8 Core Values Shared By Couples In Healthy Relationships

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A couple share a close bonding moment. He places his head to hers, she smiles with love

Most people have an innate desire to share and feel love. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t continue to get into relationships — or even “situationships” — with the hope they will turn into something lasting.

When relationships become stale or stagnant, many people don't know if the love they've found will last.

The chances a romantic relationship can withstand the test of time often hangs on whether or not the individuals share certain core values in common.

What are core values?

Core values are defined as "the fundamental beliefs of a person or organization. These guiding principles dictate behavior and can help people understand the difference between right and wrong."

RELATED: 15 Signs Of A Healthy Relationship That's Built To Last

Shared values help sustain love and create a relationship to survive for years to come by making us be intentional and mindful of how we create the relationship.

8 Core Values Couples Share in Happy, Healthy Relationships

1. Companionship

Companionship is essential for being your partner’s friend. A healthy relationship is built on friendship and grown with affection, connection, fellowship, and quality time.

Think of companionship as the thermostat of your relationship — it lets you know how hot or cold the relationship is. Without friendship in your relationship, it’s difficult to know how healthy the relationship is.

Companionship is necessary to foster a healthy sense of romance and affection with your partner. It’s hard to be romantic or sexually attracted to someone you don’t want to be around very much.

2. Respect

Respect is the feeling of admiration for someone and honoring/recognizing them for who they are, what they have achieved, or what they are capable of.

Just as our need for self-respect is important to us individually, our partner’s need for respect is equally as important. This is done by recognizing and having consideration for our partner’s feelings and needs.

There is nothing more beautiful and attractive than when your partner respects your need for individuality and who you see yourself to be. When that happens, they likely hold the relationship with the same care and respect they show you as an individual.

3. Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.

This is deeper than simply having sympathy, or understanding, for our partners and what they are dealing with — it’s having the ability to put yourself in their position and saying, “I get it beacause I feel it too”.

This lets your partner know you are attentive to them when the relationship is fun, but you are listening and concerned when they are hurting.

4. Vulnerability

Vulnerability in a relationship is showing up and being present, willingly.

The challenge with vulnerability is being open and honest with our partners does not guarantee they will return the same sentiment, affection, or behavior.

Vulnerability puts you at risk for rejection.But it also means you recognize the value of your partner and the relationship.

Vulnerability means you are honoring your relationship with the realest and most raw version of yourself.

RELATED: How To Get Over Your Fear Of Vulnerability In 6 Steps (Even If You've Been Hurt)

5. Accountability

Accountability is owning up to the mess you made, but also being willing to clean it up.

It’s not enough to apologize for our behavior and actions against our partners, but it’s equally as important to show we understand the impact of our actions.

The apology is the first step toward accountability, but recognizing our partner’s desire for change and different behavior is the second step in becoming accountable partners in the relationship.

6. Commitment

Commitment means being dedicated and devoted to one another. People want to know they matter in their relationships and this is demonstrated by prioritizing our partners.

Making your partner a priority means they come before anyone else and they are your primary concern.

When you get married, you commit to another person. But if you explicitly state you are in a committed relationship, then we need to always keep that commitment in mind.

7. Trust

Most of us have an idea of what trust it, but for those who don't, it's the ability to believe and rely on what your partner tells you — firmly and wholeheartedly.

Most people talk about trust being foundational, but it is also something that is earned and cultivated.

Trust is built little by little; it isn’t built overnight. It is a critical concept in any relationship and has a huge value. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

8. Communication

Communication is simply how we talk to one another. As a relationship breaks down, the first to go is communication.

When you describe the communication of your relationship, do you describe it by frequent name-calling, yelling, aggressive, and very disagreeable? This is a strong indication your relationship is unhealthy.

Conflict will happen, it’s inevitable. But the conflict doesn’t have to get ugly and messy, or make us speak in negative ways toward our partners. If the communication is breaking down, take a break and come back to the conversation. It's more important to be loving than to be right.

Take an inventory of the values in your relationship and ask yourself if these eight are present.

Do both you and your partner engage them, or is it one-sided?

Relationships take work, but a happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationship is worth it.

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Janika Veasley, LMFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist committed to helping couples, families, and individuals succeed in living a holistic and healthy life.