In today’s Tinder society, you’re more likely to judge someone on face value rather than their actual values. You find a good lookin’ match who ticks enough boxes, and boom – next thing you know, you’re falling in love on your third date, thinking about how you’re going to tell Mom you’ve found ‘the one’.
A couple of months later though, you find yourself sleeping back-to-back, disappointed in the way yet another argument seems to have erupted out of nowhere.
What happened? Did the honeymoon period just fizzle? Were you wrong about how amazing they are? Did you fall in love with the ‘wrong’ person… again?
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Maybe. What’s more likely though, is that you made the same innocent mistake as millions of people around the world… You got into a relationship without checking if you were actually right for each other.
In any normal relationship, you meet someone and decide you like their vibe, so you date a bit, commit and find out more about who they are as you go along. As you spend more time together, and have more conversations, you begin to notice that you disagree on some pretty fundamental beliefs.
Maybe he has a deep desire for you to be a stay-at-home mom, but you want to have a powerful career and kids. Maybe you’re not fond of taking big risks, preferring to play it safe… but he believes in leaping into the unknown. Maybe going on an adventure is your idea of a perfect weekend, but he loves the idea of curling up with a movie and a bottle of wine together.
None of these viewpoints are better than the other, yet they all have the potential to spark feelings of dissatisfaction, or even arguments. This is because before committing to a relationship, you forgot to make sure your values match.
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Your personal values are basically your own rules of what it means to be you. Your values are personal judgements on what is right/wrong, wanted/not wanted, important/not important and so on. Because they form such a strong foundation of who you are, it’s crucial to make sure that the person you enter into a relationship with has values that are aligned with yours. When you have too many conflicting values (like adventure vs comfort, luxury vs frugality, risk taking vs safety) you will constantly argue, struggling to find a solution that leaves you both feeling fulfilled.
Whether you’re in a relationship now, or you’re a singleton ready to meet the person of your dreams, here are three easy steps that’ll help you to identify your top values so that you can have ‘the talk’ before committing to someone.
The three-step “values” exercise
1. To identify your top values, take a look at all of the experiences over the last few years that have made you feel super happy or fulfilled. For example: running a marathon, attending personal development conferences, adventuring with friends, buying a house, getting a promotion, being recognised by your boss for something. Write these down on a piece of paper and explain why they were important/good feeling moments for you.
2. Now, look for the keywords. As you locate them, group the ones that are similar together. For example, ‘health’, ‘wellness’ and ‘vitality’ are all words that kind of mean the same thing. You want to aim for five to six different groups.
3. Next, choose one word from each group that really lights you up. Even though ‘loyalty’ and ‘trust’ might be similar, ‘loyalty’ might be the one that feels the best to you, so go with what stands out the most.
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Now that you’ve got your core values, you’ll be able to see where you and boo might hold different ideas about how things ‘should’ be, allowing you to figure out a way to align (…or not).
The more values you have in common with your partner, the better. Or, if you’re ready to meet someone new, you’ll now be able to make sure that your fundamental beliefs about life actually match.
When you share values, you’ll naturally agree on much more, allowing you to both feel deeper fulfilment within the relationship. Not only that, but you’ll be able to create a vision for your future that honours both of your needs equally.
Next time, instead of jumping headfirst into the first potential relationship… make sure you both actually believe in the same things by checking your values first.
Jacqui Sive is an international personal development specialist, global speaker, and transformative live event leader. Follow her at @jacquisive.
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