Our morals and values make up a key part of who we are.
Even though there are a number of factors that go into finding the right person for you, finding someone who aligns with your morals and values in a relationship — that’s the real test.
Opposites may attract, but compatibility is key. By sharing core values with your partner, it is a sign that you are more suited for each other in the long run.
Our relationship's core values affect everything from daily decision-making to long-term life plans — so making sure you and your partner share the same values will help you build a fulfilling, healthy relationship.
Our core values make up an intrinsic part of who we are.
These core values go beyond our wants and needs in a relationship, but define our personalities and who we are. These values are usually about how you want to live, what matters to you, and your plans.
Studies show that these values play a crucial role in shaping our relationship well-being, as our behaviors in a relationship are directly affected by our core values.
Values may be more abstract guiding principles — such as valuing kindness and empathy — or making your career or personal development your priority.
In a relationship, there may also be more specific examples of core values that your partner will not compromise on. Common examples of these values are religious beliefs, whether you want to have children, financial stability, or the kind of lifestyle you aspire to achieve.
While opposites can attract, a couple with polar opposite values may find it hard to achieve lasting relationship success.
Some differences can be more compatible than others. For example, a workaholic and a partner who values their leisure time could be a good fit if the partner with more free time enjoys autonomy or pursues hobbies with friends and family members. If they want to take a sabbatical to travel with their partner who prioritizes work above everything else, there might be a bigger issue.
New relationships are often influenced by hormones, physical attraction, shared hobbies, or similarities such as friends or careers in common. However, it’s important to remember that this rush of feeling is often transient and long-lasting relationships aren’t so surface level. A couple who share important core values will be best placed to weather changes in lifestyle and interests throughout a long-term relationship.
Trying to understand your partner’s point of view can go a long way in working together on compatibility. However, some core values may be impossible to compromise on. If one person wants children and their significant other doesn’t, it will be unlikely to find a middle ground, no matter how much they love and respect one another.
Core values are inherently personal and will vary for everyone. Some couples may prefer to have more in common, while others enjoy their different points of view. There’s no formula for the values you and your partner should share, but these are some of the most important deal-breakers that can affect romantic relationships.
Talk about your values early and often. By finding out what a potential partner values in early dating can reveal any deal-breakers that signal any incompatibility.
“Prior to discussing values with your partner, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your own values,” says Moraya Seeger DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist and In-House Relationship Expert at Paired.
“Begin by reflecting on the values that were present in your childhood home. This could include small things like how family members were treated, or larger values that you learned from attending a religious institution like a church, synagogue, or mosque.”
By defining your own values, it gives you a good starting point for discussion with your partner.
“Ask them the same questions and identify where your values overlap and where there are significant differences,” says Seeger DeGeare.
“Consider how these differences affect your individual and collective decision-making. Are these differences or are they potential deal-breakers?”
By having these conversations early on, you can open a line of communication so that you can continue to share your values as they shift and change throughout your relationship.
“Keep in mind that for each of you, your previous way of life was your definition of normal. That can help bring compassion and empathy into these discussions,” says Seeger DeGeare.
Relationships change us and can open us to a whole new realm of possibilities. As you build your life together, strive to find a new normal that incorporates both of your values.