Everything Date Night Should Be

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I wanna be smiling.  Like this, see?

I wanna have fun.

I wanna be with grown-ups, talk about grown-up things, like love..

I wanna look nice.  Smell nice, too.

I want some good, lip smackin’ eats.

I wanna build a better relationship.

I wanna understand my partner.

I wanna do some give and take with other people.

I wanna talk about anything but the kids.  Or the job.  Or the weather.

I wanna be a watcher.   Sometimes I just wanna take it all in.

I wanna relax.   No pressure.  I got pressure all week.

I wanna make you glad to be with me.

 

Date Night premieres Saturday night, 3/17/18 with John Wayne as The Quiet Man.   Check show time, location, cost.  Registration required. Professionally guided for couples by Kathe Skinner, Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified Relationship Specialist. ©2018, Being Heard, LLC.

 

 

 

BO KNOWS FOOTBALL, PARENTING

Father And Son In Park With American Football

Created for the 50th Super Bowl, Toyota has tapped the touchy-feely market by pairing pro football players with their children in a series of commercials about being a father.

Numerous studies show the relationship between early childhood trauma, attachment, abuse, as well as in utero treatment of the unborn fetus and the mental and physical health of adults.

There’s no question that how a child is parented makes an enormous difference in child development.

Debated are the effects of divorce, step-parenting, blended families, and single parenting on children.  In my view, the emotional health of the family unit casts more influence on the growing child than what the family looks like.

How a child turns out is affected by biopsychosocial factors:

  • Biological each child’s hard wiring and physical health (affected pre- and post-natally);
  • Psychological to include attachment, presence of abuse or indulgence, boundaries, rules, roles, exposure to trauma, etc., and;
  • Social factors found not only in the child’s experiences with the wider community and culture — religion, education, social environment, access to goods and services, technology — but also to support networks including family, extended family and peers.

More children can turn out well-adjusted and happy when dads (and moms) provide positive parenting — even if they haven’t been parented well, or at all, themselves.

No argument is being made that all children can turn out wonderfully; there is too little control over the multitude and combination of factors that inspire dysfunction. It’s not foregone that those of us who experienced a less-than-healthy family environment will be less-than-healthy ourselves.  There’s truth to the saying, “I’m like this because my parents stayed together, so you just never know.”

Worrisome is the unawareness or reluctance many people bring to recognizing and creating a healthier family environment than they themselves had.  Parents don’t have to be robotic models of their own parents, though too many are.

Just as bad are parents who ride the pendulum to the other end of the spectrum, thereby encouraging lack of self-discipline and responsibility, materialism, boredom, entitlement, low frustration tolerance, and self-centeredness.  And there’s no proof that socioeconomic status predicts a positive parenting or family outcome.  Nasty custody battles seem to follow the money.

Summarized by a client who honestly believed that marriage meant there weren’t supposed to be any problems (and was angry and confused when there were) parenting is much the same.  Love does mean having to say you’re sorry:  a recognition you’ve erred, selecting out learned behaviors from reactive ones to conscious ones, along with changed behavior, are quantifiable and observable equivalents to saying “sorry”.

Despite all the self-help books, hugs, and positive modeling, parenting will never be a walk in the park.  But hugs, encouragement, and consistent positive modeling can ensure that moms and dads don’t have to walk in the dark.

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice where she specializes in couples work, especially with relationships affected by disability.  She and husband David attempt to parent their two children, hooligan kitties Petey and Lucy.  Kathe and David present Couples Communication Workshops in Colorado Springs.  Read about it and register at www.BeingHeardNow.com.  

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copyright, 2015 Being Heard, LLC

NEVER TRUST A DAISY WITH THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE.

“I love him but I’m not in love with him.”

“I don’t feel that way about her anymore.”

Chamomile Flower Flying Petals Isolated On White Background

What does that mean?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been married more than half my life and there’ve been times when I’d have sold David to the highest bidder.  Shit, any bidder.

Relationship is still the best comic fodder out there. Sometimes, though, relationship stuff isn’t so funny.

How could such a high point in our lives, one that defined who we came to think of ourselves as being, become so abysmal?

Time for a reality check:

We didn’t know what we were getting into.  Did you get the birds and bees talk from your parents?  And if you were fortunate enough to get the facts about sex, I’ll wager no one told you about love and relationship.   While sex is loaded with misunderstanding, innuendo, assumption, and expectation, relationship is many times more complicated than that one component alone.  Don’t even get me started on how we learned to be in a marriage from watching our parents’.

You’re in good company.  Couples are surprised when I tell them how many other couples experience the same things — sleepless nights in separate rooms, thoughts of divorce, planning how to leave, worries about the kids or their families or what their friends will think.  Most every couple experiences relationship burn out, often many times in the same marriage.

Without much more than an admonition to “wait until you’re married” it’s no wonder most people equate sex with love.

Love is transitory.  Think about who you were in high school. Or, if you’re old enough, remember what defined you in your thirties. Dollars to donuts much is different.  What you weigh is different. What you drive (and why you drive it) might change from a small car to a mini-van.  Or, if you’re like me, the color of your hair might be different, too.  And much as some of us would like to have the poundage of a 16 something, change happens all around and to each of us.  Pay attention to Life; marriage mirrors it.  Always moving, shaking . . . changing.  Put another way, love never stays the same.

“Love” doesn’t remain the googly-eyed, altered state it was.  Good thing: who wants to be married to a cross-eyed idiot?

A daisy won’t tell you the truth about love.  If love answers were revealed by plucking petals, there’d be a whole lot less agony around relationship.  In beginning-love, uncertainty can be delicious; all-encompassing, interrupting eating, sleeping, and thinking.  The only way to keep from dying as a sleep-deprived anorexic without a job is to stop being consumed with expectations and assumptions about who loves you and who doesn’t.

Lots of people have it wrong.  Being “in love” comes after “love”.  Being in love is the long-haul, mostly up but sometimes down, day-to-day boring stuff that binds us.  Being in love can’t happen right away.  Being in love packs together the stuff of life and in the process teaches us how to traverse it by ourselves and ultimately with someone else.

DSC_4482-K&DKathe Skinner is a Colorado Springs Marriage & Family Therapist who specializes helping couples get their relationships where they want them to be.  She and husband David are celebrating (really) 30 years of marriage.  Find out more about Kathe and how therapy really can work at http://www.coupleswhotalk.com, where you can also leave a message or set up an appointment.

copyright, 2016 Being Heard, LLC

 

I’M SICK OF RELATIONSHIP ADVICE.

Being in the business of providing relationship counsel, you’d think I’d be saying the opposite.  But even I’m up to here with reading about communication and sex Finding Love Book Shows Relationship Adviceand date nights.

Aren’t you?

People who read relationship advice are unhappy in the relationship they have.  Duh.  They stay that way, too, because if all that advice worked the problem would be solved and no one would need to write all those how to’s.

Here’s the thing:  I don’t think relationship pain is dislodged by advice.

Saving a relationship is about more than a cartful of communication, sex, and date nights.  All those things are necessary, to be sure, but too often the true reason for distress is rooted deep in each partner.  And it’s portable, too.  People arrive at a new marriage – and the next marriage and the next one after that — with all their luggage packed up and trailing behind.

Each of us is responsible for self-fumigation:  get rid of the dead bugs, black mold, and outdated newspapers that are part of what trails behind us.  The clutter comes from way, way back and is responsible for putting thoughts in our heads.  Whether taught or told, exploring what we came to believe about ourselves, each other, and the world of relationships is not only an interesting exercise, but a necessary one.

You may decide that those spoon-fed automatic thoughts no longer fit.   Be warned:  challenging automatic thinking is lifelong work.

For example, when I see crumbs on the kitchen floor the automatic thought is David’s the one who’s been sloppy.   And I’m the one who has to clean up the mess.  Again.  Children’s beliefs about themselves arise from what they’re taught by caregivers — parents, usually. The you-as-a-child won’t, can’t, challenge that thinking but you-as-an-adult can.

In the example of crumbs on the kitchen floor, the early message to me was that I was responsible for cleaning up a mess, whether I’d caused it or not.  I grew up critical of myself and others – they made a mess I had to clean up – thereby maintaining the emotionally-reasoned automatic thought that the actions of others came down on me especially since I never ever make a mess.

Always being right is lonely.  Thinking of myself as a “victim” created and perpetuated continual anger, disappointment, defensiveness, and resentment while bringing about the disregard I most dreaded.

And that’s just my baggage.  Relationship advice is about the two of you only because each of you carries baggage into it – guaranteeing you stub your toe not once, but twice.  I know, I sometimes still do.

No amount of relationship advice will budge that luggage until you unpack and put away your own stuff.

Kathe Skinner has been a Marriage & Family Therapist for over 20 years.  Her private practice focuses on working with the baggage people bring to their lives.  She and her husband-of-the-crumbs have been married for 30 years and share their Colorado Springs’ home with hooligan cats Petey and Lucy.  You can read more about what’s behind Kathe’s work at www.coupleswhotalk.com where you can sign up for a free weekly curated newsletter.

copyright, 2016, Being Heard, LLC