... Another article sharing the Secrets of Starting Out Together.
You've fallen in love with this gorgeous, delightful, and endlessly loving man/woman.
You've mutually decided you're going to shift this relationship onto a different plane. It's not just about fun and/or lust any more, this one has something different. It's special somehow!
So you decide to settle down together with/without the marriage certificate, but certainly WITH commitment.
How have you each come to that conclusion? Has it been a "feeling"/ you've just "known" or has there been a seriously considered, weighing-up of what you are as a couple and how that differs from you as a single?
Are you happy With YOU?
The important thing to remember is (to quote Jon Kabat-Zinn) "wherever you go, there you are". You're each bringing a You into this relationship. And you're each convinced that you know so much about the other - after all you're in love aren't you?
But how much do you really know about your own or your partner's values? The guiding principles? The elements of life that steer his/her course and unconsciously influence her/his decisions? Without sufficient activities and decisions that meet with your values, life becomes hollow, dissatisfying and eventually soul-destroying.
Assuming that's NOT what you want for yourself, your partner, or your relationship, then it's time to take a look at values.
But what the hell ARE values?
Everyone from coaches to marriage celebrants, financial planners to professional development trainers, they all talk about Values. But what are they?
A value is something that you believe in. Something that is important to you and that you can't live your life without.
Of course we start out having had our parents' values carefully planted in our little souls. But just like it's important to analyse your parent's relationship skills (and take what works and discard what doesn't), it's also important to identify what are your values and how different or similar they are to those of the people around you.
Several years ago, my son asked that we not get pizzas from the local pizza joint anymore. Seeing my puzzled look, he described watching this man threaten and abuse his wife. "He's a bully and it wouldn't surprise me if he whacked her around a bit" said Wild Boy. This man's behaviour had clashed with my son's values and he couldn't live with himself if we filled this man's pockets.
Just like it becomes impossible to work for any length of time with a company whose leaders' values differ greatly from your own, it's impossible to sustain a long term relationship with someone whose values clash with yours.
Some Questions to Get You Started
eg If you can't resist freefalling from an aeroplane at 10,000 feet, then perhaps you value extreme adventures. If you love to read non-fiction or watch documentaries, maybe you value learning.
What qualities do you expect people to have if they're going to mix with you?
They might include honesty, loyalty, commitment, accountability, a sense of humour etc
So over a hot coffee and a warm fire (it's VERY wintery here, all I can think about is getting warm) why not prepare and share lists of values. Be curious. Talk about them. Get to know what's brought your beloved partner to figure these things to be so important. It's a journey of discovering more about each other. That's always a bonus when building relationships!
Pink Apple is planning a short group phone seminar to help you clarify your values. If you'd like to guarantee your spot in this small group, shoot me an email to be placed on the pre-registration list. There's no obligation if the date or time turns out to clash with another appointment.