However, shared values are too abstract a concept to determine how compatible you and your partner are with each other. You may have the same hobbies, listen to similar music, and dream about the same things, but suddenly find that you strongly disagree about politics or religion. Let us tell you what to do if, somewhere between the first date and a full relationship, you discover that you and your boyfriend have different values in life.
Understand what role your beliefs play for you
Religious, political and other views are very personal, and it’s up to you to decide what role they play in your life.
For some people, politics, and social activism, is an important part of their existence that is not confined to mere tabletop debates. They cannot separate themselves from their beliefs, so they need to have a partner who shares this position.
If politics is of paramount importance to you and a disagreement with your partner gets on your nerves or causes you to lose respect for them, it’s a bad sign for the relationship.
However, for most people, politics is just a small talk topic, so the debate over who deserves to be the next president will liven things up and not damage the relationship in any way.
Exchange views and set boundaries
If you’re comfortable with different political or religious views because your values are otherwise the same, it’s still worth talking about it. Talk about how each of you views the world, how you’ve formed it and what has influenced you. This will help you get to know each other better and understand why your partner thinks the way you do.
What you should definitely not try to do is change their minds and force them to accept your point of view. At best, you won’t understand each other; at worst, it will lead to conflict. Identify topics that are non-negotiable for you and agree not to touch them from now on.
Give each other the opportunity to disagree
During the discussion, it is important that each of you give the other the opportunity to disagree without arrogance, scepticism or other toxic emotions. Seeing things differently isn’t a bad thing – it allows you to expand your horizons. The main thing is to keep the conversation from escalating into conflict and be caring and respectful.
A psychologist recommends maintaining an element of physical contact during discussions, such as holding hands or sitting close to each other. Also, if the conversation gets too emotional, it is worth cutting it short and continuing at another time.
Decide on the things you are willing to compromise on
Relationships are a mutual search for ways to adjust to your partner without losing yourself. When you realize that the guy’s beliefs don’t match yours, try to figure out if there are things you’re willing to put up with without even sharing them.
For example, maybe you’re irreligious, but you could easily celebrate Christmas or Easter with your partner’s family because it’s important to him. But at the same time, going to church with him or agreeing to get married is too much for you. The important thing is that he knows your views and doesn’t force you to change them.
Discuss what beliefs you would like to instil in your children
One of the biggest concerns for those who decide to start a family with someone of other beliefs or religious views is how it will affect the children they may have. Some consider baptism as an infant mandatory; others prefer to let the child decide for themselves what to believe.
It is important that you come to a compromise, ideally before becoming parents. So it’s never too early to discuss the issue of children – your partner is unlikely to change, and you should be clear about this when you decide to commit to him.
People with divergent views can create a healthy relationship if their values on matters of principle are the same. Mutual respect and listening are often more important than common interests.