Taking care of the Inner Circle: an “Aha!” moment

I love “Aha!” moments.

Taking care of the inner circleYou know what I’m talking about; those sudden strokes of “genius” that fill us with excitement and make us giddy to share our moment of glory with others. I also love moments where introspection and self-awareness meet personal evolution. Where we have discovered something so satisfying and revelatory it changes the course of our lives. We sit back, momentarily stunned and just say, “Aha!”

I have spent the greater part of my adult life as a single woman. Like most people, I have my strengths and weaknesses in cooking, baking, finances, world events, home improvements, etc. and didn’t have the time, passion or energy to fully pursue all interests.  In fact, I have found very few people who were completely self-sufficient.

It wasn’t until I met my second husband that everything seemed to click and I learned what compatibility really meant.

When I moved in with Frank, we went through what every other couple does. After the “Honeymoon phase,” we learned each other’s peccadillos and after a time, we had an “Aha!” moment.

We took two independent people, two incomes and two households and merged them into one. Somewhere along the way, we had come to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and developed what I call our Inner and Outer Circles.

I am the Inner Circle. I have the freedom to explore my passion for taking care of hearth and home. I’m the first line of defense when bombarded by day-to-day distractions. I take on miscellaneous errands, research tasks, bookkeeping, and various housekeeping tasks.

Frank, as you may have already guessed, is our Outer Circle.  He is able to feed his passion for staying current with regional developments, economics, and world events.  He interprets how those things are pertinent to our lives so we can adapt and prepare for the future.  He is Mr. Fix It, always stating his terrifying mantra of “How hard can it be?” as he tackles household repairs on his – excuse me, our – own. With Frank’s vision and drive, he is responsible for directing us towards success and maintaining security for our home.

By accidentally discovering this Inner and Outer Circle approach, we have been able to focus on using our strengths in a complementary manner.

Have you had the opportunity to create your own Inner and Outer Circles?  What do you call the division of labor in your relationship(s)?

About RaeLea Hurt

When she’s not practicing her fake laughter in response to Frank’s jokes, RaeLea’s nose can often be found buried in a book. Not only is she a voracious reader, she is also capable of creating new content with peerless zeal.


  1. Sometimes it helps to define an aspect of a complex relationship in simple terms. This binary compartmentalized approach to categorizing strengths is interesting. It may never be perfect, but if it gets you 90% of what you need to keep things running smoothly, then it may suffice.

    I think I have this with my bride, if I start to think in the same inner/outer circle terms.

    • Thank you for your insightful comment, Robert!

      RaeLea and I are both self-quantification nerds (tracking various data points to detect trends among facets of our personal evolution), and I agree that this approach is imperfect. It does oversimplify complex dynamics, but we have found it helpful to break things down into such bite-size pieces for the purposes of discussion. This seems to make for a more harmonious relationship when certain roles are “defined”. I’m sure we are not the first couple to discover this, either.

      That’s what works for us, in any case!

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