Author: Ann Schiebert
Values are the basic beliefs that guide or motivate your attitudes or actions. They help you to determine what is important to you. And they describe the personal qualities you choose to exemplify: the sort of person you want to be and the way in which you treat yourself and others. In essence, they provide the general guidelines for how you conduct yourself in the world and, importantly, in your romantic relationships.
What are your values? Do you know? If you don’t know what your values are, three things often occur:
1. Your romantic partners, family, and friends don’t know what is important to you!
2. You don’t have stable relationship foundations.
3. You allow others to violate your values, and you will suffer.
We’ll examine these three possible outcomes of not knowing your values in this blog post and the next two blog posts.
Research shows that like values are the very best foundation for a romantic relationship. It is uber important to discuss your values, so each party knows the standards of the other. You also need to have like definitions of your values. Here is an example of why that is true: If one of your values is “fun” and you define it as being fun-loving, and to seek, create and engage in fun-filled activities, and your partner shares that value too, but explains “fun” as playing video games all day, your definitions of “fun” don’t match. Having like values that are not understood the same way can create great discord in a romantic relationship. While a romantic couple might tell each other that “fun” is a very important value, we can see that without describing what “fun” means, there can be an unintentional mismatch.
Write down what your MOST important values are. That way you will walk through life with a better understanding of your standards, ethics, principals, and morals. Google “Value Sort” and you will find an array of choices that will help you determine your values. You can also find a “Value Sort” in my book, Let’s Make a Contract: Getting Through Unhappy Romantic Relationship.
If you come from a supportive family, a conversation about values makes very interesting dinner table conversation. If you have friends who care about your thoughts and feelings, discussing your values with each other can strengthen your friendship. Romantic partners, family, and friends will know what is important to you and vice versa. By having the “value discussion,” you create a solid foundation for romantic and platonic relationships. The value discussion opens the door to greater intimacy, which leads to more happiness in your relationships. Who doesn’t want that?