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.

 

 

 

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Each of us is responsible for self-fumigation:  get rid of the dead bugs, black mold, and outdated newspapers that are part of what trails behind us.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

 

GENGHIS KHAN GOT A DIVORCE

genghis Khan

It’s not that I don’t love you, Gengy.  I do.  But things just aren’t the same.

Used to be we’d talk ’til the yaks came home.  We don’t talk like that anymore.  Actually, we don’t talk at all.  You’re distant and quiet, even with the kids.  You’re never home at dinnertime and I can’t remember the last time we had a date night.

Other gals say it’s the same with them.  You and your horde come home after conquering and slaughtering and a year’s gone by and you act like some bigshot who’s gonna take over where you left off, but guess what? everybody’s been used to fending without you. Know what else? we’ve done pretty good, too.

Whoa, Gengy; don’t get your temper up!  You’re such a control freak, but you’re not gonna bully me anymore.  I love you, I do. But I can’t — no, I won’t — keep taking it.  You come off as so studly but I’m tired of sleeping by myself while you get wasted on that fermented crap.  I’m really sick of all those concubines hanging off you.  And I’m tired of entertaining all those brutes you call generals.  Gengy, I’m just. plain. tired.

I’m done.  I mean it this time.

Your moods don’t bother me anymore.  I don’t give an ox’s ass about all that blood on your hands and those nightmares you have.  Man up, Genghis!  It’s a brutal world out there for all of us; but the Great Khan wants us to feel sorry for him like nobody else matters.

The saying is “love conquers all”, not “Genghis Khan conquers all.”  Try thinking about somebody else besides yourself for a change!

It’s beyond me how you can get one end of your empire to communicate with the other but you’re in the dark when it comes to communicating with me.  What do I want?  I’ll tell you:  I want you to tell me dinner was good.  That I look nice.  Tell me about your day; you know, like how’d it go out on the steppes. Some funny story about one of your generals.  Like that.

Yeah, yeah, I know all about all the great stuff you do.  You keep telling me, don’t you?  You don’t listen, not to anybody.  You do what you want, you get what you want, and thousands of people get hurt.  If you put half as much effort into us as you do into work, we wouldn’t be so far apart.

Look, Gengy, we’ve been together a long time, since we were 12. Pretty good for an arranged marriage, huh?  Remember our first night — all those stars! the music of shuffling ponies.  And you couldn’t . . . well, that’s ancient history.  After all, you were only twelve.

You once said you’d give me the known world but I didn’t think it meant you’d be gone all the time.  It’s like you’re trying to prove something with all this conquering.  And being so fearsome; what’s that about?  Sometimes you even scare me.  You don’t have to be a therapist to see what having a tyrant for a father did to you. And the way you treat me? Just like your father treated your mother.  She took it for all those years, but I don’t have to.

I’m sorry; bringing your mother into it, that was a low blow.

Listen.  Mongolia doesn’t feel like home anymore.  You’re never around and when you are you’re all inside your head about who you and the boys are going to pillage next.  The kids don’t need me; they’re all grown and scattered to the winds.  You don’t need me, and I’m tired of doing this marriage by myself.  I’ve got to think about me for a change.  I’ve always wanted to travel —  maybe China; I hear their silks are to die for.

Don’t act surprised, Gengy.  We’ve both known this was coming. As brutal as you are, you never laid a hand on me.  This is gonna sound strange, but you know what?  I almost wish you had.  At least that way you would’ve touched me.

Kathe Skinner is a Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in couples work, especially with those couples whose relationship is impacted by visible or invisible disability.  She lives in Colorado with her husband David (whose latest conquered territory is the garage) and their two pampered yak-ity cats, Petey and Lucy.  She and David hold a Couples Communication Workshop throughout the year.  Check it out all the Workshops offered @ www.coupleswhotalk.com

Copyright, 2015 Being Heard, LLC