What are core values and why do they matter in relationships?
Core values are the basis for why we do what we do, in shaping our purpose and decision-making. They are a basic aspect of our identity.
When our core values align with our behavior, we tend to feel happier and more productive.
When couples’ core values and behavior are aligned, their relationship also tends to be happier and healthier.
All humans have character strengths, virtues, and core values.
About 20 years ago, scientists identified 24 “character strengths” that all humans have in varying degrees.
These traits fall into six broad categories of what are called “virtues,” which include:
- Wisdom: Creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, love of learning, perspective
- Courage: Bravery, perseverance, honesty, zest
- Humanity: Love, kindness, social intelligence
- Justice: Teamwork, fairness, leadership
- Temperance: Forgiveness, humility, prudence, self-regulation
- Transcendence: Appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
Virtues are characteristics that have been identified and valued across cultures and history. Character strengths are the pathway to virtues.
Since the early 1980s, scientists have been developing and refining a highly researched character strength approach to understanding what it means to live a happy, healthy life.
In general, people tend to have five values that are considered “signature strengths,” also known as top strengths, within themselves.
Core values, strengths, and virtues are connected.
They are what define us — a guide to using aspects of ourselves to improve the quality of our life and of our relationship with others.
Here are 2 reasons why identifying core values and strengths can guide romantic relationships:
1. Knowing your core values and strengths deepens self-understanding
Knowing oneself well increases the likelihood of recognizing when a relationship is a good one and when it may be time to make a change.
Being familiar with the concepts of core values and signature strengths allows for “strength spotting,” or identifying values in a partner that resonates with us.
2. Obvious core values associated with the happiest, healthiest relationships are relatively easy to guess
You don’t need me to tell you about the importance of “the big three”: trust, honesty, and integrity.
Thinking about signature strengths provides a life-enhancing approach to living life to the fullest, rather than emphasizing faults and flaws or approaching relationships with cliché-based advice.
So, what is the one core value that you need to have healthy and happy relationships?
Valuing character strengths and learning how to nurture the best thing within yourself and others.
Dr. Elayne Daniels, NHSP, RYT is a renowned psychologist and a professional conference speaker on the topics of eating disorders, body image, and more, and has been a featured guest on local radio and television programs and a variety of blogs.