My Marriage is Failing. Can the Core Values Index Help?

Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, eRep, Inc.
Monday, August 7, 2023
My Marriage is Failing. Can the Core Values Index Help?

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It started great but sometimes a relationship can get into a bad place that seems inescapable. The turmoil doesn't seem to stop and common ground is elusive. Can the Core Values Index™ psychometric assessment help?

We've written before about how the CVI can help relationships.1 We've covered the topic of communications and the way the CVI reveals the lens through which you see the world and how you prefer to interact within it.2

Can the CVI help heal a relationship that's already in dire straits?


Before we go any further, if you are in an abusive situation where your safety is at risk, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at or via phone at (800) 799-SAFE (7233).

If things aren't quite so dire, there is a growing number of mental health and relationship professionals who are adding the Core Values Index to their suite of therapies and evaluation tools. One resource we've interviewed3 is Core Values Counseling in Hillsboro, Oregon.4

How Did We Get Here?

Does this sound familiar? Your relationship started off with great promise. Everything between you seemed to be in perfect sync. You enjoyed the same things and preferred to spend time together more than doing anything else.

Things got serious and you advanced through each "next step" in your relationship. Perhaps you took it all the way and made it legal — you got married.

Jump ahead to today. Perhaps it's been a few years, maybe even a decade or two, and you look back at the couple you were when things started out and they don't even seem recognizable. The person you are today, and how you see your partner, seem miles apart from where you were when you first met.

Although the life path and experiences you've gone through to get where you are today will be unique to every couple, there are some fundamentals that are likely present in every struggling long-term relationship.

To look at it another way...

There are fundamentals that every relationship needs to not only survive but thrive, whether it is healthy or on the rocks, be it brand new or well established.


There are two questions every person in a long-term relationship should be able to answer.

  1. Do you know how you are emotionally hardwired? Through what lens do you see the world and prefer to operate within it?
  2. Do you know how your partner is hardwired? Through what lens do they see the world and prefer to operate within it?

Without these two positions of understanding, both of you are wandering in the dark, guessing your way through a seemingly random track of trial and error trying to find common ground.

The two of you likely found some common ground at the start or you probably wouldn't have continued on with your relationship. But once you've been in each other's lives for a period of time and gotten past that infatuation phase, your true colors start to shine through. Differences between your psychometric hardwiring start to show up.

Emotional Hardwiring

How does your emotional hardwiring impact your relationships?

Your psychometric profile shapes your default preferences and emotional responses.

Your psychometric profile — what we often refer to as your personality's DNA — shapes your default preferences and emotional responses. It represents the kind of things that make you happy and the way you like to experience life. It even determines how you respond to conflict.

The same is true of your partner.

Some of us are social creatures. We prefer to engage in activities in groups rather than alone. Others feel a need to get things done, to lead from the front and build metaphorical — and sometimes literal — monuments around us.

About a quarter of us find our joy by solving problems, while another quarter like to gather information and knowledge and share it with others we feel justly deserve to receive it.

These are broad simplifications of four general personality types, what we call core values, but most of us have a combination of these traits in different ratios.

It is the combination of core values that represents your Core Values psychometric profile.

It is your specific CVI profile, and the CVI profile of your partner, that determines the similarity and differences in how the two of you see the world and prefer to operate within it.

Similarities and Differences

You are a collection of your hardwired psychometric profile as well as your life experiences. It is this combination that makes you truly unique. The same goes for your partner.

Your partner's life experiences may have a lot of overlap with your own; perhaps you grew up together or shared similar life paths.

"We have so much in common," is a well-known phrase uttered by two people falling in love at the beginning of their relationship, especially if their life experiences are very similar.

If the two of you share very similar psychometric profiles, it's likely obvious. You can both take the CVI and compare your scores and say, "That makes perfect sense!"

You both might share similar primary and secondary core values. When you meet someone who shares your CVI profile "shape" (similar primary and secondary core values), things will seem to click. You seem predisposed to getting along even before you've really gotten to know each other.

If you've ever met someone who was like oil to your water, you likely had very different CVI profiles.

It is our nature to connect with others who innately see the world through the same lens. We prefer the same type of activities because those activities reflect our emotional hardwiring. This isn't about sharing political or religious views, but preferences at a more fundamental level.

Creativity, social interaction, leading vs. following — these are the kind of innate preferences the CVI reveals about us. When you have these characteristics in common with someone, you will instinctively connect more easily than with someone who's characteristics differ from your own.

In a long-term relationship, differences between your CVI profiles can be masked at first. For various reasons, you will unconsciously suppress those little intuitive clues that something doesn't jive. The relationship advances anyway, and eventually you find yourself asking, "How did we get here when we seem to have such different perspectives?"

Opposites Attract, Or Do They?

There are far too many variables and factors that can describe how we get into relationships that don't seem to work to be able to cover them all in one article (or a thousand). But what we can do is give you some basic tools and information to provide insight about how each other ticks.

The first step is learning the details of your individual psychometric profiles. What is the overlap between your CVI profiles and where do you differ?

Your CVI quadrant graphs might be completely opposite shapes and ratios, or there might be some similarity.

Second, learn the general aspects of how each core value sees the world. There are four core value energies within each of us.5 Understanding the particular ratio of those core value energies within you — and within your partner — is crucial.

It may sound like a gross oversimplification, even glib, to say, "Understand yourself, then understand your partner", but it is amazing how focusing on this fundamental concept can improve your relationship.

To think of it another way, imagine how difficult it would be to find long-term compatibility with someone without knowing where you're at and where they're coming from — and why.

Once you establish these two points of reference, you can work toward a greater position of understanding and even adjustment in your expectations and actions. The CVI is the first place to start.

It is not a requirement that you and another person must have identical or even similar CVI psychometric profiles to get along in a long-term relationship. It helps, but only because that's less ground you need to cover to find commonality. If your profiles are different, you can still have a healthy relationship, but it really helps if you understand each other's perspective — each other's CVI profile — to make it happen.


1. Relationship Advice from a Psychometric Assessment?


3. Q&A About Relationships and the Core Values Index

4. Core Values Counseling

5. CVI Builders: The Value of Leadership and Action

CVI Merchants: The Value of Community and Connection

CVI Innovators: The Value of Wisdom and Compassion

CVI Bankers: The Value of Knowledge and Justice

Core Values Index™ and CVI™ are trademarks of Taylor Protocols, Inc.

Go to to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.

Employees hired with a CVI that closely matches a Top Performer Profile often outperform candidates hired without a TPP match by 200% or more. → Learn more

Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content Creation, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.

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