YOU’RE NOT THE PERSON I MARRIED; WHO ARE YOU?

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Romantic.

Considerate.

Attentive,

Interested.

Communicative.

Eager.

Exciting.

Are these qualities the used-to-be’s, when the real world was substituted for a secret place only you two inhabited?

What is it about now that lacks the luster of then?

Each stage of life has both challenges and joys.  The ways we cope with a variety of experiences – the birth of a child, a sudden and severe illness, an empty nest – account for our growth.  As we mature everything about us and around us changes: our bodies; who and what we like and why; what we’ve experienced – both happy and sad, perhaps even our priorities.  And our patience for it all.

Meantime, our partner is doing the same thing.

It’s no wonder, then, that losing track of each other and what brought you together in the first place is inevitable.  Quite honestly, rediscovering each other is a very good thing.

Stagnating, staying stuck, seeps in when attention is elsewhere.  It’s difficult to be attentive, exciting, romantic or communicative when the focus is on ourselves.  Feeling alone can often reinforce itself.  The result can be distance, resentment, silence.

We’re challenged to find the luster again and again because marriage is not a given; it’s a living thing that needs nurturing, empathy, warmth, companionship.

That’s the thing about life and marriage and why marriage is a journey within the larger Journey,  How does marriage work when both partners are changing, sometimes in opposite ways?

  • Realize your discontent.
  • Relinquish what no longer fits; you’re a grown-up now.
  • Recognize what’s good, not just bad.
  • Remember the sweetness of your marriage.
  • Re-Discover yourself and your partner.
  • Remove outdated expectations, assumptions.
  • Re-Connect with each other.
  • Re-Commit to Life together.

The never-ending challenge, then, is to remodel togetherness’s fit, accounting not only for each partner but for the in-between-ness, too.

Kathe Skinner is a Colorado Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice, specializing in couples therapy.  Her understanding and passion come from her own marriage of 33 years.

KIDS GET ONE FOR SUMMER, FALL, WINTER and SPRING. DO PARENTS GET ONE, TOO?

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School is their job.

Like most jobs, school can be hard and, while some kids take their jobs more seriously than others, having a break from the grind is an American right, right?  As such, under-eighteeners, can’t be expected to sustain a full day of well, anything, without expecting a break. Or at least a snack.

There are lots of kids who are nightly burdened with homework. That’s a good enough reason for parents to take the load off by doing science projects or writing   college entry essays.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus: it’s called a parent.

Spring Break is probably the most inexplicable of all.  Too few are staycations.  Too many are travel destinations.  Child-centered fun in doesn’t come cheap (remember that part about working to pay for it all?).

Pity the child left behind to hang out alone at home. With nobody to talk to except the dog or, gasp, siblings.

Here’s what I know:

  1. Treats aren’t treats if nothing is a treat. A family vacation is special once a year, not multiple times a year.
  2. Over-indulged kids grow up to be lousy partners and employees.  The model is that their wants come first. 
  3. Parental guilt keeps the whole thing going. When enough isn’t enough parents try harder and harder to please children who are numbed by the volume of it all. 
  4. Generations re-create child-centric families whose toxic patterns create parental drift. 

When parents take some time for themselves — without their children — their professional, personal, family, and parenting lives benefit.  Intimate dissatisfaction and drift are reduced.  Putting children before a parental relationship is a mistake few parents see.  The truth is that parents take care of their kids best by taking care of their relationship.

Breakfast in bed, anyone?

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice. She sees daily the results of over- entitled children, under-entitled partners and the messy families they create. Kathe lives in Colorado with her husband and their two entitled cats.

Copyright, 2019, Being Heard, LLC

THE MINIMALIST’S GUIDE TO NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions and it seems I’m in solid company: According to a 2013 CBS poll almost 70% of Americans don’t make New Year’s resolutions at all.

Except for runners in the Boston Marathon ready, set, go only one day of the year is foolishness. So forget January 1st.

Here’s what you can choose to do, whenever:

  1. Be specific. I’ll lose weight. or I’ll lose 3 lbs,.this month. See the difference?
  2. Think small. There’s a reason only 8% of Americans reach their goals.
  3. Think do-able. Want to travel more but don’t have the money or accrued time? Take day trips that are free or low cost.
  4. Schedule it. I’ll spend more time at the gym. or I’ll go to the gym 2x a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays before work.
  5. Keep track. C’mon, did you really do what you said?
  6. Mean it. Permanent change is meant to be life changing.

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice where she specializes working with couples looking for change within their relationships.  She and her husband David live in Colorado with their two change-aversive cats, Petey and Lucy. 

copyright, 2018, Being Heard, LLC

 

6 WAYS TO AVOID BEING A HOLIDAY BUTTERBALL.

It’s cookie season again!

DECEMBER 23, 2018KATHE SKINNER, M.A., L.M.F.T. EDIT

This is the time of year food is on our minds. Not just any food, but rich food, expensive food, once-a-year food. It’s when even the most disciplined among us vow to “wait until after the holidays”.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, half of Americans say they want to lose weight. With only a little time before the festivities begin the chances of being successfully svelte are, well, slim to none.

Here’s how to avoid being a holiday butterball:

Start early. Gold’s Gym memberships spike 40% in December and January, while the sad fact is that a hefty 80% of January joins quit within 5 months. If you’re serious about weight loss wait until February to get a membership. Statistics show that’ll improve your chances of success. Even more successful? Stick with the program all year long.

It”s not that the work is hard; the hard work is to keep going,

Dance to your own music. “Dealing effectively with stress” and “emotional regulation” are cited by 92% of 1,328 psychologists as the main reasons for their patients’ failures in weight loss. Emotional eating is a behavior learned in childhood when a sweet snack is an emotionally satisfying way to cope.

Who’s this for, anyway? Are you trying to please a critical parent, spouse, or friend who say you would be more attractive or successful if you lost weight? Putting your health first is, in the first place, about you. Addressing
underlying and longstanding messages are part of the mental health component necessary for mental and physical health.

Change defeating habits. While there are lots of reasons for societal obesity, some come from the choices we make every day. Good-for-you meals don’t have to be additive-rich, over-processed ones. Take advantage of federal law that requires calorie counts to be on menus. Buying gasoline and dinner at the same place are not healthy mealtime practice.

Rapid weight loss without healthy changes in diet and exercise is a chocolate-covered promise.

Keep it simple. Changes that are too complicated reduce chances for permanent behavioral alterations. Go easy; start slowly, feeling comfortable and confident to go on. Life changes don’t have to be complicated to work.

You can’t have it all. Even if you could, you can’t have it right now.  Reasonable thought often conflicts with desire. Unfortunately, ours is a society used to short attention-spans, immediacy, and instant gratification. True lifestyle changes are accomplished over time, with consistent practice, and lots of patience. That can be a poor fit in an ersatz society.

As tempting as it sounds, having our cake and eating it, too, isn’t realistic. More than genetics alone, successful weight control relies on the sometimes challenging choices we make for a healthy mental and physical life.

 Kathe Skinner is a private practice Marriage & Family Therapist in Colorado Springs where she lives with her husband and two kitties.

Copyright 2018, Being Heard, LLC

How You Voted: 1 Thing To Keep to Yourself

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Smart.  Educated.  A creative problem-solver.  So how could somebody so smart be so stupid?

And how could somebody as savvy as me have married him?

My husband and I are part of the 38% of married couples who are mismatched politically.   In over 31 years of marriage talking politics is something we’ve learned not to do.

I could explore the reasons for this, but I really don’t care to.  I choose to close my eyes to my husband’s stupidity for the sake of marital harmony.   And, to be honest, so I can keep believing I made a good choice.

Forget all the communication rules about respecting and understanding and talking calmly.  We’ve opted for the Bartender’s Rule:  We just don’t talk about it.

Kathe Skinner is a Colorado Marriage & Family therapist in private practice.  Both she and her husband, David, are registered Independents who tend to lean in opposite directions.  They’ve stayed married for over 31 years by not talking politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Many Winks Get Lost in a Time Change?

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I’m not a math person; just ask my husband.

I’m okay when the price per ounce is noted; it’s when cost is calculated as the price per pound I get annoyed.  What if you’re not buying a whole pound?  Multiplying by 16 isn’t so easy, I don’t care who you are.

It’s the same when the time changes.

See, I set my clock fifteen minutes ahead to fool myself that I have more time than I really do.  Never works, but that’s beside the point.

What’s being asked of me this weekend is to stretch my fifteen minutes by an entire hour and fifteen minutes.  Just like at the supermarket, I’m reduced to doing math in my head.

This time-change business is troublesome.  For at least two weeks in March or April and again in October or November a muffled question quietly sounds from my side of the bed:  what time is it really?  

I get confused.

    • Why does gaining one hour mean subtracting it?
    • Why doesn’t time do its springing and falling the same date every year?
    • Does a dentist in a non-change-time town put down two appointment times for patients in a next door town where time does change?
    • Who came up with this, anyway?
    • If time is mutable, what time is it . . . really?

To me all this messing around with times and dates doesn’t seem very scientific – it’s a bit contrived, and at the very least not friendly to users like me.

Too bad Einstein’s not around; without doing the math, I think I may have cracked the space-time continuum.

Kathe Skinner is a Colorado Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice who’s about to gain one hour’s sleep.  Find her website at www.coupleswhotalk.com and sign up to get her  newsletter, a weekly quick-read for parents and partners.  It’s free!

copyright, 2018  Being Heard, LLC

15 Reasons You’re Not Getting Enough

As a Marriage & Family Therapist one of the problems I hear most often is about sex — one partner wants more while the other wants less, or none at all.

Sex is the adult version of play.  Just as it was when we were kids, there are some people who don’t play well with others.  Healthy play — for children and adults — is free of bullying, harassment, threat or harm.

Take heart in knowing that most sexual problems can be overcome with increased knowledge, a change in attitude, improved behavior, and better communication.

If you’re not getting enough sex, consider the following.

  1. You aren’t good in bed.  Read a book.  Better yet, ask your partner what feels good.
  2. You’re self-centered.  Okay for masturbation, but you’re a poor lover if conjoint love doesn’t include your partner too.
  3. You neglect foreplay or after glow.  Communicate, demonstrate that being close is just as important as the act itself.
  4. You don’t pay attention to what’s going on in your partner’s life, like illness, new parenthood, grief, stress, psychological problems, etc.
  5. You make assumptions that your partner wants the same thing, at the same time, in the same way you do.  Boredom kills enthusiasm.  
  6. You’re ugly in attitude, behavior.  No need to explain that.
  7. You’re not fun.  Play is too serious, you keep score, you sulk when you don’t get your way.
  8. You try too hard, you’re uncomfortable, or you just plain don’t know what you’re doing.  There are many ways to learn; chose what best fits you.
  9. You don’t try hard enough, not just sexually, but with the business of coupleness.  Like housework, bill paying, auto maintenance, parenting, cooking, social life, etc.
  10. It’s not about sex at all.  You’re distracted by something else — kids at the bedroom door, pets on the bed, work?
  11. You belong to the Wham Bam School of Love.
  12. You stink — your clothes, your hair, your body, the sheets.
  13. You neglect your body through poor diet, exercise, hygiene, or health.
  14. You could care less about your partner.  Enough said.
  15. Your partner has better things to do,  I once read that a certain percentage of women were on their cell phones during sex.  I don’t remember the percentage but any number is too high.

For over 20 years Kathe Skinner has been a Colorado Springs’ Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice with a specialty in couples work. She and her husband of 31 years live in Colorado where they hold communication retreats for couples.