I remember a few years ago I was in a relationship with a woman whom I loved deeply. The passion and feelings were there. They were strong. Yet, the relationship never felt right.
In terms of our values, we were mismatched.
While my heart was in it, my head was trying to pull me away.
Our emotional connection was fierce, but we did not connect in some of the crucial areas of alignment.
We held on for a lot longer than we should have because the feelings were so strong but the value (practical alignment) side of the equation proved a future lifetime of compromise with us growing in different directions.
We were spiritually misaligned. She was a Christian, and while I’m very spiritual, I believe more in things like ‘energy,’ ‘flow,’ ‘alignment,’ and ‘The Universe’ than I do in organized religion and the idea there is one single Creator.
She also interpreted my ambition and drive to succeed in my field as self-serving. While I believe that uncovering and contributing your gifts is actually the most selfless thing you could ever do because then you’re actually offering the world your unique contribution.
Clearly, you get the idea: our core values were not in resonance with one another.
But the biggest value clash here was that she wanted someone who loved God as much as she did. She wanted to share this experience with her partner fully. And while I supported her in her faith, I would never be able to contribute or add to her faith the way she desired. She could talk to me about it but she would never get anything back from me, at least not enough to contribute to this core value in the way her heart truly desired from her partner.
She wanted someone whom she could grow in her faith with. And regardless of how spiritual or open I was, that was clearly not the right path for my soul to walk down.
I remember playing out this exact scenario in my head while we were together over and over: she meets a nice Christian guy through her church or faith and they start off as friends. They spend days and nights talking about God, Jesus and their dreams and plans with their faith, joining one another on Christian retreats and at church mixers. Until, surprise, surprise. They fall in love and begin building a life together with God at the center of it all.
A life that I was clearly not going to provide for her.
I knew this is exactly what would happen if we tried to fight the truth: our core values were too misaligned to proceed into longer-term partnership.
This relationship was where I learned my lesson about misaligned values the hard way.
LOVE BY ITSELF IS NEVER ENOUGH.
Not even close.
Love without the head is just a heart taking a beating.
My heart took the beating.
I learned my lesson loud and clear.
So…this brings me to the question of clashing values in a relationship.
How important is it to have aligned values?
How detrimental is it to your relationship when you have incongruent values?
My situation of misaligned values is an EXTREME example. That’s because usually having congruent faith and religious beliefs is a deal breaker to those who have strong faith or religious devotions.
You can still be in a relationship with someone who has opposing values to you but you will just have to work A LOT harder to make that relationship work.
Communicating and finding common ground will be more challenging.
It will take more work to get united and on the same page.
It’s like your path to great partnership is already facing an uphill battle before you even start.
IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
BUT IT’S HARDER.
Relationships are hard, having opposing values makes them even harder.
Even perfectly aligned connections take a shit ton of work and care to cultivate a great relationship that is deeply satisfying.
So add in some misaligned key, core values, and you have your work cut out for you.
It will take things like…
Lots of work communicating with one another to fully understand one another’s experience.
It will take being okay with not being able to share EVERYTHING with your partner.
It will take you being okay not sharing EVERYTHING that’s true and important to the heart and soul of your partner.
You will have to give your partner the necessary space, freedom and time to give to and be nourished by this value of theirs.
And you must find a way to f*cking understand and be cool with that.
Which means you need to respect your partner’s values, even when they’re not congruent with yours.
It will be paramount that you create enough safety in your relationship that not sharing certain values will not challenge your overall relationship together.
There will be some things you just do separately, and that is part of the agreement you must make.
These things must be talked about and agreements must be made.
Because if these agreements are not made, you will be perma f*cking anxious in that relationship because you will always fear your differences will be what ultimately separate you, not unite you.
Without being united together, neither of you will ever feel safe inside your connection.
So if the idea of creating agreements with your partner doesn’t make you all wet and excited, then you may want to reconsider walking down the path of a misaligned relational match.
Cause this relationship must be consciously created and the terms must be accepted truthfully and full-heartedly.
If you say “it’s cool” that you don’t share this important thing, but then secretly wish your partner changes and concedes to your side of things, that sh*t is going to blow up in your f*cking face.
THIS IS NOT OKAY.
If you commit to this type of relationship without creating agreements, problems will find you and they will reek havoc on your relationship.
If you make agreements that are not aligned to your heart and the life you desire, you will resent someone for the choices you made.
So what are VALUES exactly?
Values are things you consider very important to you and are pillars that make and define who you are and what you’re all about in the world.
In dating and relationships, values are the key areas of alignment that will determine the amount of resonance and compatibility you have with your partner.
This could mean spiritual values — Are you religious? Spiritual? What do you believe in? What is your life philosophy?
This could mean health and wellness values — Do you like to exercise, workout and take care of your body? Do you like to eat healthy or do you eat like sh*t? Do you like to live an active lifestyle or a sedentary lifestyle?
This could mean lifestyle design values — Do you prefer working for yourself or someone else? Do you like a 9-5 job with a stable and fixed income or do you like the exciting but risky lifestyle of an entrepreneur where everyday is different? Do you want a lifestyle where you travel a lot or do you prefer to plant roots and stay in one place?
This could mean growth and development values — Are you into personal development? Do you want to continuously be learning, growing and improving yourself? Are you ambitious? Do you have big goals and dreams or do you want to live a simple life? Do you love learning and studying new things? Are you dedicated to working on yourself? Or would you rather just watch TV whenever you’re not working?
This could mean work values — Do you want to ‘live to work’ or do you want to ‘work to live’? Do you want your job to be your passion? Do you love working? Or do you just want a job where you earn enough income to live comfortably?
This could mean family values — Do you want to get married? Do you want to have kids? When are you looking to have a family? Is building your career more important than starting a family right now?
This could be a humour value — Do you love to laugh? How important is it to laugh and share a similar sense of humour with your partner? Does your partner need to be funny? What if they tell really bad stories? Deal breaker? What about if they live with a f*cking stick up their a**? Can you handle that?
Values are what we define as important to us. The more values we have congruent with our partner, the more likely our relationship will feel free, easy and fulfilling.
This is what I believe…when you get into a relationship where IMPORTANT values are conflicting, you’re getting into a relationship where your potential for ease, happiness and fulfillment in that partnership is limited.
It’s like when you get into a relationship with TONS of alignment (and in all the major key areas), you’re in a relationship with the ceiling of possibility for your fulfillment and satisfaction being 100%.
Whereas if you get into a relationship where there’s some alignment, but not alignment in all the major life categories, you’re getting into a relationship with the highest potential being 70-80%, and even to get to that number you will really have to f*cking stretch it out and work harder than a couple in complete alignment and resonance with one another.
So I tell you as a man who has literally been c*ck blocked by God in a relationship: NO AMOUNT OF LOVE CAN OVERCOME OR ABSOLVE THE ISSUE OF DIFFERING VALUES.
Those issues are ALWAYS going to be there.
So the work to be done here is for both of you to ask yourselves: “HOW IMPORTANT IS SHARING THIS PARTICULAR THING WITH MY PARTNER?”
“IS THIS A DEAL BREAKER?”
“OR IS THIS STILL WORKABLE IN THE TRUEST EXPRESSION OF MY HEART?”
From there, you find out if a relationship is a YES or a NO because of not being in resonance in this particular area.
That is for you to decide.
Do you want a work-your-fu*king-ass off 80% relationship?
Or would you rather a joy and ease-filled 100% relationship where you aren’t having to constantly explain your soul to your partner?
Know your non-negotiables and what areas are MUST HAVES for you.
But if you don’t know who you are fully, or don’t have solid boundaries, or haven’t gotten yourself into full blown alignment yet, you will have no f*cking clue what to even test for in the first place.
You’ll be like values? What the f*ck is a value!
And even if you do have values, you will quickly overstep your own truth and succumb to a relationship that is not in alignment with that value if you’re not solid in your convictions surrounding that value.
It depends on what you want your relationship to be like and feel like.
If you’re like me, then you want full-blown alignment because you don’t want to spend your entire f*cking lifetime trying to explain and justify your experience in the world to the person who is supposed to just GET YOU better than anyone else.
I want to do sh*t with my partner. I want a partner-in-crime. I want a f*cking getaway driver where I’ll rob a f*cking bank and she’ll be waiting for me out back with the passenger side door open and two fake passports and two one-way tickets to f*cking Guatemala.
Life is way too short to always be just a little misunderstood by the person who is supposed to make us feel more understood than anyone else in the world.
I don’t know about you but I’m not really too intent on spending my entire life listening to my partner say like a broken record, “Honey what did you mean by that?!?!?”
Cause if we don’t feel fully seen by our partners, we won’t feel completely safe. A part of our soul, our heart, will forever be clenched into a little fist, afraid of fully releasing because we fear that fully releasing will reveal even more of what we already know…
I DON’T HAVE EVERYTHING I’M CAPABLE OF HAVING WITH A PERSON IN THIS RELATIONSHIP.
So we mold and constrain ourselves to accommodate a relationship that is not in complete alignment with our heart and soul.
See, I want what’s called a ‘Companionship Relationship Model’ with a soul person where we get each other like smooth butter and meet each other fully in all areas of our lives which expands our beings in divine ways.
It’s fun. It’s magical. It’s playful. I teach her things. She teaches me things. We learn together. Grow together. We share and connect together. We make each other better people. We build an empire together.
If you desire this level of alignment, it just means you have to take the dating phase slower and have more patience to let a connection fully unravel to test for this level of alignment.
This means you will have to be cutthroat about what you want because you have high expectations for how you want to feel within a romantic union.
You want a full-blown aligned, magical connection where you learn from one another every day and can grow into the most expanded versions of who you are without fearing your growth will challenge the safety of your relationship.
Cause it will actually be the safety of your alignment that gives you the freedom and space to grow and expand in the ways you desire.
Alignment and congruent values gives us the safety and piece of mind to be all we’re capable of being in the world because we know our partners are in resonance with the most honest expression of who we really are.
So we can expand without worrying about being abandoned or abandoning the person we love.
So are relationships workable when you have clashing values?
That’s up for you to decide.
How do you want to FEEL in your relationship?
What do you HAVE to share with your partner to feel fully alive in your relationship?
Sharing congruent values in all the major life areas with your partner is a very special thing that takes knowing exactly who you are, what you want, and then having the courage and faith to set the proper boundaries to put you on the necessary track in order to manifest and welcome this level of connection and partnership into your life.
Previously published here and reprinted with the author’s permission.
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