Family Values: the Core of Marriage

Family values are at the core of every marriage and every family. They are passed down through generations and give us the foundation for making choices in life.

There has been much talk in recent years that the rise in crime, violence against women and children, drug use and just about every other societal negative is the result of weakening these values.

Politicians on the campaign trail state that they stand for family values. Later, many of these same individuals have conducted themselves in ways that make it questionable what values they truly stand for.

Which raises the question, what are family values and how does one consciously incorporate them into one's marriage?

In researching this topic, I only found one site that was brave enough to commit these values to a list. The website was buzzle.com; the list of family values was created by Rujuta Borkar. Here is their list:

  • Love and respect
  • Communication
  • Understanding/sensitivity/empathy
  • Sharing
  • Tolerance
  • Honesty
  • Hard work
  • Forgiveness
  • Flexibility/Adjustment

While these are an excellent selection of values, they may not represent the best blend of values for your family. For example, there is no mention of either education or religion/spirituality; both of these would be important to many families.

The truth is that there is no one best list for every family. You and your spouse need to sit down and consciously select the values you believe should be at the core of your marriage and in the lives of your children and grandchildren.

As a starting point for creating your list of your core values are the 56 Character Qualities assembled by Susanne Alexander in her book, Pure Gold, Encouraging Character Qualities in Marriage. These are:

AcceptanceCreativityGenerosityMercySpirituality
AssertivenessDetachmentGentlenessModerationStrength
BeautyDiscernmentHelpfulnessPatienceTactfulness
CaringEducationHonestyPeacefulnessThankfulness
ChastityEncouragementHumilityPerseveranceThoughtfulness
CommitmentEnthusiasmIdealismPurityTrustworthiness
CompassionEqualityIntegrityPurposefulnessTruthfulness
ConfidenceExcellenceJoyfulnessRespectUnity
ContentmentFaithfulnessJusticeResponsibilityWisdom
CooperationFlexibilityKindnessSelf-discipline
CourageForgivenessLoveService
CourtesyFriendlinessLoyaltySincerity

You may have noticed that I added a 57th item to the above list, education. You may well come up with others.

Select five to ten values that you believe are most important in guiding your actions. If you have children, do this as a family. Make a list of these values and put them someplace visible to you - perhaps on the refrigerator or the door of your family coat closet.

When you face difficult decisions, grab your list of values and consider this list along with the options facing you. Often there is one course of action that most closely aligns itself with the values you've chosen to guide your lives.

Consciously listing your values and agreeing to use these as the guideposts for your marriage and family will strengthen your relationship by helping put both of you on the same page.

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