As we go through life, developing, learning, and experiencing things, we form our own values—those things we consider to be useful, important, and worthwhile.
When we share those values with others, whether in a family, marriage, church, or at work, there is usually harmony. When values shift or change, there will usually be conflict. Many times when people are in conflict they don't recognize that much of it boils down to simply having different values.
In the home a teen's values may differ from that of her parents. She is forming her own values system and it is being influenced by very different sources than her parents.
Two young people thinking of marriage may each have different values as a result of different backgrounds, education, experiences, or traditions. Having very different values could make their marriage difficult.
As married couples go through life together they can change their values and perspectives from when they were first married. Changes in health, wealth, family—just about anything—can result in changed values. Differences and conflict may arise as a result.
Identifying our values and their priority in our lives can lead to greater understanding and harmony in the home, marriage, church, and workplace. The following Values Inventory has been written to assist in gaining that understanding between people. (If you would like to do this exercise with your spouse or family make copies before beginning the exercise).
Look at the list of values in the following chart and rate them in order of personal importance to you at this point in your life (1=Most Important; 10=Least Important).
- Achievements & Success
- Faith, Morals & Ethics
- Family Traditions & Values
- Financial Security & Self-Sufficiency
- Generosity & Social Justice
- Hobbies & Sports
- Loyalty & Openness
- Marriage & Sexual Fulfilment
- Physical & Emotional Health
- Recognition & Social Acceptance
After you've completed the exercise look over your list and answer the following questions:
- Which values have become more important over the past five years?
- Which have become less important? What has caused that?
- What is it about your
Top Threevalues that define who you are?
Are there conflicts in your life that could be resulting from differences in personal values? What are some ways you can resolve these conflicts while still accepting others' individual differences?
Find a safe place to put this list and come back to it in one year. Do you expect your values to stay relatively similar? What changes would you expect? Are there any values you wish were higher on your list?