The loooooooove connection...

Okay, yes, you should read that title in your cheesiest announcer voice. But I do get genuinely, sincerely enthused when I get to work with couples and partners who want to identify and celebrate their common values using the Connected Couple package. These are the values that each member of the partnership holds most dear, AND that can be a source of strength and security and joy and pleasure in the relationship.

I stumbled on this particular exercise with my own partner by sheer luck. When you're learning to administer character surveys or values assessment activities, you practice on your closest and most available victims -- in my case, my partner. One of the assessments uses 100 characteristics like "perseverance," "knowledge," "passion," "spirituality," and "creativity." The facilitator asks the "client" to sort the 100 words into 5 categories, ranging from "not at all important to me" to "extremely important to me."

I practiced the test as a client, and then a couple of weeks later, facilitated it with my partner as the client. When he was finished, we were looking through his results, and it struck me that several of his "extremely important" characteristics matched my own "extremely importants." We pulled out my results and compared them to his, talking about the values we shared, the ways in which we differed, and how our behaviors as individuals or as a couple reflected those values.

We ended up talking for a long time. At times, we were just enjoying ourselves, celebrating how well-matched we are, taking pleasure in our togetherness. But we also saw some places where we both identified a value, but we had, over the years, stopped sharing that value in active ways with each other. When both partners value creativity, for instance, they may each act out that value in different, separate ways. I write; you paint. I dance; you knit. When a couple shares a value, even when they act out that value separately, it's an opportunity for connection between them. If we both value creativity, we have the opportunity to value each other's creative endeavors. It may even be an opportunity to find a new endeavor together.

The Connected Couple package is a chance for partners to connect, to discover or be reminded of those deep values that bind them together. Let me know if I can help you be amazing together! Shared values can bring us joy and be a source of celebration. and they can provide tools to meet our challenges and inspiration for our relationship going forward.