January 5, 2011

A Message from Dr. Bean - New Years Commitments.

As we venture into 2011, many probably have already noted their ‘New Year resolutions’. However, for the sake of this article, I will like to approach this from the perspective of ‘New Year Commitments’. This time of year is a perfect time to connect, reconnect or solidify bonds within your relationship. We often hear the saying that opposites attract. Although there some truth to this, the reality is that we must have things that we share in common in order to maintain a healthy and connected relationship. The activities below not support healthy relationships; but also have personal mental, physical and emotional benefits as well:

1) Working out together: benefits can range from walking and using that time to talk or just setting mutual health goals and supporting one another. Exercise has also been proven to increase libido/sexual stamina, decrease stress, and increase overall energy – all of which are of great benefit to a relationship.

2) Engaging in a new activity together: this can range from taking a foreign language course, a cooking class, ballroom dancing (or salsa dancing is even sexier). Benefits for a relationship again are the increase in intimacy, bonding that takes place with engaging in a new task together, and the opportunity to support one another in learning something new.

3) Setting new traditions/rituals for the New Year: this may range from establishing your own traditions as a family/couple or modifying current traditions to fit your relationship needs. Often times, we carry on traditions passed on to us by our parents/families. And although there is nothing wrong with carrying on these traditions; there can be something special about creating ‘new’ traditions together that are unique to your relationship.

4) Setting and committing to individual and mutual financial goals: many couples rarely address, in specifics, their mutual financial goals. I find this to be particularly important since financial stressors has been identified as the number one reason for divorce (despite what people may believe about infidelity being the leading cause). Therefore, the benefit of having a less stressful relationship; while building mutual wealth makes this a very motivating goal to establish in the 2011.

5) Lastly, find a good couples counselor/therapist and schedule a few sessions: Many people think of couples counseling as being for couples who are in trouble, but that is not always the case. Many couples go to counseling just to increase their self-awareness of things they bring to the relationship and to address issues before they occur. If you have insurance, then most plans cover this service. This service is of benefit to various couples (i.e. dating, newlywed, married for years, blended families, etc.).

In summary, the goal is to establish something new in 2011 that you can commit to as a couple, support one another as a couple and strengthen your relationship as a couple. Happy New Year!!!!!

Dr. Keisha L. Bean is a Licensed Psychologist in Nashville, Tn and is a monthly contributor on the blog! Be sure to check out her website here & blog and connect with her on Linked in!

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