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Defining Your Relationship Values

When we use our values to make decisions, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is most important to us. When values are shared within a relationship, they build an internal cohesion which fortifies relationships.

There are five types of values that we find in a relationship: individual values, relationship values, familial values, spiritual values and societal values.

Individual values

Individual values reflect how you think about, judge and show up in your life and your specific needs. Individual values are the principles on which you build your life. They are what you live by and what you consider important for your self-interest. Individual values include: kindness, dedication, work-ethic, honesty, enthusiasm, creativity, humility, forgiveness and personal fulfillment.

Relational values

Relationship values reflect how you relate to other people in your life, especially your intimate partner, but also includes friends, family or colleagues in at work. Relationship values include: trust, openness, integrity, generosity and caring just to name a few.

Familial values

Familial values reflect how you think about family and the values reflected in the meaning of the word family.

Societal values

Societal values reflect how you or your relationships relate to society. What do you care about on a large or global scale? Societal values include: legacy, future generations, volunteerism, environmental awareness, ecology and sustainability.

Spiritual values

Spiritual values reflect how your spiritual and religious beliefs, practices and commitments. Spiritual values include: Generosity, Stewardship, Fellowship and Giving. Defining Your Core Values

This is significant work and deserves devoted and focused time. There is absolutely no reason to rush through it. So, please do take your time and don't move onto the next step until you feel "complete" with the stage you are on.

Values to help you create values list

Can you think of any additional words that describe values that are important to you?

Refine your list down into 10 values.

It can be helpful to group similar words together and see if there is a word that captures all of the words into one. For example, you may have circled words like integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness and decide that integrity captures all of them. Circle or highlight the words you are choosing.




1. __________________________________________ 2. __________________________________________ 3. __________________________________________ 4. __________________________________________ 5. __________________________________________ 6. __________________________________________ 7. __________________________________________ 8. __________________________________________ 9. __________________________________________ 10. _________________________________________

Refine the ten words into six.

At this point in the process, you want to be focusing less on weeding out similar words and more on discerning which ones are the most important to you.

To do that, you can pair two words together and "pit" them against each other by asking: If I had to choose {word one} or {word two}, which one would I choose?

SIX VALUES: 1. __________________________________________ 2. __________________________________________ 3. __________________________________________ 4. __________________________________________ 5. __________________________________________ 6. __________________________________________

Take your six personal core values and rank them in order of importance to you. You can use the "pitting against" process again to help with refining.

MOST IMPORTANT VALUE: ______________________________________________

2nd MOST IMPORTANT VALUE: ___________________________________________

3rd MOST IMPORTANT VALUE: ___________________________________________

4th MOST IMPORTANT VALUE: ___________________________________________

5th MOST IMPORTANT VALUE: ___________________________________________

6th MOST IMPORTANT VALUE: ___________________________________________

Once you have defined your personal core values, it can be helpful to see how in alignment you are with each value and then start making adjustments in your life. Depending on how far off you are, it may take some time to get into full alignment, so, please be patient with yourself.

Dawn Billings,

Personality and relationship expert Dawn Billings is the author and architect of Primary Colors Relationship Personality Tests and training. Dawn is the author of hundreds of articles and executive director of the Relationship Help Resort in Arizona where she leads private couple's retreats and intensives to strengthen, empower and heal relationships.

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