the time to find that out.

When you are able to match and harmonize these principles of living together, you will be able to find mutual solutions that work for both of you, and you will be well on your path to finding a transcendent experience of shared peace and conflict-free relating.

Here’s the list of core values we offered:

Financially responsible
Political position
Service to others
Spirit of adventure
Spiritual/Religious practice

Photo from Suzanne Dechert's postcard collection

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Friday Feature: Recognizing and Addressing Codependency in Your Relationship

This week we’re pleased to share In our occasional Friday Feature series a guest post on codependency by Aleah Leslie.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner

BookshelfIn this week's blog, we wrote about why core values are so important in your relationship. Here is a selection of articles sharing their views on this topic.

Are Relationships Workable When You Have Clashing Values? "I remember a few years ago I was in a relationship with a woman whom I loved deeply. The passion and feelings were there. They were strong. Yet, the relationship never felt right. In terms of our values, we were mismatched. While my heart was in it, my head was trying to pull me away. Our emotional connection was fierce, but we did not connect in some of the crucial areas of alignment."

13 Things That Are More Important In A Relationship Than Looks Or Money Good article if you're able to ignore the annoying GIFs "Money can't buy you love, and, for that matter, neither can smokin' hot looks or an amazing job or any kind of outside material at all. We all know this, but what are the things that are more important than looks in a relationship. I enlisted a troop of relationship experts, psychotherapists, dating counselors, a life coach and a clinical hypnotherapist to tell me what they hold to be much more vital in relationships than the way a person looks or the number on their bank statement, and their answers were striking."

Why shared values are more important than shared interests "If you have shared values, regardless of your interests, your relationship has a good chance of success. On the other hand, if you have no shared values but lots of common interests, you might have a great time together for a while but when it comes to making decisions about marriage, children and careers, you could find that you lack the strong foundations that move you forward."


Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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