Common Values

I talked last July about The Foundations of a Relationship and how you build your relationship. I want to expand more on that post today. I attended a wedding over the weekend. I knew the bride and she has been a good friend of the family. But I had just met the groom that day.

Over the course of the wedding, I sat back and observed the happy couple. And I can genuinely say that they were a happy couple. He was super excited to marry her, and she was just as radiant. I know they’ve found happiness. Their values line up, and I’m sure they have a bright future together.

I don’t talk about my relationship often, but I wanted to bring it up today because I got to thinking about it after the wedding. When I first started dating my partner, people had their concerns. On paper, he didn’t sound like the kind of person I would be interested in. There were a lot of things that didn’t seem that they lined up. However, once people met him, they understood.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like we have a lot in common. We come from very different backgrounds and have had a lot of different circumstances in life. However, we work together because we share common values. I remember one of our very first conversations. He said certain things were important to him, and they were my top values as well (honesty, trustworthiness, and kindness if you’re curious). It just really affirmed us together because we share those values.

It’s awesome if you have hobbies you do together. But your hobbies can be different. Your outlook can be different. You can handle different things without doing them the exact same way.

When I wrote the post last July, I focused on the foundations of the relationship. That’s what you don’t see. But it’s what you need to build a strong structure. Another way to look at it is the roots of a tree. The roots hold the tree up, but they aren’t usually what you see when you look at a tree.

The core of a relationship is how you stay together when things get tough. Whatever you build on is what gets you through. To me, I think the best thing to build on is values. Values are the core of who you are as a person. That should honestly rarely, if ever, change. Anything else can change easily and quickly. Hobbies can change. Looks can change. Money can change. Feelings can change. If relationships are built on those things, then if or when those things change, the relationship can change or even fall apart.

I trust my partner because I know we share common values. I know we are looking for the same things. And because of that, anything else we do can be different. We know what we’re looking for and what we’re going after. We still have the freedom to be our own individual people, and that’s great. I’m not exactly the same as him, and he’s not the same as me. We have different likes, ideas, hopes, and dreams. But the core of who we are stays the same.

And while I am focusing on romantic relationships, this doesn’t just apply to them. This also applies to friendships or any relationship you may have. If your beliefs and values line up, then it doesn’t matter what else you do. Building together can start out with a hobby or a feeling. But it shouldn’t be the only building material you use. See if you still line up with them outside of that hobby or feeling.

There’s no right way to solve this. I recommend that you find out for yourself what is important to you. Have a genuine conversation with yourself. Ask yourself questions like “does it bother you when people lie to you?” “Are you okay with people telling your secrets?” Does it make a difference when people are nice to you?” And son on. If you answered yes to these, then you value honesty, trust, and kindness. I don’t know what you value, and I don’t pretend to know that. But I can tell you my next recommendation, which is to live out the values you want. For example, I don’t like when people tell my secrets, so I try not to tell other’s secrets. I try to be kind to everyone so that I am treated kindly in return. You attract the kind of people you yourself are. And if you are the person you want to be and uphold the values that fit you best, then those are the people that will be around you. Being authentically you brings other people around you who are similar. And those are the people with whom you can weather the storms of life. Find people who share common values and you’ll be in good company.

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