Learn more

Learn more about Dr. Bailey and Georgia Psychological Consultants
Visit my website at: www.marietta-psychologist.com

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weddings Should Be About More than a Beautiful Day

It’s wedding season – and weddings are fun! This year’s season began with the romantic and beautiful celebration of the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton. This elaborate event captured imagination and elicited thoughts on how to view weddings – which are the birth of a marriage – as about more than the perfect dress, beautiful flowers, a wonderful meal, and a great party. Sometimes the excitement of getting engaged or planning a wedding can overshadow some of the more important issues about the decision to marry. Making the wedding more about a marriage is important!

Engagement and marriage is one of the most significant psychological transitions in life. It involves more than just finding true love. Often engaged couples believe that their relationship will not experience the relationship problems other couples face. However, nearly half of marriages end in divorce so clearly this belief is incorrect in many cases.

To have a healthy marriage, each partner has to be mentally and emotionally mature. This means having a strong sense of self. Rushing into marriage before becoming a “grown up” rarely is successful. Being in love is simply not enough!

Plan your marriage – not just your wedding! This is about more than one day. The popular TV personality Dr. Phil advises engaged couples to consider developing an emotional prenuptial agreement, outlining how you’ll handle children, discipline, sex, money, household chores, religion, careers, in-laws......the list goes on. It may not be very romantic, but marriage isn’t all romance – it’s also collaboration and if you don’t plan for and discuss tough issues – you won’t be able to successfully merge two lives together.

Some engaged couples participate in formal pre-marital counseling before their big day. Such professional sessions can assist in examining compatibility and conflict resolution style. Investing in preparation counseling sessions provides a format for couples to discuss and understand the “hot topics”. Of course, these discussions can occur outside of a professional’s office. The goal is to communicate openly and honestly about what is important to each of you. Not everything can or will be covered before the wedding but by learning effective communication skills, a couple can learn how to navigate future issues of conflict. This skill is critical in marriage.

Agreement on all the issues is not the goal. During these premarital discussions, if you agree on everything, someone isn’t being honest. You are different people and will disagree! However, being able to express strong feelings and respectfully accept a partner’s strong feelings is essential. Finding where you are willing to and how to find that important middle ground is a necessary skill in all marriages.

Living intimately with another person requires making decisions together. It requires consideration of another’s view. Be sure to identify and communicate needs and expectations. It is not selfish to know what is most important to you. Be honest with yourself and your partner about your “non-negotiables” – the deal breakers. We all have them – it is important to understand what they are for you and your partner.

Pre-marital counselor, Dr. Rich Nicastro offers the following five questions for engaged couples to consider:

1. Why do you want to get married? A feeling that “it’s time” is not enough.
2. Why do you want to marry this person? “Because I love him/her” is not enough.
3. What core values do you share with your future spouse? Compatibility on values matter.
4. What are the main differences between the two of you? Understanding and accepting differences are important.
5. How do you envision married life? Discuss expectations.

If a wedding is planned for your summer, take the time to discuss how the wedding day should be the celebration and beginning of a beautiful marriage.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Congratulations to the Class of 2011!!

Graduation from high school will be celebrated in May and many families will experience the rush of emotions that accompany this special time. In Georgia alone, thousands of seniors will be leaving high school to begin their next adventure. Some will start college and will experience life away from home for the first time, while others will begin full-time employment and all the responsibilities that come with adult independence. This is a joyous, emotional, and tense time for both the students and their families.

At this milestone it is important for graduates to express gratitude to the special people who have shaped their life. Parents and family members are crucial with their love and support, but the list of important influences most assuredly goes beyond family. Every high school graduate owes some level of thanks to special friends, teachers, coaches, and religious leaders who provided patience, encouragement, empathy and inspiration. Graduates are advised to express their appreciation to these special people.

It is predictable for new graduates to feel anxiety. There can be fears about success in the next phase of life. Many graduates will be leaving the familiarity of home, family and friends and moving from a secure sense of who you are and what you can do into unknown worlds. The adult work life and college life is unlike high school.

Opening up to friends and family about fears can help calm and reassure. Trust that your friends are experiencing similar concerns and bottling up fears will only intensify the power of the anxiety. Life transitions come with apprehensions and doubts. Leaving a familiar high school where you are known and accepted to “unknown territories” is not an easy task. It is important and helpful to express your feelings.

Life after high school is different. For many years students are encouraged to remain compliant and docile and high school students have very little voice in decisions about their activities. As graduates you must take control of life. College students make decisions about attending class, how much sleep is needed, and when and what to eat. College students decide for themselves want they want to learn and when they want to learn it. While all of these decisions carry consequences, the responsibility is with each individual not with a parent, a teacher, or an administrative official. The freedom can be either a blessing or a curse – depending on whether you accept it with maturity and grace …or abuse it.

Additionally it is important to develop a strategy for yourself on how you want to manage your future. Develop clarity on your personal values so you have clear boundaries to help face the many temptations that will come with the increase in freedom and responsibility.

I discovered a graduation address by Paul Graham who offered the following advice; “There’s no switch inside of you that magically flips when you turn a certain age or graduate from some institution. You start being an adult when you decide to take responsibility for your life. You can do that at any age.” Mr. Graham also very wisely encouraged graduates not to feel a sense of panic if they have uncertainties about what to do with the rest of their life. He advised not to push to be in a rush to definitively choose a life work but to focus on the discovery what is important and enjoyable. “You have to work on stuff you like if you want to be good at what you do.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2011 –