What is a value? According to Personal Life Media and Relationship Expert, Susan Bratton, “Values are the qualities, beliefs, standards and codes of behavior that are important to you.” You make important everyday decisions based on your value system. If certain values are missing in a relationship, you will feel incomplete, even sometimes empty inside. Did you ever work at a place that didn’t fit your value system? If you did, you probably didn't enjoy going to work everyday and perhaps felt unfulfilled.
Values are tangible, but not to be confused with “money” or “position.” Examples of personal values are security, integrity, faith, and freedom. Values express your unique, essential self. You have needs and your partner has needs too and they all must be recognized. Once you understand the importance of values and appreciate what they mean to another person, that relationship will be built on a strong foundation of respect. Have you ever listened to a conversation between a couple who truly appreciate each other’s values? They listen to each other and apologize quickly when they realize they underestimated a certain value in their partner. I overheard what appeared to be a husband apologizing to his wife when he had to make a business call while they were at the park. He truly understood that the wife placed high value on their “alone time.”
How do you develop values? Your values emerge from the way you were raised, the culture you live in, religious upbringing, and even the time frame you were born.
According to Batton, “... misunderstandings of each other’s values is where love spats are born.”
Dr. Shawn Fornari, Writer-Director and an expert in Contemporary Leadership Trust & Values, states that a woman may feel her love and security are being met when her husband takes out the trash. Now if he doesn’t do this because he may feel that anybody should take out the trash when it is full, the woman’s feelings of love and security will be diminished. Trust us on this as we all learned from our minor mistakes and taking one another for granted without even realizing it. Bratton writes, “If you have ever been cheated on and it was unforgivable for you, one of your highest values may be loyalty or integrity.” Another person may be able to forgive a partner because he or she places a higher value on freedom and can see both sides of the situation from a unique viewpoint.
Most people believe that compatibility is key to a successful relationship. But leading couples’ therapists Harville Hendrix and Dr. David Schnarch explain that we unconsciously choose a mate that is different, but at the same level of self-actualization. Isn’t this a “Ah Ha Moment?” Listen closely because, the partner you choose actually enables you to mature through childhood issues when you handle your frustrations as they present themselves. Previously, when I became angry, I would just walk away and ignore the other person without working it out. I am now more aware of my actions and have respect for the other person and I would now talk it out until it is resolved.
According to Harville, as much as 90% of the time when your partner is annoying you, the annoyance stems from your past issues rather than anything that your mate is doing in present time. Your differences do help you evolve and will keep your relationship very much alive! Simply change your thinking today of trying to “play the game” by choosing for alleged compatibility, will ensure you have an exciting and dynamic life together as you recognize and appreciate each other’s values.
Bratton argues that values are about what you need in order to live your life authentically so that you can be happy and feel good. These are about your firmly held beliefs about what makes you a person of value and also what you see as valuable in others.
Your values are based on your experiences in life and will impact on everything from who you are attracted to, your political leanings, your tastes, things you do in your spare time or that you have interests in, your religious and social interactions, where you want to live, what you’re passionate about, and more.
Values work in tandem with your boundaries which are your personal guideline of what you are prepared to accept in your relationships and what you will not accept in a relationship. I realized I do not get along well with stubborn people, because I place a high value on critical thinking and freedom to exchange ideas in the hopes of coming up with a new appreciation of the topic of discussion. Stubbornness expresses disrespect to me so I may react negatively to it.
We at The Ultimate Social Network highly recommend Susan Bratton’s Relationship Magic. Bratton and her colleagues have taken years to put this information together based on years of observations.
Based on information in Bratton’s Book, I invite you to look at the values below and choose four. Yes, you have many values, but as you go through this exercise, please focus on four, for now. Remembering more than four values can be complicated and, if you can really get your most valued values down to four, you will be better off for it.
Love isn’t complicated and this exercise does not have to be either. If you are thinking that your values will change or might change, don’t worry. Values may change but many of your core values stay the same or are constant over the long term. After selecting your values, discuss them with your mate or someone you trust. Learn what those values mean to you and what they mean to others with whom you have a relationship. How do you introduce relationship values to a partner? Make a nice meal or go out for dinner and tell your partner that you want to explore his or her relationship values.
Better yet go to one of The Ultimate Social Network’s events and discuss this topic there. This can be fun. Tell her you want to be that guy or girl who really knows what the other wants and needs. You do not want to guess, but instead focus on what you know about the other’s value system. You can even rank your values to see if one is more important than the others.
Here are examples of Values. Remember to choose ONLY four.
Accountability Achievement Adaptability Ambition Attitude Awareness
Being the best Caring
Compassion Competence Conflict Resolution Continuous learning
Cooperation Courage Creativity Dialogue
Ease with uncertainty
Enthusiasm Entrepreneurial Environmental Efficiency Ethics Excellence Fairness Family
Financial stability Forgiveness Friendships
Future generations Generosity
Health Honesty Humility Humor/fun Independence Integrity Initiative Intuition
Job security Leadership Listening
Making a difference
Openness Patience Perseverance
Personal fulfillment Personal growth Power
Recognition Reliability Risk-taking Safety
Self-discipline Success Teamwork Trust
Vision Wealth Well-being Wisdom
This is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of "Breaking The Compatibility Code" by Mike Reedy.