Through her passion for writing and coaching, Rachael shares her experience and support in the journey of loving an addict.
My husband and I really are quite different people as far as hobbies and passions go and we only have a few that we share - our family, our pets and a few loved TV shows.
Otherwise it might seem that we're pretty incompatible.
My husband is a huge sports fan and will happily absorb hours of sports TV.
I am so completely hopeless at most sports, except running, and watching sport is pretty low on my list of excitement inducing activities.
When my husband needs to destress he loves time on his own on the beach throwing in a fishing line, or a day on the golf course with a few good friends.
I can’t stand fishing and although I try my hardest with golf, I'm definitely not a natural. I'm more likely to be gardening, knitting or reading when I have time to myself.
My husband has a thing about targets, statistics, score cards and numbers.
I’m all about language, emotions. spirituality and mind/body work.
My husband is incredibly laid back, socially active, and often springs things on me at the last minute.
I'm a planner, I like to be organized and I’m naturally more of an introvert.
The interesting thing is, our differences don’t separate us at all.
Regardless of how we spend our spare time, we have an incredibly strong relationship.
Shared Values Trump Shared Interests
There are three reasons why our relationship works so well, despite our seeming incompatibilities.
The first reason is that we prioritise time together, doing what we do both enjoy, such as spending time as a family, sitting down to talk or watch the shows we both love or working together on our little ¼ acre edible garden.
The second is that we each respect how different the other is and rather than feel like we need to find more in common, we love the fact that we both have varied interests, and allow each other the space to be who we are, with the comfort of always coming back together to enjoy our relationship.
But the main reason why we work so well, despite being quite different people, is because there is a deeper level of shared values that keep us solid and incredibly compatible.
Having at least a few shared interests is important. You want a partner you can experience life with and create memories with but, as well as other important elements of a good relationship including communication, intimacy, respect and love, shared values will strengthen the foundation of your relationship immensely.
What are values, and why should you share them?
Values are those ‘rules of life’ that are inherently important to you. They're personal beliefs that are a fundamental part of who you are and they tend to be consistent throughout your life, unless something major happens that causes you to change them. Chances are that you’ve probably had a similar set of personal values since you were a child.
Your values play a part in many places in your life including the choices you make, how you react or respond to situations, who you spend time with, the boundaries you set, and so much more.
When your values are being honoured, you feel good. When you or someone else is pushing up against your values, you'll feel a certain level of discomfort, if not outright pain.
Values are a key part of you that are so important to match with your chosen partner because when our values aren’t aligned with the people we share our life with it can cause all sorts of problems. A lack of shared values will often be the underlying basis of those really meaty arguments you have, or those ongoing frustrations that come up every now and then, and can ultimately cause a total break down in your relationship.
The good news is that you and your partner don’t have to have exactly the same values, but if there are more that you match up with, compared to those you don’t, you have a much better chance of having a good, healthy partnership.
Discovering Your Values
By discovering what your core values are you arm yourself with knowledge about what makes you tick, what makes you approach your relationship in the way you do.
There is an amazing resource from coach Tim Brownson which will guide you through the process of uncovering your personal values.
Check out his book Aligning With Your Core Values and take the time to sit down with your partner and each discuss what you discover about your personal values.
But don't panic if you find that you have a few differences.
Even if you find out that there are a few mismatches, you can improve your relationship simply by knowing that a lack of alignment in your values is present. By understanding that your partner is coming to you from the perspective of a different personal value, it can explain a lot about how they respond or react to certain situations and make it easier to resolve differences.
When you can understand that your partner isn't purposefully trying to go against you, but instead might simply be operating from a deep seated belief, it can allow you to remain open to their point of view and invite discussion and an attempt to understand each other.
More than just agreeing on the same TV shows or ways to spend your Sunday morning, it's this awareness that will create a strong, long lasting and full relationship.