didn’t think so.
didn’t think so.
Ever feel like the love is gone?
Since you’re reading this article, it’s likely you still care enough about your partner and your relationship to want to help it — if you only knew how.
Most marriages should be given a chance to succeed.
Marriage counseling can help you restore the trust and intimacy your relationship once enjoyed so that you’ll both have a secure place to learn techniques and tools that can actually make a difference.
Behavioral research is often focused on the clinical effectiveness of couples therapy but the subject of couples therapy is in the out-loud American mainstream, too. Attention runs the gamut from on-line and print articles, to films like Couples Retreat, to playing supportive roles in television dramas like The Sopranos.
Most marriage counselors would agree that a couple’s motivation to make their relationship work is the single most important factor in determining the success of couples counseling. Beware the seduction of obtaining a promise from your partner to “work on the relationship” if one of their feet is out the door. Breaking up is hard to do, there’s enough hurt to go around, so sometimes one partner “buys time” by agreeing to couples counseling. Therapy also seems to be less successful for couples who wait too long before seeking help. Unfortunately, the average number of years a distressed couple waits before seeking help is 6 years.
If you and your partner are serious about creating the best relationship possible, marriage counseling is an excellent way to explore your relationship and help each of you uncover and overcome destructive relational patterns. Hopefully, before 6 years go by.
Kathe Skinner has been a Marriage & Family Therapist for 20 years. She specializes in couples work, especially with relationships where invisible disability is part of the mix. She and her husband David have been married for 29 years and together provide a Secular Couple Communication Workshop throughout the year. They live with their 2 hooligan cats in Colorado Springs.
Super-star athletes are polishing their personas with the advent of the Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. One of them, Jamaican mega-medal winner Usain Bolt, has the gracefulness of a natural athlete. With his perpetual smile and generally good nature, Bolt is no pushover.
One doesn’t get the impression that Usain Bolt would promote something disagreeable.
Despite his gifts, or maybe because of them, Bolt also demonstrates a remarkably generous spirit, e.g., his 2012 embrace of double-amputee Oscar Pistorius, who competed against Bolt.
At a recent promo event, Bolt paired with Brazilian Paralympic multi-medalist Terezinha Guilhermina as her guide runner. Vision-impaired para-athletes compete under strict guidelines that may include use of sighted guide runners. Guilhermina trains and competes with guide Guilherme Soares de Santana; tethered at the wrist, she runs blindfolded as they match each other in speed and timing.
This high-speed dance is like a successful relationship: Trust is essential. Good communication is quick but subtle, successful only with lots of practice. Even when a compatible partner is found — no easy task in itself — the tasks are twice as difficult, twice as demanding.
If you’ve ever run a playground race with one leg joined to another person’s you begin to understand how tough it is to run as one.
Even so, Bolt expressed concern that Guilhermina would fall over or be unable to run fast enough. Both fears were unfounded.
Like running in synch, when an able-bodied athlete joins with a para-athlete, one shadows the other. Both understand the effort, sacrifice, and ability that has brought them to the medal podium. As in a good marriage, there is mutual admiration and respect; knowledge that the differences are not diminishments.
Now for the preachy part: There are two separate and unequal worlds when it comes to sport. Usain Bolt, personable as he is, sells because of his able-bodied ability, not his smile. Paralympic athletes sell to the larger audience only when paired with Olympic athletes; it doesn’t matter that their talent, drive, focus, and commitment to excellence are the same.
“Blade runner” Arthur Pistorius got more ink because of his fall from grace than from his rise to it.
Societal disequity is an old story and not just one about disability. Overcoming innate human suspicion and dislike of what is different requires conscious and concerted effort. The nudge may come from decades’ worth of disabled vets with their can-do mentality, greater numbers, and the societal bequeathing of a high moral ground.
Personally, I’ll take it any way I can get it: If the result to being paired with an able-bodied celebrity is lasting inclusion and a broader definition of human value, then drop the red flag and let the sports begin.
Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist whose private practice focuses on couples, especially those whose relationship is complicated by invisible or visible disability. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis for nearly 40 years and understands that athletes go beyond themselves to compete. With two world-class cat nappers, Petey and Lucy, Kathe and husband David live in Colorado where she doesn’t ski.
Or when your guy grabs your shirt, slams you up against the wall, and says you don’t wanna make him angry.
And the whole theater’s screaming at that dumb young thing not to open up when the doorbell rings at midnight and nobody’s expected.
I’m not generally an alarmist although my husband David would disagree. I do worry about fire starting in a trash barrel where he’s dumped grass clippings. Or being afraid things are gonna blow up. Or when I feel eyes on me when I’m working late by the open window in my first floor office and I can’t help myself I just have to look.
One summer my panties started disappearing off the clothesline, hang-up calls began right after my soon-to-be-ex left the house, and the guy across the street would make a racket so I’d look up to see him standing naked in his doorway. When the phone rang at 2 one morning and the soon-to-be hustled me into the dark backyard I thought yeah, sure, I’m gonna get whacked — he had lots of, uh, connections; I didn’t for a second believe the police were evacuating the neighborhood. But they were. That spooky ass guy shot a neighbor who was coming home from shift work.
A bit after I rented out my condo, the woman whose doorway was a few feet away from mine was strangled at home then dumped in the woods. The daughter’s boyfriend went to prison for murder in a sordid story worthy of a bestseller.
Like people in an abusive marriage or those who return from war, I can talk about what’s happened to me as if it had happened to someone else. Traumatic stress is often numbing and, whether the stress is long- or short-term, the need for self-protection can make us look (and be) detached and dispassionate.
Danger exists in trusting others even as protection is so desperately needed. Laying down the guise, being vulnerable and exposed, is almost literally a deadly challenge that many won’t choose.
Traumatic stress is so often unexpected — who would set themselves up to be traumatized? — we cannot prepare or protect our psyches from it. A system-wide shock indicates that everything in our world — most especially those to whom we are vulnerable like spouses, parents, children, friends as well as surroundings that once felt safe — is now suspect. Add to that the invisibility of chronic, traumatic stress and the difficulty of recognizing or relating to it adds to misunderstanding and further isolation and loneliness.
Traumatic stress can be vigilance run amok.
The experiencing, fearing, seeing, remembering of violence and harm can derail our thoughts and emotions, often forever. Like someone who puts and keeps themselves in line for abuse, or those who think themselves immune to repeated horror, all of us need to realize that horror commands a price. Similarly, we need to know that sometimes, not always, we can predict nasty experiences and seek to avoid them. Problem is, the invisibility of stress disorders can mean that some people are less in control than it seems. The creed of healthcare workers, protectors of public safety, combatants, and others who serve reinforces our expectations — and their own — about invulnerability.
Sometimes, vigilance is underrated.
Putting ourselves in charge, like not hanging out with somebody who slams you against a wall, is a proactive step to avoiding traumatic stress in the first place. And when you can’t avoid getting bummed out, talking with a professional helper can expiate what may be stuck in your head. That’s necessary if you want to be able to live your life without looking over your shoulder for clowns.
Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice who specializes working with couples, especially those for whom invisible disability — like PTSD — is part of their relationship’s mix. She and her husband David hold Couples Communication Workshops that help inoculate couples from the stress that a poor relationship can bring. Register now for the lateswt workshop at www.BeingHeardNow.com
© 2015, Being Heard, LLC
Women, can you think of the last time your man brought up something that bugged him about you?
Maybe it was that you talked to your friends too much, your mother too much, or him too much.
But unless really, really pushed – like during an argument – men aren’t usually relationship-complainers; at least mine isn’t.
It’s not that women do more talking than men – that truism got debunked (by male researchers, interestingly enough) – it’s how and what they talk aboutthat seems to make a difference. Follow a husband and wife through any department store: listen to what each points out and the descriptive words each uses. Are both genders equally engaged and expressive? I hang with my husband at Home Depot but the reverse isn’t true at Ross Dress for Less.
Men are finicky about stupid things, like artichokes or wearing turtlenecks. Lots of things aggravate women, too, starting with men’s inability to recall what they do that women don’t want them to do anymore. Hence the phrase “How many times do I have to tell you?”
Now, I couldn’t swear to it, but I’d bet my last carton of yogurt that men forget things on purpose, even at the risk of appearing stupid, which is actually pretty smart.
How else to explain men who feign ignorance about where the kitchen towels go when enlisted in putting away the wash?
Or men who fix diesel engines but can’t remember to put down the seat?
While the splash of a fanny hitting the water at 3 a.m. isn’t enough to strike fear in a man, three words are: Can we talk?
That same carton of yogurt rides on my belief that when a woman says those words, it’s like a guy’s thrown into the deep end with shackles binding his wrists and ankles. It’s not that women bowl guys over with the quantity of words – the sexes actually say about the same number of words in a day. It’s the kinds of words used, the language that’s spoken.
Women generally have it over men in “feeling-speak”. So when a woman wants to talk, bet your yogurt it’s in the language of feelings. And even if both partners are talking about the same thing their understanding and expression of it are very different.
Just like being in a strange land where we don’t sprechen the language, we show our frustration with each other in the same ineffective ways:
Just as tourists in a different land need more than passports and sensible shoes, couples often leave behind what’s most basic to their enjoyment and success. Translator app, anyone?
Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist and Relationship Coach specializing in couples work, especially with those relationships impacted by invisible disability. She has a firm belief that the quality of a couple’s communication skills have a significant impact on their own, and their family’s, health. Kathe and David have been married for almost 30 years and live in Colorado where they teach Couple Communication Workshops and continue to unravel Petey’s and Lucy’s cat-speak. Discover more about Kathe Skinner and the Couples Communication Workshops at http://www.BeingHeardNow.com and be sure to check out more of Kathe’s blogs at ilikebeingsickanddisabled.com.
©2014, Being Heard, LLC
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