Circles: A Marriage Picture

If you know my dad, you would know that he is definitely not drawn to the spotlight nor the stage nor any kind of public speaking platform.  But if you know my dad, you also know that when he does speak, it is a time to really listen. 

This past summer, one of my sisters and her fiancĂ© got married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony, and they had asked my dad to officiate the ceremony.  It was the first wedding my dad had ever officiated.  He spoke clearly and directly about this concept of circles.  I hope today to capture what he spoke and share it with you. 

He shared the story of our family.  That thirty-five years ago, he and my mom had joined hands, saying their vows, getting married, and beginning their circle.  He spoke of adding me, their first baby, to their circle a few years later.  He went on to depict adding each of my siblings to their circle.  My parents’ circle: my mom, my dad, my siblings, and me.  Connected.  Holding hands with each other and creating our family circle.

Then he went on to share that a few years later, our family circle opened broader to include my first brother-in-law when he and my sister got married.  That it opened even broader when I married my husband.  He shared about their circle becoming even larger as my sister and I each started having babies.  He spoke to my other sister, the bride, that as she married this husband of hers, this circle was opening to him, too. 

He went on to describe what it meant for us to be in our parents’ circle.  It meant that their door was open to us.  While I can’t remember the exact words he used, the feeling he expressed was an access to my parents, the feeling of being able to walk into their home and eat out of their fridge or to be able to call on them when we need them.  That we are in their circle. 


Then he went on to explain that as my sister and her fiancĂ© were beginning their family that day, saying their vows, they were starting their own circle.  He described them joining hands in their own circle.  He depicted well that as they started their own circle, he and my mom did not have a place in that circle.  That my sister and her husband would always be in the circle that is my parents’ circle, but that he and my mom would not be in my sister and her husband’s own circle.  He explained that while my sister and her husband would continue to have access to my parents, as a part of my parents’ inner circle, my parents respected that they, the parents, did not have that same access to my sister and her husband.  My dad beautifully expressed that he and my mom are not in the inner circle that is my sister and her husband’s marriage and family. 

I loved how my dad described these circles.  There is so much clarity about roles and rights (or lack there of) when family and marriage is explained in circles.  Often, I see “circle confusion” within families, creating relational and emotional chaos, difficulty, and struggle within marriages and families.  Please take time today to reflect on your own familial relationships.  It takes work to guard the circle that is your smaller family.  It takes intentionality to healthily separate from your parents to create your own family circle.  Yet, even the Scripture communicates this idea, depicting the design that a man will leave his parents and hold tight to his wife: creating their own separate circle.  It’s the idea of leaving your parents as the authority of your primary circle and becoming the authority of your own new circle in marriage.

Have you respected these circles in your own marriage, creating your own new circle separate from your parents?  Have your parents and parents-in-law respected these circles? 

If your answer is “no” to either of these questions, how will you intentionally create and guard your own circle?  How will you communicate these concepts of marriage and family to those who don’t respect the circles?

If your answer is “yes” to either of these questions, how have you created and guarded these circles?  How have your parents and parents-in-law respected these circles?

The beginning of Val's and my circle.  A circle we have worked to value and guard.  

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