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Values in relationships

Everyone has a hierarchy of values, from the things that are really important, all the way down to the things that don’t matter. What’s important and what doesn’t matter changes according to the values of the individual.

Anything that supports your highest values is called ‘good’ and you are attracted to it in some way, while anything that challenges your highest values you call ‘bad’ and are repelled by. Our values determine how we conduct our relationships with people.

There are three types of relationships in this context, with each one having a different outcome.

  • Selfish – this is where you focus only on your own values without considering your partner.
  • Walking on eggshells – this is where you focus on your partner’s values without considering your own.

Both of those relationships create tension, resulting in many difficulties.

  • Caring – this is where you communicate your values in terms of theirs.

You think of both your side and your partner’s side in the caring relationship, which expresses love for yourself and each other. Caring is knowing someone well enough to know their values and expressing your values in ways they can relate to.

When we’re in a relationship, we often think the other person is supposed to be like us, and that’s what brings us together. However, if any two people are exactly the same, one of them is unnecessary.

The purpose of a relationship is to help us learn to love those parts we’ve ignored or disowned. Each person has their own values, and no two people ever have the same. Each person expresses their love through their own values, and when we honour our partners values, we understand that we’re surrounded by love in all kinds of ways that we didn’t recognise.

If we accept the love that is in accordance with our partner’s values, and understand that it doesn’t need to be the same as our own, then we’ll find love in places we never thought possible.

You only need the courage to start appreciating how other people express their values, and the desire to understand them. Once you do that, you’ll have more fulfilling relationships, where you value each other’s values and how they improve your own life.

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