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Here at Core Values Counseling, the Core Values Index™ (CVI™) is absolutely critical to the work we do with couples, especially for those struggling with perpetual conflict. In some of our recent posts, I’ve talked about discovering the gifts of your highest core value, how to understand your conflict style in the context of the Core Values Index™, and how to manage the core values of others (and yourself) and transform what could be negative conflict experiences into positive ones. 


Today, I’d like to emphasize the importance of being able to name and fully understand your partner’s highest core values.


Eric and I recently collaborated on an article with eRep, and this little nugget perfectly summarizes why knowledge of your core values is so important: “The CVI describes the individual, and it is the shared knowledge a couple experiences when they take the CVI together that makes this form of couples therapy so effective. It helps them not only understand what truly makes each other happy, but from a constructive standpoint, it describes how they respond to conflict.”


We use the CVI™ with all our clients, and we spend a considerable amount of time unpacking the CVI™ with the couples we counsel because the results are so valuable and transformative.


It’s so important that we understand our spouse and how they’re wired. I love sitting down with a couple and mapping the CVI™ out for them, explaining how each of them is wired, reminding them of who they fell in love with at the beginning, and encouraging them to celebrate who they are. Part of using the CVI™ is learning that we shouldn’t — and really can’t — try to change our partner at their core because that’s who you fell in love with. 


It’s really exciting work, and it lights me up every time I get to walk a couple through it.


One thing we love about the CVI™ is that it’s 97.7% repeatable over 10 years. Your results really do not change in the long term. I like to say that the CVI™ helps to reveal the DNA of your soul — the unchanging core of who you are.


Consequently, as therapists, we use the CVI™ to help us better know our clients and get a deeper understanding of the lens through which you view life. 


Digging into your CVI™ as a couple helps you to understand your partner — and why they do the things they do — including conflict strategies and how to work through things. It’s all about understanding your partner at a deeper level. The Gottmans talk about this all the time. They approach this work of deeper knowing via Love Maps and asking lots of questions of one another to help understand each of your emotional worlds.


In addition to the Gottmans’ approach with Love Maps, we’re big fans of Dr. Sue Johnson’s use of emotionally focused therapy (EFT). In her book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, she explains that there are three questions we all subconsciously ask of our partner:

  • Are you there for me?
  • Will you come when I call?
  • Do I matter to you?


We all ask ourselves these questions subconsciously when we’re talking and interacting with our spouse. 


Counseling through the lens of the CVI™ really helps illuminate the answers you and your partner are looking for to those three questions. During therapy, those questions will come up, and thanks to the CVI™, you’ll be able to really understand your spouse. You’ll also learn how to show them that the answer to all three of those questions is a resounding YES. 


Your partner may not even know for themselves how they look at life or understand the lens through which they view the world. 


If your partner is a high Banker, for instance, it could be that they need to be reassured that you care for them by maybe saving some extra money. They’ll want you to make sure that you’re saving together and averting disaster by having reserves. Whether the things being stored up are emotional things or physical things (like money), saving them helps the Banker to know, “you care about me. You know I need this thing.” That is a huge comfort to the Banker, and it helps them to relax in big ways and small ways.

Using the CVI™ helps us to show couples how they can express the answers to Dr. Johnson’s three questions in a way that their spouse will truly hear and internalize. It helps you to think things through and remember that we all want love; we all want to be respected for what we know and how we act. How we feel loved and how we feel respected are determined by how we’re wired, and the CVI™ provides the perfect roadmap.


If you’re interested in understanding your partner at a deeper level, start by learning how to name and understand their highest core values. Eric Walters is our go-to coach when it comes to the CVI™. He works with families, couples, and corporations to help them understand their core values and manage their conflict strategies in a healthy, productive way. Get in touch today to get started!


Additionally, our new digital course on Unpacking the Core Values Index™ is live on our website! It’s designed to help you learn one another’s core values, understand the inherent gifts of them, and use healthier conflict strategies. Click here to register today. We can’t wait for you to experience it!