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  • Kate Forest

Celebrating Love Through Clarifying Your Values

For the past ten years, I have worked as a dating and relationship coach. I’ve ushered people through the process of identifying their relationship needs and then finding a life partner.

It’s a powerful experience to walk with someone on that journey and I am continually humbled by the transformation my clients go through.

Frequently, people say they want to find a partner who “shares my values.” But what they really mean is that they want someone who agrees with them on issues. While this can be an asset to a relationship, it isn’t completely necessary. But sharing real values is a requirement for a strong sustainable relationship.

The obstacle most people face in forming relationships is they are not living their values. The majority of my work with clients is values clarification. First, it’s deciding if having a long-term committed relationship is really the most important thing. It doesn’t have to be, and no one should be judged for prioritizing other goals. But if having that special someone is truly the one thing you would sacrifice other goals for, then you must live your life according to that value.

I don’t mean “settling” or giving up your career. But it might mean giving up the all-women book groups and the monthly silent meditation retreat in order to spend time dating. It means making room in your life for someone else. If you want to be prized and held in high esteem, then show the person you choose that you will prize them and hold them in high esteem. That they won’t come in second. Being in a relationship is about a balance between intimacy and independence, connection and autonomy.

If you value small gestures—a cup of coffee brought to your bedside, the dry cleaning picked up during a busy day—then perform those small gestures. If you value words of affection—love notes, whispered endearments—then start writing and learning poetry.

Clarifying your values, your relationship needs and goals, these steps are critical to finding “the one.”

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