This blog, the third of a four-part series on the Four Worlds, is focused on the mental aspect. I will touch on several components of mental activity and primarily address an area that I consider especially empowering for individuals and in relationships.
One form of couple's intimacy that often gets downplayed involves intellectual, topical, philosophical, or political discussions. Sharing such information and opinions can be stimulating and educational for both partners. Many folks also enjoy mentally-broadening outings like attending lectures, thought-evoking movies or plays, going through museums, and joining book discussion groups. Some prefer board or card games or working on puzzles together, some of which can prove very mentally challenging.
Which of these activities do you most often participate in and enjoy? Which ones would you like to further develop? Are there other types of mental engagement that you and your partner find particularly satisfying or meaningful?
As a coach and counselor, as well as in my own life, I devote a lot of attention to attitudes, beliefs and intentions. I'm especially attuned to re-examining my attitudes and beliefs and their effects on others during this annual observation of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Each year I use this 10-day period and the weeks that precede it as a marker for self-assessment and for adjusting some of my attitudes and beliefs that lead to my actions. Furthermore, I commit myself to setting new intentions and goals that are aligned with my values and life purposes. This new year, I'm focused on being more respectful in some of my communication with my wife Ruth and on collaborating more effectively with her as we develop new Soulful Couples offerings. I'm also intending to become less judgmental and instead, more compassionate.
Periodically, I use other markers, especially the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover), to refine my thinking, intentions, and ensuing behavior. What markers do you carve out for yourself to take inventory of your thought processes, to refine them as needed/desired, and to (re)formulate potent, purposeful goals?
One powerful practice I'd like to suggest is carefully considering your thoughts before speaking them. This practice not only helps to stave off the proverbial foot-in-mouth disease, but also serves to advance your mental acuity and communication effectiveness--noble areas for developing mastery!
As always, Ruth and I welcome your responses to questions posed in this blog and any additional reactions or comments you'd like to share. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook page.
Toward honoring and developing our mental gifts,
Your Relationship Coach,
Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.