In some of my interactions with intending couples, one of the few questions I have always been anxious to ask them is for the intending couples to tell me each other’s values. But come on, 80% of them either answer wrongly or don’t even know at all, so they have to go back to the drawing board and dig out what are the most important things in life for each other. Interestingly, some of them would just be less than three months away from their weddings and I keep wondering at what they actually based their decisions to marry on and what they were doing with their dating/courtship period.
I want to address the youths especially those that are in rather serious relationships or about getting into one with the intention to let it gravitate towards marriage. A fulfilled marriage is not a product of luck but of good foundation laid in the choice of the partners and during courtship. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to marriage styles, nothing is cast on stone because what works for you may not work for another person, but the fact still remains that there are universally accepted principles or ingredients that fulfilled marriages are expected to be built on and the earlier we understood this, the better. One of these standards is the shared values.
The quality of any relationship is directly linked to the values the partners share but differences in values could mean additional work from both to be able to have a peaceful union otherwise, there will always be conflict. When two people begin to date each other, they are not yet very familiar with the other person’s values. They make mistakes based on assumptions about the other, some of which are correct while others are not. But as time goes on, with more seriousness, commitment and considerable level of under-studying one another, they get to discover if they have shared values on a more concrete level and start agreeing on them, then, their relationship will begin to take a more definite shape and develop stronger.
Values are guiding principles that dictate behaviour and action. They help people to know what is right from wrong. They are your beliefs that are fundamental part of who you are because they shape your thinking, attitude, character and general outlook to life while growing up and are consistent with you all through life. Your values play a major part in many areas of your life including the choice of marriage partner, how you react or respond to situations, and so much more. For example, during conflict, you could have a value of no violence no matter what but what if your partner doesn’t share that value with you?
Many couples, especially during courtship ignore or don’t even recognise their difference in values on money management, emotions, conflict resolution, communication, career, spiritual issues etc because they are beclouded with love and emotions. They feel that in as much as true love exists between them, nothing matters anymore but little did they know that these differences are fundamental and could cause problems and stifle love in relationships. Lack of shared values will often be the primary cause of those burly conflicts you have, or those ongoing irritations that come up every now and then, and can ultimately cause a total breakdown in your relationship.
While trying to establish shared values in relationships, it is imperative to know that there are core values and there are interests. Core values are what I consider as the “must haves” while the interests are what I refer to as the “optional”. I have met a lot of couples who out of ignorance have swooped their interests with their core values. If you have been caught in this web, I suggest you start a re-evaluation process on your relationship as soon as possible to determine if you are heading somewhere. This is one reason why a lot of people are so disorientated because they believe that a particular partner is so right for them because they have a number of things in common. If you are dating a guy that both of you share the same love for sports, travelling, reading and perhaps career, those are just interests and they are not enough to make you get committed to each other. Few months down the line, you discover that you always have serious friction due to the fact that your values don’t agree on finances, spiritual issues and conflict resolution. The in-thing here is that you guys have a lot in common in terms of interests, but you don’t share the primary values, the things that actually matter most to you.
Values are a key part of you that are so important to match with your chosen partner because when your values aren’t aligned with the people you share your life with, it can cause all sorts of problems. Therefore, knowing your values as a single lady or man ahead of time is very key. You’ll definitely get confused if you keep dating people without first knowing your own personal values because therein lies your own ability to make a right choice. It is pretty difficult meeting someone who shares the same value of importance in life with you if you don’t know what’s important to you first of all.
Another twist to this is that you and your partner don’t have to have exactly the same values in everything, but what is important is if there are more that you share, compared to those you don’t, you have a much better chance of having a good, healthy partnership while you work on the other differences by coming to agreement on what works for you two in that.
No two individuals are the same but lack of shared values will mess up the relationship. If you desire to be in a happy relationship, work to establish similar primary values if they do not already exist.
Keep a date with the author every Thursday on Reality with Toyin Idowu on ExpressNG. Follow him twitter on @ThoyinIdowu Or visit www.toyinidowu.blogspot.com