Aligning values in relationships is a good thing to do intentionally. Think about how most people go through relationships. Does one person give up important values for the other? Is there conflict in the relationship? These things usually happen when values and beliefs aren't talked about and don't align with each other. Most conflicts in any relationship is due to differing values or beliefs. After all if we all agreed on what is most important there would be no need to argue. A Relationship Mission Statement can help!
WE ALL COME FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS
Think about how you grew up, your environment, money, food, school and so many other things. Did you partner grow up the same? Did your parents teach you different lessons regarding TV, meals, religion, or friends then you partner? We all bring expectations into our relationships but most likely they aren't the same for each of us. So why do we think things are supposed to magically work out without talking about it, creating goals, or aligning values. Eventually if the bumps can't be smoothed out then couples tend to search for someone like me. This is not a bad thing, seeing a professional can be incredibly helpful and restore the peace and longevity of your relationship.
CHECKING IN WITH YOUR PARTNER
For now let me provide you a simple way to check in with each other, communicate, and look at the future. Creating a Relationship Vision is a simple and helpful tool. It doesn't take much time and can really target the lasting happiness of your relationship.
A few steps to creating a Relationship Vision Sit down by yourself for about 30 minutes. Remember it does not have to be done in one day.
SIMPLE STEPS TO FOLLOW
1. Go for the positive
When brainstorming phrase things in a positive manner. For example instead of saying "we don't argue" say "we will settle things calmly and peacefully" or "we trust each other" instead of "we won't be jealous".
2. Write down your non-negotiables and desires
Write down your "must-haves" such as "we will parent together" or "exercise is important" or "we will communicate openly and respect each other's perspective". You could also write things like, "going outside of our union is non negotiable", "monogamy is of the utmost importance", "attending church is a priority", "traveling and experiencing the world with my partner is a high priority." Make sure it's not a laundry list for your partner, ie he mows the lawn and she does the laundry.
3. Explore several areas of a relationship
Since we have a multifaceted life it is important to address as many of these as you feel necessary. Expressing wants, desires, and values with sex, finances, lifestyle, parenting, career in-laws, leisure time and education are just a few of the things you may want to consider in You Relationship Vision. Answer questions about these topics such as what do I enjoy in my free time? How important are finances? Do I want to work full time? Do I need a 401k? What about insurance? Does my job need to provide this? What percentage or amount of time do we spend with in-laws? How do we allow them to interact with the children? Is sex satisfying? Do we want to explore new sexual ideals? Do the answers align with my values?
4. Come together
Come together as a couple and discuss the things you agree on first. Then Discuss what is negotiable and create short sentences expressing what is important to both of you. Leave the things that you don't agree on for last. See if you can compromise on these issues if not this is where someone like me comes in. Having a professional help couples work through the hard stuff is helpful and will benefit your relationship for a lifetime.
5. Come up with your statement.
It does not have to be long, complicated or directive. As a matter of practicality it's better to make it succinct, covering the overarching theme of your intentions for your relationship.
We are co-creators of our lives, sharing a desire to love and be loved unconditionally, by consciously determining our behaviors and the results we wish for ourselves and our family. We value respect, trust, non-judgment and self-control. We bring our best selves to this union, casting out destructive, egocentric motivations so that we may achieve the most positive and loving lifestyle we are capable of.
We agree to always love and cherish each other and recognize how fortunate we both are; each of us consider ourselves the 'lucky one.' We build a healthy lifestyle together, where we support each other in getting exercise, eating well, having fun, resting and relaxing. We make all important decisions together, as a team. We don't keep secrets from each other. We confide in each other and feel safe in each other's care.
We're together to build a loving family and teach our children about healthy relationships. We create a sense of stability by having some routine but also make time for fun and spontaneity. We don't intentionally hurt each other, but recognize we still do - and so we quickly and readily apologize. We take care of each other.
6. Schedule a time
Weekly, monthly, quarterly or whatever works for you, but make sure you come together to gauge if you are on track. This is the best way to ensure you both get your needs met and can address it if you've gotten off track. This will also provide space for growth. Since nothing in life stays the same, people, situations, events, or relationships, this provides room to renegotiate, change your Relationship Vision as the both of you change.