How To Speak Your Partner’s Language

I was working with a couple recently, and they were getting stuck on an issue that plagues a lot of us. One partner, let’s call her Lily, was much less interested in romance than her husband (let’s call him Rich). Rich wanted to go on dates with his wife, get out of the house, go out to dinner and do romantic things together. Lily was honestly not that interested in those things. She loved her husband, and she valued their relationship, but she couldn’t understand why those things were so important to him.

Whenever I see this kind of disconnect, I always examine the couple’s CVI — and pretty much every time I can see the root of the problem in those scores. This was no exception: Lily was an extremely high Banker, and Rich was a high Merchant. A Merchant’s highest value is Love, while a Banker’s is Knowledge. What’s more, Lily’s Merchant score was one of the lowest I’d ever seen — her personality just wasn’t wired to value the kind of relationship and community that Rich was wired to value. 

When talking about your CVI, it’s always important to note: There is no right or wrong answer here. Lily’s Core Values are just as important as Rich’s — but, because those values are different, they’ve got a disconnect in their relationship.

So how do we reconnect?

Like I said, there’s no right or wrong “CVI” — and the solution usually lies in finding value in both. We knew Lily was a high Banker; she values knowledge & excellence, and instinctively manages and maintains resources. So I asked her: Is an excellent relationship a resource work maintaining?

“Absolutely yes!” she replied. There wasn’t even a question. She deeply valued their relationship and wanted it to be the best it could be — to be excellent. 

“So couldn’t doing romantic things, like dates, help to make your relationship of a higher quality, especially if it’s valuable to Rich?” She thought about it for a moment, and then an expression of understanding spread across her face. She nodded happily. It made sense to her now; now, she could understand and enthusiastically pursue the romance that was so inherently important for Rich — because she now connected that romance with her Core Values. 

If you reach a point where it feels like your partner is just speaking a different language, always check in with your Core Values IndexOur Core Values are a deep, unchangeable part of who we are — so much so, that when a conversation is out of step with those values, it can seem nonsensical. Step back, check in with each of your values, and see if you can communicate in a way that honor’s your partner’s values — you’ll be surprised how much easier that conversation goes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *