I need someone with whom I can share my inner thoughts and struggles without fear of judgment or reprisal. My wife- and other family members- is disqualified from this position because she is living through the same struggles as me. I think that I need to be intentional about developing and maintaining mutually supportive and sustaining relationships in the following categories.
- A relationship with God. For me this one goes without saying. The very foundation of my life and priority system is based on the values that I receive from my spiritual life. The first thing I do each day needs to be to spend time with God.
- A relationship with my family/spouse. These are not the same, but somewhat similar. I need an intimate and strong support system. Family can provide specific checks and accountability that no one else can. Likewise, my family nourishes my emotional life like no one else.
- A relationship with friends. This is the most tricky. These friendships run the gamut of experience. I need friends to socialize with, friends to share my heart with and friends to challenge me professionally, spiritually and intellectually.
- A "pressure-valve" relationship. The one thing that is missing in my life is a relationship with someone that I can 'blow-off' to. I need someone who will not think less of me if I struggle or stumble. I need someone that I can complain to who will not judge me or be offended at me. I need someone that will listen with an open heart, and whom will not worry me.
This is a very personal list, but get this: Everyone needs these relationships. I do not believe that any of them are optional. Look around. Start your search for these people in your life. Let me know how you do. You can be sure that I will report to you.