As Valentine’s Day approaches I’d like to share with you how to create a relationship that meets your needs.
This could be important if you are single and searching for that next special person, or if you want to improve the relationship you are in. One way of doing this is to find out your relationship values and reflect on whether they are being met (if you are in a relationship) or to use them to make a more informed choice next time.
When things are not going well in a relationship it is often because there is conflict around differing values, in other words, differences between what is important to each of you. Most couples don’t take the time to understand each other’s values deeply enough, and then wonder why they disagree so much. Knowing what is important to your partner can save a relationship.
For example, if one of my top three relationship values is excitement and my partner’s security, we could have an issue as I want to experiment and experience new things whilst they want to keep things as they are. Got the idea?
However, as our values are deeply unconscious it can be tricky to find out what they are. I love it when clients experience a lightbulb moment after doing this exercise and say to me ‘now I know why that part of the relationship just doesn’t work for me!’
Aligning your values to your relationship this Valentine’s Day.
I’m going to show you a powerful process that you can use to discover your values in relation to your relationship. If your values are aligned with your partners, it will become much easier to achieve your goals together as you’ll naturally feel motivated and willing to do whatever it takes. So, once you have done this for yourself it is a good idea to elicit your partner’s values too.
When eliciting values, it is best to find someone who can work with you to ask you the questions. Choose a friend you trust or hire a coach. One of the rules of this exercise is to ask them to keep going with the questioning, even when your answers dry up. This is because your conscious values come out first, as they are at surface level. Your unconscious values are those that you are least aware of and are likely to come out later and may prove to be the most important of all the values you identify. So, we must keep digging to get to those core values.
Step 1: Elicitation
Get your friend or coach to ask you the following question: ‘What’s important to you about relationships?’ By the way, these should be relationships in general and not necessarily the one you are in now. That is because we’re going to check out your current relationship against your values later in this exercise to ensure that they are fully aligned.
Your friend must write down the words that you say and not suggest any answers, (as these are their own values, not yours.) Here is an example to help you get the idea. When you are asked what is important to you about your relationship, you might say:
You then say you can’t think of anymore. That means you are at the end of the first wave. Your coach carries on asking ‘What else is important to you about your relationship?’ to discover your second wave or those values held at a more unconscious level. You might then say:
- Personal Growth
See how six more values are identified from the second wave?
Here is the list so far:
- Personal Growth
Step 2: Hierarchy of values
Your friend or coach should now give you the list of values and ask you to pick the top 8, and then rank them in order of priority. This may seem challenging, but it is essential to understand the most important through to the least important.
Step 3: Re-write your list
Your friend should then re-write your list in the order you have given. You may find that some of your most important values came out in the second wave of elicitation. This is quite common and means that some of your most important values were those held at an unconscious level. Let’s assume that this is the final list in our example:
- Personal growth
You’ll notice that passion and fun from the second wave are now number 1 & 2 on the list demonstrating the importance of carrying on with the questioning.
Step 4: How does your relationship stack up?
Now ask yourself how does my relationship stack up against these values? Go through your list of 8 values and score your current relationship out of 10 against each value. See the hypothetical example below for guidance.
- Passion – 2/10
- Fun – 10/10
- Flexibility – 6/10
- Personal Growth – 8/10
- Authenticity – 3/10
- Security – 4/10
- Love – 9/10
- Inspiration – 10/10
I normally break the scores into three categories:
0–4 High risk area
5–7 Medium risk area
8–10 Low risk area for the relationship.
In our example, the two highest values are high risk and low-risk areas for the relationship. Unless this relationship can develop more passion your motivation to continue it will likely decline over time.
Ask yourself where the high and medium risk areas for your relationship are and what can you do about it.
I’d love to hear your results. Let me know if anything surprised you about the outcomes.
For more exercises around life, work, happiness, and relationships grab a free copy of my book Take Back Control of Your Life Now!
Wishing you a Happy Valentine’s Day full of love and laughter.
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