I have a dream.
Do you have a dream?
What’s your dream?
Is it to live at the beach? Or maybe have a larger family?
Or maybe you have a dream to have the perfect marriage? (I hate to burst your bubble, but the only perfect marriage out there is the one that will happen when Christ returns and the Church is united with Him forever.)
My dream is to have a stronger marriage.
Over the past couple of years, I have begun to see my dream come to pass. I have watched my marriage grow stronger as I have learned more about the importance of having shared values with my spouse.
I’m sure that I learned about shared values years ago in my marriage and family counseling classes, but it has become relevant to me now.
A Share Value is…
A value is a belief that you have come to hold as true for life. It is an idea that sometimes has been tested by the fire of adversity and you have decided it is necessary to live according to it.
A shared value is a belief that you and another person or group agree is necessary for life. Most societies are built on shared values. The United States of America was founded by people who agreed that they needed to leave England to find a new way of life where they could worship God differently. Most churches are started by people who share values for the style of worship and the doctrine taught.
Families share values. Values are passed from one generation to the next in families. Some families share religious values. Some families share values about recreation, education or political affiliation.
Why Shared Values Are Important
Shared values unite. Shared values unite when they result in a common goal. Couples need a common goal or purpose. Families work together toward shared dream that comes from shared values.
Shared values often create opportunities for shared interests. One of the things our family does is Operation Christmas Child. Our family has a shared value of telling others about Jesus, and Operation Christmas Child gives us this opportunity by packing a shoebox full of toys, school supplies and other items to send to a needy child in another country. We enjoy watching for good deals on items to go in the box, and then we pack our box and pray for the child who receives it. Each year we have seen our desire to pack more boxes grow.
Shared values promote peace. Most conflict in marriage, families, churches and even society occur when values are not shared. Couples and families who seek to cultivate shared values often find there is more peace in their relationships.
How to Discover Your Shared Values
1. Pray. Ask God to help you identify values that are important to you regarding your marriage or family. Ask Him to show you what values He has given your family that strengthen it. Ask Him to unite your marriage through the discovery of these shared values.
2. Make a list (or check out this one) of values you find worthwhile for your family.
3. Ask your spouse to make a list of values he/she finds worthwhile for your family.
4. Compare your list with the list your spouse made. Talk with your spouse about the similarities (or shared values).
5. Identify the 4-5 shared values that are non-negotiables for your family. These are your family’s core values. These shared core values will guide you as you make decisions regarding priorities, etc for your family.
Earlier I mentioned that discovering our shared values has strengthened our marriage. It’s so true. We desire to work together as a team. When we work togeher we accomplish so much more and our love for one another grows deeper!
God desires for our marriages and families to be united, just like He desires for the Church to be united. God wants us to share values of grace, forgiveness, honesty, purity, love, and many more. When we share God’s values we are uniting under Christ, and reflect Him to the world.
How will knowing your family’s shared values strengthen your marriage?
Share your thoughts – leave a comment below!
photo: Freeimages.com/Esther Groen