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Published on March 27, 2020

10 Core Values of a Lasting Relationship

10 Core Values of a Lasting Relationship

Building a successful relationship takes dedication. There are untold life situations that can spring up, and test the strength and unity of your partnership. Having compatible core values will provide you with the necessary strength and camaraderie to be able to navigate through those stumbling blocks together.

Imagine a passenger getting on a train. Now imagine that the train is headed for San Diego, and the passenger wants to go to Sacramento. The passenger is going to be quite disappointed when he realizes that he’s arrived in San Diego, and not at his destination of choice. Both the train and the passenger need to be headed in the same direction for successful travel.

The same holds true for relationships. Similar core beliefs are fundamental for you and your partner in order to feel safe, protected, connected, and comfortable, to name but a few.[1]

So what are relationship values? They are the guiding principles that dictate your behavior; your personal perspective, not only about yourself, but about others and the world. Core values are the underpinnings of how you live your life.

Be sure your relationship values have substance when discussing them with your partner. Here’re 10 important core values for a successful relationship:

1. Trust

This core value stands above all others. It is the foundation of your relationship. Without trust you basically have nothing. According to an article in Strategic Psychology,[2]

“Trust is integral to happy and fulfilling relationships in both our personal and professional lives. We require trust to develop over time to build successful and meaningful partnerships.”

You and your partner need to trust each other with all you have. You need to feel confident that they will have your back, that you’ll have theirs, and that if there are children involved, their welfare comes above all else.

Your beloved and you can have a triumphant relationship. How? Trusting that each of you will always do the best for the greater good of the relationship. If you truly trust your partner, and they you, you are on your way to conquering any hurdle that stands in the way.

If you are working on building trust in a relationship, see this article for advice.

2. Loyalty

This core value is extremely important and goes hand in hand with trust. Being loyal and having a loyal partner assures that both of you are on the same team. According to Relationship Advice: How to Define Loyalty in a Relationship,[3]

Loyalty is dedication; knowing that you’re devoted solely to each other. That all of the choices and decisions you make have been considered with your partner and the impact on your relationship in mind. Your commitment never wavers and your bond is unbreakable.”

If both you and your honey are reliable and true to each other above everyone else, you’re on the right path. If not, it could be a warpath. I once treated a couple in which one of the partners was missing the loyalty “chip.”

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He was loyal, but not to his wife. His family came first and foremost. This did not bode well with his wife, obviously. His parents had to have the last say in their big decisions, and when they directed negative comments at his wife, he did not step up to defend her.

He remained silent and allowed her to take their verbal beating. This is not being loyal to your partner. Loyalty is a key core value for the health and survival of your relationship.

If you are loyal to each other, your love will thrive in the best possible way. And isn’t that the goal of every successful relationship?

Learn more tips about building loyalty in this article: How to Build Loyalty in Your Relationship

3. Religion

This core value is paramount, especially if you are going to raise children together. Religion has a strong place in many people’s lives.

Despite possible difficulties, you might still decide that your partner’s different faith isn’t significant. In her article, Why Religious Compatibility Matters in Relationships, Kelsey Dallas, states,[4]

“Religious differences don’t always spell doom for relationships, but they can lead to arguments and tensions. Religiously mixed couples should be proactive about addressing the role faith will play in their family life, according to experts on religion and romance.”

It may be true that religious differences might not end the relationship, but consider the effects on your children if you happen to have them? How will you raise them? Will you let them make up their own minds when they’re old enough? Or are you going to say, “The children must be raised Christian/Muslim. And that’s final!?”

Even if the couple comes to a similar conclusion, there is also the issue of extended family. If they are intricately involved in their religion—the one you were raised in—they may expect that their grandchildren should be as well, and apply undue pressure to make it happen.

If it’s important to you, make sure you discuss this core value, and that you’re both on the same page. And if you are, you’re adding another building block to your already solid partnership.

4. Family

Your dream growing up may have been to get married, have children, and extended family nearby. That’s always been a core value for you. But what happens if your partner wants no children, and plans to move to Africa to study elephants? You’re not going to get too far. Family is a highly critical value, and one that both of you need to share.

I knew a couple who initially decided they didn’t want to have children. It all went smoothly until the wife decided she wanted to have children, after all. Unfortunately, her husband hadn’t had a change of heart.

A choice had to be made. Did she leave her husband of 12 years to try and meet another guy, fall in love, then have children? Or did she stay with the man she loved, and give up the idea of having a family? She chose the latter, but with painful consequences.

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Decide early on what your values are on family. Do you want to live near your extended family? How often do you want to visit? Do you want to have a family of your own? If so, how many? This core value, if not shared, could mean the end of your relationship.

In his article, Family Values: What are family values and why are they important, Bryan Zitzman, Ph.D, LMFT, writes,[5]

“Ultimately, your family values will be specific to you and your family unit. They represent the ways you want to live your family life, and they may have been passed down through multiple generations throughout the decades. Knowing what a family–both the nuclear family and extended family–values can help solidify bonds among family members. Family values help kids and young men and women make good choices because they have a set of beliefs to help guide them.”

When you both hold this core value near and dear to your hearts, it can be very rewarding, bringing you closer together, and expanding the great thing you already have.

5. Communication

Without a doubt, this core value is crucial to the development and well-being of your relationship. In an article by Saminu Abass, 3 Benefits of Effective Communication, he states,

“Living together as husband and wife (or any romantic partnership) can only work when there is an effective back and forth of information between the couple.”

Communicating with each other will bring you closer; allow you to get to know each other as deeply as you can. If you like to keep things to yourself, believing that no one needs to know your business, not even your partner, and your partner loves to talk about every feeling, then the relationship will more than likely fail.

Maybe you’re the type of person who likes to process situations before talking about them, and your partner wants to talk about them immediately. That’s OK. As long as you both want to keep the lines of communication open, it can still work. You and your honey can decide on a time to talk about the issue/s, and resolve them. The problem arises when there is no talking at all.

Remember to also communicate the good stuff. Communicating with each other is a way to invest in your relationship. Any time you are sharing a piece of yourself and your life, your relationship will benefit, and you’ll be rewarded with increased intimacy.

6. Lifestyle

You like to go hiking every weekend and your mate loves to stay home binging New Amsterdam. Lifestyles are important to every relationship.[6] If you both like to do different things all the time, spending no more than a few minutes a week together, then your relationship is less likely to prosper.

I’m not saying that you have to be glued at the hip, but it’s a good idea to spend fun, quality time with each other. If you’re an outdoorsman, and your partner is a homebody, or you love to go out partying every weekend, and your partner sits in the corner counting the minutes until they can go home, then again, that could create a stumbling block.

As a couple, it’s important you do things together; that for the most part, you enjoy participating in the same activities. But even if you like chasing tornadoes, and your spouse likes taking walks in the park, your relationship can still function totally fine. Just make sure that most of your other core values are on point.

7. Honesty

This core value is critical to every relationship. In an article by Trudy Adams, TBH: 5 Reasons Why Honesty is Important, she writes,[7]

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“Without honesty there is no foundation for a lasting or enjoyable relationship in any context, whether that be with a family member, friend or romantic interest. Honesty is a voice for love that builds trust. Without it, even ‘I love you’ becomes a lie in itself and there’s no real security in the relationship.”

The value of honesty is priceless. When you and your partner are honest with each other; when you both believe that honesty is the only way to carry on your relationship, you are saying that your union is decidedly important to you.

If you and your partner are both genuine with each other, you are elevating your alliance to the highest place. There is no guessing game for either of you; you both know where you stand, and that is the best way to grow together.

Honesty can sometimes feel awkward, especially if what you have to say is difficult, but in the long run, it’s better than concealment, which can cause irreparable damage.

If both you and your partner share this beautiful core value, your chances are good that your relationship will thrive in the best way possible.

8. Self-discipline

You may wonder what self-discipline is doing on this list. Let me explain. Let’s suppose you get up every morning at 5:00 a.m. to work out. You are disciplined about your eating habits, maintain a clean home, and delay gratification for future benefits.

You regard self-discipline as a strong virtue. But what if your partner hits the snooze button every morning? What if he doesn’t get out of bed until 9:00 a.m. and then runs out the door with a bag of chips for breakfast? How would you feel? In a case like this, resentment could easily fester.

It’s important to share similar core values in this arena to avoid constant arguments

If you, as the self-disciplined partner, don’t care about your partner’s habits, then it could work, but there’s a strong possibility that if you’re highly self-disciplined, you will expect the same from you mate.

9. Self-improvement

When I was working on my Master’s Degree, we were told that many marriages resulted in divorce during this phase of the program. It was then explained to us that if one partner is on the path of learning and self-improvement, and the other partner remains stagnant, the gap between the couple could widen.

If you are on a continual quest to become the best version of yourself, and your mate doesn’t care to go beyond the knowledge he/she acquired in high school, consider this a cause for alarm.

Whenever you learn something new, it’s natural to want to share it. And who better than with your partner? If they’re not interested, it could lead to disappointment and frustration on your part.

Learn and grow together, and you’ll be on your way to a successful relationship.

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For more on the role of self-improvement in relationships, I suggest a blog post by Mel Robbins, You’re Growing but the People in Your Life Are Not. Here’s What You Can Do. She provides some valuable ideas on how to manage self-improvement and growth with your partner.

10. Finances

In order for your relationship to flourish, you must have similar thoughts and goals about how you manage your finances. If one of your core values is saving money for a rainy day, and your partner’s is to throw it away like it grows on trees, then this is going to create havoc in the most fundamental parts of your partnership.

According to Dave Ramsey, financial infidelity endangers the future of your relationship.[8] If you or your partner are making big financial decisions without consulting the other, then this shows a total disregard for the economy of the relationship, and the relationship itself.

Your core values on finances need to be the same, or frustration is going to plague the saver and the spender. In her article, Keeping Money Secrets From Each other: Financial Infidelity on the Rise, Yoki Noguchi states,[9]

“Marital infidelity is well-known, but financial infidelity might actually be more common. The few academic studies have estimated that as many as 41% of American adults admit to hiding accounts, debts or spending habits from their spouse or partner.”

If you don’t share the same core values on finances, it will more than likely lead to lying on the part of the partner responsible for the financial infidelity. The lying will lead to broken trust and feelings of betrayal. This is significantly difficult to repair.

Make sure that you and your honey have the same core values regarding money. This will fabricate a more solid relationship, and a future where both of you, working together, will determine your financial future, and all that that includes.

Final Thoughts

Core values are deeply held beliefs. Those beliefs dictate how you behave in your life, and with others. Having a significant other who holds those same beliefs is a wonderful complement to the relationship, and the stuff that strong unions are built upon.

Having said that, your core values may change over the course of your life. You may have one set of values when you’re twenty, and then experience situations that alter those values when you’re in your thirties, forties, and beyond. Still, whatever changes occur need to be in sync with your partner’s for your relationship’s success.

If you appreciated learning about core values, be sure to post this article and share some of your relationship’s core values.

Featured photo credit: Davids Kokainis via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Rossana Snee

Rossana is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She aspires to motivate, to inspire, and to awaken your best self!

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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