Importance of Values in Relationships

Do you want to know what makes relationships work or fail- values in relationship/s. What are values? We seek to answer these important questions in this post.

In order to be happy in life, you need to be in different sorts of relationships-personal, professional and social. If you want those relationships to be happy, you need to choose people who value what you value.

In order to find people who value what you value, you would need to know what you value to start with.

What are values?

Value is the importance you place on something. If you value something and your partner in life or business doesn’t value, there will be clashes which you would not be able to handle.

Values are the most important things about human relationships. We could say for the sake of exaggeration that values matter in animal world as well. However, the difference is that animals of different kinds are largely similar to each other.

For example, dogs largely behave similarly. Stray dogs behave similarly and so do lions in the jungle. Lions behave like lions. Dogs behave like dogs.

Humans, on the other hand are vastly different from each other.

No two humans are same. Just because humans are different from each other, it makes relationships difficult and complicated. If humans were similar to animals and only wanted to survive, all human beings would behave similarly. Even though, not all humans exist to survive, still most human beings behave as if survival is the key attribute of human life.

It isn’t. Humans are born to be happy. We have been blessed with a mind and we can think about things. We are born to be happy and only survival cannot make us happy. Similarly, only money cannot make us happy.

Since we are different and value different things, our roads to happiness are different.

This is what makes relationships complicated. If two people who have different roads to happiness get married with each other or start a business together, it will be create an extremely complicated and painful relationship. It is so important that values in relationship match for happy relationships.

Can you adjust your values?

A lot of people say a lot of stuff about making relationships work. They say that you need to adjust to make relationships wok. However, the question is what can be adjusted and what cannot be adjusted.

You can adjust on small things like being there for each other’s hobbies but you cannot adjust on values. Values are strong innate things about us, which when compromised, creates an imbalance in our core, which cannot be merely adjusted. We just cannot change a few things about us. What we value is innate, as a consequence of nature and we cannot change that.

How do values reflect in personal relationships?

Let us take an example. Let us say that you as a person value freedom, which is one of your core values and your partner values money and social acceptance as core values. Now, this is a massive value clash.

What do you value?
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People who value freedom live different lives than most people. If you value freedom, you take risks and responsibility for your life, you don’t like to take orders. You like to make and follow your own rules in life. If you have to sacrifice money and social acceptance to earn your freedom, you do that.

However, this wouldn’t go well with your partner who values money and social acceptance. They want to buy more things that money can buy and your craving for freedom jeopardizes their plan for more money in life and their craving to seek social acceptance. If they feel that their friends are not accepting of their life, it becomes a massive issue for them.

You on the other hand, cannot understand this since your freedom doesn’t have a price. You are your own boss and you are willing to pay whatever price-financial or emotional to be able to live the kind of life you want.

As a consequence, there will be fights and arguments. Neither your partner would be able to adjust with you for your need for freedom nor would you be able to adjust with your partner for their need for social acceptance. There is high likelihood that such a relationship wouldn’t last the test of time and adversity.

Our top values cannot be adjusted or compromised.

How do values reflect in professional relationships?

Similarly, in the professional world, values are important and if they are compromised, the professional relationship wouldn’t last. Let us take an example of 2 friends starting a start-up to make biscuits priced at the economically backward section of the society. Let’s say a pack of biscuits cost 10 rupees which is $.14.

Now you value kindness and your business partner doesn’t. You have entered the business because kindness is your top value while your partner wants to succeed with the start-up at any cost.

Relationships are based on values.
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There comes a situation where if you could reduce the quality of the product by 50 half a rupee, your volume of sales would significantly increase. Now, here is a value clash. You would definitely not agree to reduce the quality of the product since you are kind to your customers and you want them to have the best quality that you can offer them.

You do not want to reduce the quality of the product to increase the sales volume while your co-founder is insistent that you must reduce the quality of the product to improve the top-line. This a massive clash since this would reveal to each of the co-founders each other’s character. If you value kindness with intensity that you are not willing to budge at all, you would not only make the pricing decision, but you would not be able to work with your co-founder at all since there is a massive value clash which renders the relationship impossible.

We cannot compromise on core values

All relationships are based on values. We can adjust around hobbies, time and fluffy things about our personality but we cannot change our values. Either our values are innate and congenital, or they are created in us after years of failure and reflection. We can’t quite change them.

Compatibility is the compatibility of values

Therefore the definition of compatibility becomes choosing people who value what you value. If we choose people who value freedom when we value freedom, they would help us in the journey and be partners. It is extremely difficult to live a life guided by freedom as one of the top values. Most people live in chains of personal and professional relationships for most of their adult lives. Therefore, to be free is a fight in itself on a daily basis. If you value freedom, you must choose someone who values freedom. That way, you will have two people fighting for freedom instead of fighting each other.

If you value inner peace over social acceptance, you need to choose people who value that. People who value inner peace and happiness are smaller in the society. You need to find them. Most people live lives guided by social acceptance and they are all over the place. To find people who chose inner values over external values, you find to study their lives and life decisions and see if they are internally driven.

The intensity of values

It’s not only about which value is important to you, it is also about with what intensity you value something. You may be willing to compromise on a value that you don’t hold dear, but you will not compromise on something that’s extremely important to you.

Let’s say respect is a value you hold dear. You will not tolerate disrespect no matter what comes up. You value respect so intensely that you would even be willing to give up a promotion because you don’t feel respected. That is, you would be willing to compromise on success as a value because respect is more important to you than success. Therefore, it is important for all of us to know our top values and which values would we not compromise on.

Once you know which values you won’t compromise on, share those values with people who are seeking to build relationships with, and see what they value. In case there is a value clash between your top values and their top values, the relationships is unlikely to last. Happy relationships would have a value match between top values.

Two people who value respect and freedom as their top values would work hard to ensure those values reflect in their lives. A couple that values fidelity would ensure that they respect each other’s need for trust.

All relationships must be based on value alignment

Value people who value you.
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All relationships must be based on a match of mutual values and there is no match, then the relationship should not be pursued. Values in relationships are the deal breaker or the deal maker.

The partners involved in the prospective relationship, be it personal or professional must be absolutely honest in sharing what they value since dishonesty would be harmful to both the parties.


Yeah, so this is it. That’s what we know about values. Personally, when I look back at my life now, I did not look at values to start with, mine or those of people I sought to build relationships with, and that has led to failures. Hopefully, you would build relationships based on personal values, now that you know that all relationships that work are a case of values match, and those that fail are a case of a clash of personal values. It is important for all of us to know what we value since life is quite about finding our own tribe.

Thank you for reading.

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