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What I am about to share with you was one of the best things I learned leaving my college days behind and entering married life. You’ll probably see me mention this another 1,000+ times in my blog posts, but Mom had more wisdom to share with me when it came to relationships and God’s involvement in them. The below lesson comes from a book she studied called Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication, and Boundaries (Check it out on Amazon here).
This diagram is my simplistic interpretation of the levels of intimacy discussed in the book. We have several relationships in our lives, but sometimes those lines are blurred and cause confusion. What is important to note about your inner circle is inside circles can spread to outside circles, but outside circles cannot come into inside circles (confused yet?). Here are the basic levels of our “inner circle” from internal to external:
- God is your core– He is the only thing that is allowed in the deepest parts of our soul. God is our powerhouse and command center. No other circle members can interfere with your relationship.
- One deep relationship– This person is your spouse if you are married, or a “soulmate” (friend, parent, etc.) if you are unmarried. Your deepest human connection is made here. You will spend the majority of your time and energy on this person, as they will with you.
- God-given family– This will be your parents, children, and any other close relatives you have. You should support and love them unconditionally, but be careful not to let them define the boundaries of your marriage/one deep relationship. However, family should always come before other relationships.
- Other valuable relationships– These people include your best friends, coworkers, neighbors, and other people who are not on the “soulmate” level of emotional connection. It is critical that these relationships do not interfere with your growth in your other circles, as this level tends to have high turnover. However, it is expected you promote positive and meaningful connections with all those in this circle. Sometimes your conversations within this circle can have as big of an impact as in your other levels.