By Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario
The framework of a healthy marriage involves sharing the same set of morals and values. While it may difficult to see in this day and age with so many people so far removed from a moral compass, the reality is that humans live by their values. And, if you want to stay on the same road in your relationship for the journey through life, you both must have the same values or soon realize you’re going in different directions.
After being lost and separated, you’ll end up at different locations and perhaps decide that you are okay without the other person. That location then becomes an extra-marital affair or maybe divorce.
It’s challenging to separate morals and values because they work together—you can’t take one without the other. However, there are some differences to note:
- Values are more fundamental than morals because they shape the very possibilities for your final destination. The things that you value help propel you into your purpose. They are going to determine your velocity and your trajectory. While it’s impossible to understand everybody 100%, if you know someone’s values, you can more or less predict their actions.
- Morals are the compass for your relationship. It doesn’t matter what plans you have. The morals are the compass that let you know, “Okay, you are veering too far, too left. Get back on the main road. Slow down; at the next intersection, take a left.”
When values are opposed, a relationship suffers. For example, let’s say you marry a person who does not value education but values education. You want to be a lifelong learner, but your partner does not. On the surface, you might be okay with that. But let’s think more deeply about the long-term ramifications.
In the twenty-first century, education is a must. That might mean the sky will be the limit for you, but not your partner. Wife, is your husband going to be okay with you making more? Is he going to be okay with you out-positioning him? It might make you devalue or disrespect him because he’s not a top earner and cannot compete with you in that area. While this is not an end-all example, it does highlight why values need to be similar between you and your partner.
Then, there are your morals. For example, say your moral code is that you do not drink, smoke, or have sex outside of marriage, but you marry someone who does not share this same code. You may consider breaking your morals to suit your partner, but this is something that will build resentment over time.
Although both of you have lived with your moral code, you think you can flip a switch now that you’re married. You want to make your partner realign themselves with your morals because you’ve decided that these are going to be the morals that govern your relationship.
It’s not going to happen.
Your compass has to show the same direction as your partner’s. If his moral compass is taking him this way, and your moral compass is taking you another way, then you’re not going to get to that destination together.