As I’ve gotten older and my relationships have matured, a lot of things have changed about they way I view potential partners. In the past, chemistry and having fun with someone was enough to ground a relationship, because whether or not I wanted to admit it to myself, I knew deep down those relationships were not built to last. But probably the starkest difference between then and now is how much the answer to the question of “are shared values important in relationships?” has changed for me. Now it’s probably one of my biggest concerns. After all, now I look at relationships as more than just someone to have fun with, but instead someone I want to spend my life with — and having shared values is a big part of that.
One reason I think this really matters is that, over time, we all grow and evolve, but often times the values we hold don’t really alter much because they are so strongly held. They are a fundamental part of who we are and if you can find someone you can connect with on that level, then it make sense that your relationship has a better chance of going the distance. At least that’s how I see it. But I wanted to know if that is actually the case, so I reached out to the experts for their take in the importance of shared values. Here is what they had to say on the subject.
WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE SHARED VALUES IN A RELATIONSHIP.
What exactly does it meant to have shared values? According Dr. Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, it’s about sharing fundamental ideas about life and relationships. “Having shared values means that you both believe in some of the same core things in your lives,” he tells Elite Daily. “Although each couple is different, it may mean that both of you value similar things: [like] marriage and family, the importance of trust and communication, the value of love and intimacy, perhaps similar religious and political beliefs, contributing to the broader community.” So yeah, having shared values is huge, to say the least.
HAVING SHARED VALUES MATTERS — BUT IT’S NOT EVERYTHING.
What if you’ve found a partner that you love and who you want to spend your life with, but some of your values don’t tonally align? Is the relationship automatically doomed? Erika Ettin, dating coach and founder of A Little Nudge, tells Elite Daily that’s not necessarily the case. “Shared values and communication are probably the most important aspects of a relationship. But, people’s hierarchy of values can differ,” she explains. “The main values that generally make or break a relationship are religion, money, and sex. These days, you could also add politics to the list, and perhaps lifestyle choices,” says Ettin.
Dr. Brown concurs that some amount of disagreement about values is surmountable. “You can have a very successful relationship, without having to share all of the same values. You just have to share the same basic ‘must have’ values,” he explains.
HOW TO MAKE IT WORK IF YOU DON’T HAVE SHARED VALUES.
While knowing it’s possible to overcome differences in values is possible, actually knowing how to do it is another thing. After all, as Dr. Brown says, “Sharing some of these core values is part of the glue that holds a couple together.” However, according to Ettin, the key to this situation is respecting your partner. “Regardless of how you feel about each of these things — whether you agree or not — two aspects are important: shared expectations and respect for the other’s beliefs if it differs from your own,” she says.
Dr. Brown also concludes on a hopeful note. “During even the best of relationships, there are going to be some differences in how each of you may view a certain situation. So, if you both believe that people get to have different viewpoints but that your love for one another is more important than, say, your political views, then your shared value of loving each other is going to help you navigate the differences you will have,” he says.
Sure, in a perfect world you and your partner would agree on everything. However, chances are you won’t, but don’t despair. As the experts explain, there is a way to make it work if you and your partner are committed to both respecting one another first, and finding compromises to work through your issues in the long term. It may not always be easy, but if being together is what you both want, than at least now you know there is a pathway forward, and that’s a beautiful thing.