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Value-Centered Relationships


By Dr. Brenda Shoshanna March 2007


We are all basically treasure hunters, searching for the secret to happiness in relationships. Usually, we believe the treasure is buried outside ourselves, perhaps in the perfect person, or in skills, techniques or tools we acquire. Due to our constant searching, we often do not see what is right in front of our eyes. We are not in touch with who our partner is right now, what they really want from us or how to respond.

Value-Centered Relationships turns all this around. It focuses upon simple, eternal truths that become the pillar of our relationships. Value-Centered Relationships by passes the illusions that grip us and cause our relationships to become a source of disappointment rather than delight. Like vitamins and minerals, these basic truths have the power to nourish our lives and make all things fulfilled. Some basic principles follow:

Stop Struggling To Get

Rather than struggle to “get what we want” from our partners, and then “get more of it”, we see what we can give. The question here is, what does my partner want and need of me? Can I give it to him/her? Why not? Rather than wait to be given to, we open our hands and fulfill their need.

When our thoughts are primarily absorbed with what we are needing, and what others are thinking of us, we live in a prison without bars. Any real or imagined insult can become the cause of great pain, causing us to withdraw. Any perceived failure invites underlying feelings of worthlessness to emerge, producing additional depression, hostility and stress.


Let Go of Resentment

Rather than dwell upon all the wrongs that have taken place, hold grudges and withhold, we learn to let go. The question before us always is: What am I focusing on this moment? Where is my attention, right now? Is it upon what I lack, or the pains and wrongs others have done me, or is my attention upon what I have received? Can I choose to let go of anger and disappointment and work towards understanding?


Let The Past Be The Past

So many of us live in the past, remembering how things used to be, or repeating old scenarios. This keeps us out of touch with the ever expanding, amazing present, where everything is fresh and possible. The question to ask here is, where am I at this moment? What is happening right now? How I am called to respond?

Reality continually renews and confronts us with new tasks, relationships, challenges, and opportunities, day after day. Are we in touch with this ever-flowing reality?

By taking our attention off our toxic inner dialogue, and focusing upon what is before us, right now, we directly interfere with the habitual patterns that are the very cause of our disappointments and suffering.


Put Your Focus Upon Daily Actions

In Value-Centered Relationships, we begin by putting our focus upon simple daily actions and do them whole-heartedly. We ask ourselves, what is needed in the relationship? What can I do to make it better? When I need something I am not receiving from my partner, can I give it to myself?


Don’t Give Passing Emotions Center Stage

Passing emotions do not take center stage. When our actions are guided by temporary reactions, our relationships fluctuate all over the place. When we are driven by self-centered concerns, we never find the fulfillment we crave. When we understand the larger purpose of our relationship, things become simple and clear.

As we learn to value each action (no matter how small or large) and to do it whole-heartedly with complete attention, things simplify. We do not dwell upon the outcome. Our joy and satisfaction comes from doing each action with a whole heart and mind. Results and consequences take care of themselves. When we are not absorbed by concern for outcomes, how much anxiety can we ever have?


Discover the surprising truths about love that will save your relationships, in Dr. Shoshanna’s new e-book Save Your Relationship (21 Basic Laws of Successful Relationships).

Dr. Shoshanna is a psychologist, relationships expert on, speaker, and author of many books, including The Anger Diet, (30 Days To Stress Free Living), Zen And The Art of Falling In Love, (Simon and Schuster), Why Men Leave (Putnam), and many others.  You can contact her, or visit her personal website.


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