One of the ways I have helped couples and families to navigate their relationships is to describe a Plexiglas pyramid they can see to visualize how they can interact meaningfully with people in their lives. The pyramid is transparent, so we can see all of the interactions going on. It has levels that identify the importance of the people in our lives. It has a bright, shining Son above the pyramid that illuminates each of the relationships depicted in the pyramid.
So, the starting point in understanding your Plexiglas pyramid is the bright, shining Son above it. You are standing at the apex of the pyramid. Your spiritual connection to God, how you relate to the Son, generates the quality of the other relationships in your life. In the Bible, Matthew 22:39, Jesus identifies what I call “The Codependent’s Commandment,” which is to “love one another as you love yourself.” As you stand on the apex of the pyramid, you are loving yourself by embracing the axiom, “What would Jesus do?”
The next level down in the pyramid is the coupleness you share with your spouse. When you are in sync, sharing thoughts and feelings, respecting each other’s perspective and opinions, jointly problem-solving, then you have the most to offer each other and your children.
Your children occupy the third tier of your pyramid. As each of you make time to be with each and all of your children, active listening their needs and feelings, helping them learn life lessons, and embracing teachable moments, they will thrive.
Beyond the third tier are your relationships with extended family, friends and coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers, each tier expanding the base to form the pyramid.
Healthy families and relationships work the pyramid from the top down. As you are in sync with God, you have the most to offer your spouse. Similarly, as you and your spouse are in sync, you each have the most to offer your children. As your family is in sync, your extended family thrives, as do your coworkers, acquaintances, and strangers.
In contrast, as you are out of sync with God, all other relationships suffer. I like to share with folks that, when you feel distant from God, you know which one moved ;) Taking care of yourself, in mind, body, and spirit, gives you the most available energy to take care of others. Don’t take care of your own needs and feelings, and you can only engage in conditional loving of others. That is, I will do this for you, but you owe me. I won’t even tell you that you owe me. Just pay up. Take care of yourself and you can give unconditionally to others, what’s called agape love. I have this for you. Have a great day.
Being aware of your own Plexiglas Pyramid of Relationships give you opportunity for self-care, which can generate agape other-care, and provide ample teachable moments.