Relationships have their best chance of success when the partners have the same or essentially similar values.
When you and your partner view the world in the same way, you can build a strong connection and flourish together.
The old saying that “opposites attract” really only refers to the beginning of a relationship.
Oppositional views are likely to erode attraction over time because different values in a relationship keep driving wedges between the people.
Why Do You Need Relationship Values?
Shared values between partners foster stability within a relationship. The common ground can reduce conflict and help you resolve problems when they arise.
Your core values also tend to persist over the long term. Your tastes and opinions can certainly shift and evolve over time, but an outright shift in the values important to you is less likely.
When you and your partner have the same values, they become the bedrock of your relationship.
Benefits of relationship values:
- Greater capacity for partners to cooperate toward shared goals
- Fewer sources of disagreement in daily life
- Enhanced ability to trust each other
- More empathy between partners
- Greater sense of acceptance between partners
- Reduced chance of betrayal
What Are the Foundational Values in a Relationship?
Foundational values represent those relationship core values that will sustain a couple's sense of togetherness. Consider them to be like the terms of an operating agreement that a business partnership puts in writing.
These values describe the basic rules for interacting with each other and making decisions. In general, a shared sense of purpose between partners strongly correlates with their commitment to a relationship.
A foundational relationship values list might include:
- Agree to never yell at each other in anger
- Be willing to be vulnerable with each other
- Plan to communicate regularly about the relationship
15 Relationship Values for Lasting Love and Intimacy
The following values encompass the big issues that will help people form lasting relationships.
Unhappiness does not necessarily await partners who have some differences in values, but the majority of your values should be in alignment.
When thinking about values in a relationship, honesty has to be a priority. Lies and deception rob partners of a sense of security.
If you're not sure if you can rely on the information coming from your partner, then you will feel uncertain and alone.
A commitment to honesty between you and your partner will set the stage for success. Keep in mind, though, that you may need to apply honesty diplomatically for the sake of treating each other's feelings gently.
Deep and lasting love depends on standing by your partner through thick and thin. Loyalty does not have to mean always agreeing with someone, but it does mean that you and your partner will present a united front as you face the world.
Neither of you will try to undermine each other by taking someone else's side against your partner. The classic example here is when a spouse sides with a parent against the other spouse.
Such an action undermines the relationship.
Trust is, of course, related to honesty and loyalty, but it is a separate value on its own. Trust means that you can count on the other person always having your best interest at heart.
Some people have trouble trusting others, and this can make building a relationship difficult. As you discuss relationship values with your partner, both of you should embrace trust.
A romantic relationship is a partnership. The two of you are choosing to experience life together. Partners may believe that they are equal to each other in theory, but then it is not evident in practice.
By addressing the topic of equality directly, you can establish the standard that you share power in the relationship.
Workloads, responsibilities, and decision-making should not fall more heavily on one person than on the other. When equality is lacking as a value, resentment can take root.
As a relationship progresses, respect for each other can diminish as personal mistakes occur. Romantic partners can disappoint each other in some ways over time, and that disappointment can diminish respect.
It's essential to value respect for each other, or you could fall into the trap of viewing your partner with contempt.
You can shield yourself from that negativity by making respect a central aspect of your relationship. This value helps you never lose sight of the other person's dignity as a human being.
Communication is always present among examples of relationship values. When both of you value communication, you gain a vital tool for nurturing long-term love.
By embracing this value, you could prevent problems from festering. Communication goes beyond problem-solving too.
Couples who share their thoughts, fears, and aspirations will deepen their understanding of each other and make more plans for the future.
Inevitably partners become upset with one another. The issue could minor or major, but eventually, you need to move forward for the sake of a relationship's health.
As a relationship value, forgiveness can help you return to a state of emotional equilibrium with your partner. Some things cannot be undone, and forgiveness is the only path out of anger or resentment.
8. Emotional Support
One of the many purposes of having a relationship is having someone to lean on when you're in distress.
You need to be there for each other to be sympathetic and offer encouragement.
When you agree to support each other emotionally, the relationship becomes a refuge from the world’s difficulties.
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9. Religion and Spirituality
Some people derive many of their values from religious and spiritual traditions. Faith and deeply held beliefs influence how someone interacts with the world and raises a family.
Compatibility between two people frequently relies on having the same or similar religious outlook. Surveys indicate that close to half of people consider religious compatibility very important for relationship success.
However, different religious beliefs are not necessarily a deal-breaker because people can share many values in other areas and still enjoy lasting love.
10. Romance and Intimacy
Speaking of lasting love, you need to name intimacy as a value. Romance makes people feel special, and intimacy builds connection.
In the early years of a relationship, romantic excitement is easy to come by, and you might not think about discussing it as a value.
However, life (and physical intimacy) will inevitably get routine at some point, and it's good to recognize the central role of emotional and physical intimacy in your relationship.
11. Financial Cooperation
It’s hard for love to remain strong when people fight about money. You and your partner can defend yourselves from this relationship killer by getting comfortable talking about money.
You do not want money to become a source of tension.
The exact nature of your money rules is less important than both of you agreeing that your financial matters are fair. You should aim to value working together on financial issues.
Do you and your partner value the same things about how to live your lives? Does one of you dream of the quiet country setting and the other want a stimulating urban life?
Do you want a lifestyle that revolves around family, or do you want to pursue a demanding career?
Partners should have some overlap in how they want to live their daily life. Otherwise, conflict will be inevitable, and one of you will give in but grow resentful.
Responsibility is a great value for supporting a relationship. In many ways, you can read this as placing a value on “adulting.”
Partners will thrive when they accept that their relationship requires their attention and care. You are 50% responsible for your relationship.
This attitude helps you think about your relationship regarding the questions, “How can I improve?” and “How can I help my partner?”
Lasting love is all about companionship. This is the relationship value that reminds you that you are supposed to be there for each other, especially in the quiet moments.
Use this value to avoid growing apart. When you see your partner as a companion, you'll feel motivated to spend time together.
People tend to deny their flaws and mistakes. This trait can become intolerable in a relationship if someone refuses to be accountable for anything.
Accountability forces people to see how their actions impact someone. You can interpret accountability as apologizing for mistakes, keeping promises, and recognizing if you need to correct a bad habit.
Talk to Your Partner About Values
If your relationship is getting serious, you should start to feel comfortable talking about the bigger things in life.
Sometimes years can pass before something comes up that reveals that your partner has a drastically different perspective.
This situation is why you should discuss your values and learn where your views overlap.
As you identify your relationship core values, you can use them as a roadmap for protecting your relationship.