Values In A Relationship (41 Relationship Values Every Couple Should Have)

Last updated on October 24, 2022 by April Maccario

Over the years, many of us have accepted the adage that says, "opposites attract." While this may true in some cases, it could also be misleading, especially when it comes to core values.

For the most part, people are intrigued by others who are different from them. However, a partner with similar core values and interests is more appealing in relationships. This is because when two people share the same interests and core values, they have similar goals, making it easier to navigate the challenges of relationships.

Having a set of core values in a relationship to guide your behavior can never be overstated. You see, to have a meaningful life and be happy, we must have a better understanding of the fundamental beliefs that guide our interactions with others. 

For example, you may use your core relationship values list to choose how you respond to an angry person, pick the best partner, let people go, and show up for yourself in times of hardship and joy. In essence, these relationship values serve as a compass, guiding you to the center of who you want to be and how you want to be seen by the people around you.

On that note, here are the 41 most important core values in a relationship.

41 Relationship Values Every Couple Should Have

1. Reciprocity

Reciprocity as a relationship value means where there is a balanced exchange of what is given and what is received. Therefore, couples in relationships that lack reciprocity as one of their core values will have one selfish partner who is always receiving but never giving and another partner whose wants aren't fulfilled despite fulfilling their partner's needs. 

In this scenario, the self-centered spouse adds unnecessary stress to the partnership by setting unreasonable demands. They will be the center of attention in most conversations and encounters. This is why you must be in a relationship with someone that has reciprocity as one of their core values.

2. Acceptance

Understanding and embracing your partner for who they are and their imperfections, even if they annoy you, is what the value of acceptance is all about. Therefore, focusing on problem-solving and acknowledgment is the key to success rather than rejection and criticism.

When you can accept and make peace with the way things are right now, you can go on and evolve. When you have ‘acceptance’ as a core value, you are able to value your partner and recognize that every moment with your partner is special and that each situation has an important lesson to teach you.

3. Self-awareness

Another important relationship value is self-awareness. 

Accepting responsibility for our feelings and behaviors is a key component of being aware. Being with a partner that values self-awareness would mean that they are aware of their bad habits and take measures to change.

Therefore, the first step to becoming more aware is to pay attention to your behavior. After that, we should work on letting go of those behaviors that are hurting us or the relationship.

4. Listening

Listening is a sign of attention, care, and consideration. It involves making room for your partner, allowing them to fully express themselves, and being fully present. 

You see, people can tell when you're paying attention from your body language. So if your partner is speaking, but you're not looking into their eyes when they're speaking, it signifies that you aren't paying attention and do not value listening. 

Therefore one of your core relationship values should be listening to your companion and having your companion pay attention to you. 

5. Attraction

A common misconception people have is basing attraction solely on the physical, forgetting that physical and emotional attraction go hand-in-hand. This means a person who is physically attractive but not mentally attractive to their partner is less likely to have a successful relationship.

When you take an interest in your partner's life, past, present, and future, you will find yourself drawn to them. For instance, when one person exemplifies femininity and the other masculinity, the attraction is at its fiercest. Unfortunately, this attraction can be lost when there's no longer a dynamic interplay of masculine and feminine energy between the two individuals.

6. Optimism

When I refer to optimism as a value here, it goes beyond positive thinking. Positive thinking is a propensity for looking at the bright side of things rather than dwelling on the negative. In comparison, optimism is believing that things will become better in the future. 

Optimism is the key to any lasting relationship. When things are tough, and you and your partner aren't on the best of terms, optimism makes you realize that you have to stick together and keep moving forward with the hope of a brighter future than the present. 

7. Mental flexibility

"Mental flexibility" is at the top of the list of relationship core values that are more important than looks, sex, or money. To be mentally flexible means that you are competent and willing to work out a compromise with your partner if the situation requires it.

So, contrary to popular belief, if you and your partner aren't on the same page on most problems, that's fine, provided you both express your acceptance of the other and strive towards a mutually beneficial compromise.

8. Communication

Relationship core values are never complete without mentioning the need for communication. One of the secrets to lasting relationships is encouraging open communication with your partner. After all, despite wanting to resolve conflicts, many of us also want to feel cared for during the process.

Good communication can help you resolve conflicts before they are escalated, and it further helps partners talk about their future - hopes, anxieties, and goals. 

9. Lifestyle habits

lifestyle habits

It is important to know if you and your spouse have the same values and priorities in life. Does one of you yearn for the serenity of the countryside while the other craves the excitement of the city? Do you prefer a family-oriented lifestyle or a vocation that requires a lot of time and energy away from your home?

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There should be some overlap in the everyday routines of a couple, and this can only happen when there are shared core values in regard to lifestyle. If you don't, you'll end up in a fight, and one of you will cave in out of desperation but develop resentment.

10. Sexual relations

When it comes to relationship values, sex may be one of the most complicated aspects. As a result, it's critical to talk about aspects of sexual intimacy with your partner, such as your anxieties and desires for the relationship.

Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your spouse can help guarantee that you connect on an intimate level that you both enjoy. You'll find it much simpler to broach uncomfortable topics, like your sex lives, if you create a rapport and a level of trust early on. 

11. Loyalty

Loyalty is one of the most important core values in a relationship. After all, true love is built on being there for your partner through good times and bad. 

To have loyalty as one of your core values means you and your spouse must put up a unified front when facing the rest of the world, even when you don't always agree.

To prove that loyalty is one of your core values, avoid adopting a stance against your partner. A typical example is siding with your family members against your partner. This behavior can put your relationship in jeopardy. 

12. Self-discipline

I know what you're thinking. You may be wondering why self-discipline made the cut as one of the important core values in a relationship. Well, hear me out.

Assuming you wake up at 5:00 a.m. every day to go to the gym and are careful about your eating habits, your house's tidiness, or you exhibit self-control. This shows that self-discipline is one of your core values. Therefore having a partner that values none of these can be challenging and can easily cause resentment.

Therefore, you may prevent endless discussions by dating someone that values self-discipline as much as you do, particularly in similar areas.

13. Sense of humor

While everyone's sense of humor is different, I believe that humor is essential in building and maintaining close personal relationships. 

You don't have to share your partner's sense of humor, and it doesn't matter if you and your spouse have different approaches to comedy. What matters is that you and your partner know how to share some laughter while respecting each other's boundaries. 

There is no doubt that when a couple values laughter and jokes, they tend to have better sex lives and lasting relationships than those who don't. 

14. Vulnerability

Showing up and being there is a form of vulnerability in a relationship.

Vulnerability in relationships comes with the risk that our partners may not reciprocate our feelings, emotions, or actions when we have open and honest communication with them. This puts you in danger of being rejected.

Nonetheless, because vulnerability acknowledges the importance of your partner and the connection, having it as one of your core values implies that you respect your relationship with the most honest and open version of yourself.

15. Accountability

Taking responsibility for your actions means acknowledging that you made a mistake and putting forth the effort to fix it. Therefore, as much as it is good to apologize for your misconduct, it's also crucial to indicate that we realize the consequences of our actions and are willing to do better.

The first step toward accountability is to apologize, but the second step is to have a desire for change and new conduct.

16. Friendship

The cornerstone of a healthy relationship is a strong friendship, and the rest follows. Friendship fosters trust and safety. The connection grows and evolves as these ingredients are planted and strengthened.

For instance, friends and family love spending time together because they have similar interests. Likewise, your partner should be like family to you. Someone you can talk to, laugh with, and support because when one of you begins to view the other as an adversary, your relationship is in jeopardy.

17. Personal growth

If one partner is committed to personal growth and development and sees it as a value while the other isn't, this can cause a rift in your relationship. Therefore, it's a red flag if you're always striving to improve yourself and your partner isn't interested in expanding their knowledge beyond what they learned in high school.

It's natural to want to share new experiences and knowledge, and who better to share these things with than your family or partner? However, if they aren't committed to personal growth, you'll feel disappointed and frustrated because they won't seem interested.

18. Commitment


If you're in a relationship where you've exchanged 'I love yous,' and everything seems to be going well, highlighting this as one of the relationship values may feel strange but what you may not realize is that people have varying conceptions of what it means to be committed in a relationship. Therefore, it's important to talk about your commitment styles.

While some people are satisfied to remain in a relationship with the same person for the rest of their lives without formalizing it, other individuals may not be happy until they have signed a contract and exchanged "I dos." So it's essential to figure out if you and your partner are on different frequencies and what to do next.

19. Trust

This is one of the most important relationship values because you can't have a healthy romance without it. You and your spouse must have complete faith in one another and practice honesty at all times. This way, you can always count on them to have your back as much as theirs.

Having a successful connection with your significant other is possible when you are both confident that you will always do what's in the best interest of the relationship.

20. Conflict resolution

In any relationship, there will be differences and conflicts. This is because it's natural for us to have different interests, views, and values from our significant others. Relationship conflicts may indicate that something needs to change. This might lead to tensions and unfulfilled demands for couples that avoid or minimize confrontation. 

However, how a couple responds to disagreement is more crucial than the dispute itself because being able to speak things out and listen to one another is essential for maintaining healthy communication and mutual compromise. 

21. Respect

Relationships can suffer from a loss of mutual respect, considering people are bound to make mistakes now and then. Therefore, it's common for romantic partners to let each other down over time, losing mutual respect.

If you don't treat your spouse with respect, you might fall into the trap of treating them with contempt.

Making respect a major element of your relationship might help protect you from that kind of negativity. This core value reminds you to never lose sight of the other person's dignity.

22. Forgiveness

As a relationship progresses, conflicts become inevitable. However, resentment can easily develop if you and your partner aren't deliberate about forgiveness or do not consider it one of your foundational values. 

Forgiveness is one of the core relationship values that can help you and your spouse recover to a state of emotional harmony. Forgiveness is the only way to move forward from bitterness and hatred. So it doesn't matter how tiny or serious the problem is; if you want to keep a relationship healthy, you have to deal with it.

23. Authenticity

Everyone yearns and deserves to be in a relationship where they can freely express themselves, especially in long-term relationships.

Our well-being and relationship success depends on the support and acceptance of our most vulnerable and real selves. Therefore, one of the relationship values that affect the success and well-being of your relationship lies in cherishing a partner who loves honesty and sincerity in the same manner you do.

24. Empathy

Putting ourselves in our partner's shoes, attempting to view certain things from their perspective, and exhibiting empathy can go a long way to preserve your relationship.

Research shows that empathy is strongly linked to relationship satisfaction. So if you want to have a fulfilling relationship, pay attention to your partner, and strive to understand them by putting yourself in their shoes.

25. Emotional support

Having someone to depend on in times of need is one of the many benefits of being in a relationship. This is why supporting our loved ones in times of distress is the core of emotional support, as your emotional support for one another creates a haven from the stresses of life.

When there is a lack of emotional support, one or both partners will experience dissatisfaction and unhappiness in the relationship, further leading to a breakup or divorce.

Furthermore, remember that Love and enduring relationships are typically built on emotional support that includes expressions of care, sympathy, love, and interest. 

26. Finance management

As someone who's experienced the downside of financial disagreements and how they can affect a relationship, I would be honest and tell you to avoid fighting about money because when partners fight about money, it's difficult for love to remain strong.

As long as you and your partner agree that your finances are equitable, the rules don't matter. Working collaboratively on financial matters should be a priority for you and your partner.

Admittedly, discussing money with a partner you intend to spend most of your life might be difficult, but it is essential. For instance, it's important to know whether your partner expects to be the only breadwinner while you remain at home to care for your family. Also, ask what item or expense he values and would be willing to spend money on.

27. Religion/Faith

religion Faith

Religious and spiritual traditions can influence the core values of some people. You see, people's attitudes on life and family are shaped in part by their religious and moral convictions.

Therefore, having the same religious viewpoint is often a prerequisite for compatibility between two people. 

Nonetheless, while religious compatibility is a deal-breaker for some people, it isn't for others because it isn’t part of their core values. They believe it's possible to still have a long-lasting relationship despite their differences in faith so long as their partners share many values in other areas. So, you should have this conversation to know where you stand with your partner.

28. Family

When you're in a committed relationship, starting a family may seem like the next obvious step. However, having children isn't in the cards for many people's plans because it isn’t one of their core values. It's therefore critical to prepare ahead of time for your future relationship, and not only in terms of children. 

You may also wish to talk about the possibility of living arrangements with elderly family members and the frequency of probable visits with family members who do not reside near you. For example, it's possible you value spending a lot of time with your family but this makes your partner uncomfortable.

29. Security

Typically, when we feel insecure, we are hyper-vigilant for any threats and desertion from our partners. So while it is our job to look after our emotions, it doesn't mean we can't receive assistance from a caring spouse, as this will go a long way to help us regain a sense of security. 

Being secure in a relationship implies that you feel comfortable enough with your partner to open up, love, and express yourself as you would be in the presence of your family. And if security forms part of your core values, you shouldn’t settle for someone who is sporadic.

30. Reassurance

Assuring someone that they are on the right track is called reassurance. This value can help set their mind at ease from worries about the relationship or personal insecurities. For instance, some simple gestures and words you can use to assure your partner include; "It's going to be alright," "We'll get through this," and "We'll get through this together."

It is normal to expect reassurance now and then from family, a lover, or other individuals; however, when you need it all the time, it could mean that you have unaddressed internal issues.

31. Gratitude

Gratitude and acknowledgment are critical components of every relationship, and their value cannot be over-emphasized. Unfortunately, many people in long-term relationships tend to let go of these core values and begin to take their partners for granted.

In a relationship, your partner is more likely to be willing to offer valuable assistance if their responsiveness and helpfulness are frequently acknowledged and appreciated. 

These sensations of competence in romantic relationships will boost a partner's confidence, strengthen the relationship, and encourage them to do more.

32. Partnership

When it comes to romantic partnerships, it's important to work together. Unfortunately, not everyone believes it to be true or possible. Such people do not believe in teamwork. For them, there needs to be a leader and a follower in relationships.

While I'm not here to debate equality in relationships, I strongly believe it's important for couples to work together. So even if you believe in hierarchy, remember that you and your partner should always have one voice and a common objective. 

33. Problem-solving

This core value might closely resemble conflict resolution, except for this time, it looks at external challenges that life throws at you like sickness, loss of job, financial crises, etc. 

You and your partner's approach to problems and life's numerous challenges can strongly influence your relationship. 

For instance, imagine your partner has a victim mentality, so they prefer to sit and sulk when faced with adversity. Whereas you, on the other hand, are more of a realist. You prefer to immediately work towards alternatives or find ways to continue living life despite your circumstances. 

In this situation, you might resent your partner for not actively and quickly contributing to an alternative solution, while they might resent you for being insensitive.

34. Companionship

Companionship is the key to long-term love. It reminds you of the importance of being there for each other, especially in quiet moments.

A good illustration of this would be a relationship in which one person prefers isolation while the other appreciates companionship. So as you get closer to them, the more they'll feel the urge to get away from you.

You may feel left out and unappreciated. There's no question that this can be sorted out, but it will take more work than it would for a couple who value companionship the same way you do.

Make the most of this core value to keep yourself and your lover from growing apart.

35. Culture

Our habits and inclinations are influenced by the society in which we live. Personal behaviors that are accepted in one culture may not be tolerated in another and could cause problems for couples in interracial partnerships.

This does not mean that people from different cultural backgrounds should not be together. On the contrary, my point is that if you must be in a relationship with someone from a different cultural background than yours, you must learn to understand the differences between cultural norms and personal quirks. This will help avoid misunderstandings and compatibility problems.

36. Career goals

career goals

It's normal to desire a partner that supports and perhaps shares your goals, dreams, and ambitions, as this can significantly impact your job. 

You're more likely to succeed in your work life if your partner supports your ambitions and encourages you to achieve your objectives. With the continual praise and adoration, you'll receive from your spouse; you'll be even more motivated by the challenge of breaking out of your comfort zone.

For instance, if you do a controversial job that your partner doesn't approve of, he'll be less likely to encourage or support you.

37. Interests/Hobbies

While it is completely possible to maintain a healthy relationship with a partner who doesn't share the same interests or hobbies as you, we can't also deny that it's a lot easier to be with a partner who does. 

For instance, if you love traveling and going on adventures in your free time, you are likely to want a partner that loves these activities too because being with the one that doesn't would mean you have to travel solo or go with friends, which you may not love as much as if you traveled with your lover.

When a partner shares the same interests or hobbies with you, it's easy to connect emotionally and spend time together.

38. Political beliefs

Generally speaking, politics can be a stressful conversation for people, especially when it happens in relationships with partners of differing opinions and beliefs.

A disagreement between you and your partner over political matters can strain your relationship. It could also cause you to worry about your compatibility with key values and ideas, making you feel less like a team and more like adversaries. 

This is why it's important you talk about your political views, and even if you don't agree with your partner's views, attempt to understand where they are coming from and try to see the good in their beliefs.

39. Love languages

According to Gary Chapman, the five common love languages are gifts, words of affection, quality time, physical touch, and quality time. In his book, Gary states that while it is possible to combine several love languages, we each have a favorite. As a result, we are more likely to appreciate a partner who speaks our favorite love languages than one who doesn't. 

Being in a relationship with someone who has a different love language from yours doesn't spell doom for your relationship, especially if you are both willing to work towards fulfilling each other's needs. However, the relationship will suffer when it seems impossible to be on the same page.

40. Expectations

We all have different expectations in life, and this is normal. However, there are two common types of people when it comes to relationships - the romantics and the pragmatists. These two personalities approach life differently. 

For instance, in contrast to the idealistic expectations of romantics, who believe their relationships may preserve the exquisite "high" of new love, pragmatists anticipate settling into a comfortable companionship that gains its strength through dedication and hard effort. 

Therefore, if you're a romantic dating a pragmatist, you might find it unsettling when your relationship settles into the comfortable companionship stage.

41. Past experiences

As humans, we are constantly evolving and with that evolution comes new experiences. However, there are times when our experiences or past traumas can become baggage and affect new relationships. 

For some people, one of their core relationship values is being with someone who has never been married or had children. They might consider a partner who has children to be burdensome and a deal breaker. This is why honesty is always important when discussing with a potential partner to avoid committing to someone who is unable to accept you wholly.


How do values affect relationships?

Shared core values keep you together during difficult times, and they will provide you delight during the high moments of your relationship. Although relationship values can be modified, they cannot be altered. They define who you are. Couples must have similar relationship values else, they would live in continual disappointment and animosity.

What are good values in a relationship?

Good values in a relationship differ from person to person. However, having core values like empathy, respect, authenticity, honest communication, flexibility, and openness can help preserve your relationship. These core values focus on being supportive and caring to yourself and your partner.

Can a relationship work with different values?

As much as having shared core values are important for a successful relationship, it is almost impossible to meet someone who shares the same values as you, not less and not more either. 

Therefore, the decision to go ahead with a relationship where you have different core values comes down to the number of different core values you're dealing with and ensuring that they are not areas where one or both persons have strong beliefs.

How do you show value in a relationship?

You show your core values by giving attention to those things that matter the most to you. For instance, if communication and companionship are core values to you, you can demonstrate this by ensuring you do not go a day without speaking to your partner and make it a habit to spend quality time together.

Why values are important in human relationships?

As humans, we are faced with countless decisions daily. However, what keeps us grounded and shapes us into the persons we want to be in the future are our important values. Furthermore, it's easy to understand a person and relate with them when you understand what matters most to them.

In Conclusion

Core values are critical to human connections and relationships. These core relationship values guide our behaviors and influence us to act. Therefore, having shared core values with your partner will make it easy to navigate challenges with a united front and attain your life goals.

I hope you enjoyed reading this list and have come to better understand the most important core values every relationship should have. If yes, don't forget to share, and if no, please feel free to leave other relationship values or important values you believe I may have missed.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

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