“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, where you can also leave a message or set up an appointment.

copyright, 2016 Being Heard, LLC



einstein-1100451__180Almost two months into the new year I can’t help but wonder how many people who resolved to go to the gym actually made it there.  Personally, I’m not a fan having once fallen while on a treadmill, and couldn’t get up.

Which made me think of the great German-born physicist Albert Einstein, who was gym aversive, which not many people know.

I don’t know why Einstein’s dislike is not more widely known. After all, the great physicist made many statements about his disregard for physical exertion, especially in a public setting.  Here’s some of what he said:  Continue reading “ALBERT EINSTEIN ON GOING TO THE GYM.”



Cleaning is a chore that’s always on my to-do list.  I guess it’s a fact of life that cleanup is never done only once and is never done, period.  Take raking leaves, for instance.  Like trick-or-treaters on Halloween, leaves blow in from neighborhoods far away so that it’s dismaying when the work of raking has to be done again.  And again.

It’s enough to kill motivation.

Sometimes we blame ourselves when we run out of gas.  Setting out to accomplish a new and exciting project takes longer to complete than anticipated.  Or the future isn’t unfolding as planned.  Unexpected events interfere with plans that were best laid.

Bill Murray, in the film “Groundhog’s Day”, had to learn it’s not about extrinsic motivation, delineated by accomplishment, inducement, or incentive; rather intrinsic motivation is what mattered.  This impulse breaks into the core of who are, where each of us can believe in it, live it.  It’s the inside-out of motivation, performed somewhere in a misty garden at dawn while interminably standing on one foot.

That’s easier for some of us than others.

Like a leaf-free yard, motivation (whether it’s pure or impure) isn’t a one-shot deal; it needs to be conscious, diligent and consistent — while at the same time being not.

Because you don’t “get motivated” and “stay motivated”, your supply of gung-ho needs to be renewed.  It’s sometimes true that a battery’s life is longer when it depletes all the way before recharging.

Being calm doesn’t just belong to the OMers. Smart, positive people know the trick to maintaining motivation, especially intrinsic motivation, has nothing to do with working harder or smarter or later into the night.  It’s about preparing for the future; a trusted destination even as the direction isn’t.

What would that look like on a daily basis?  Maybe reading a passage from well-loved book, reading your “mission statement”, or developing one if you haven’t already.  Committing to time spent indoors or out- (a leaf-strewn patio?) or anywhere you can relax into what’s around you.  Listen to favorite music, pet a pet, take a break from work or relaxing, meditate, stand on one leg.

Motivation isn’t here, it’s there, and we haven’t gotten “there” yet. We never do.

Writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell said “We must let go of the life we had planned so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

In this way, motivation is zen, an act of not being and not doing while at once being and doing.  Having nothing to do with some thing and something to do with nothing at all.

Want to be smarter than your to-do list?  Pack a sandwich and go find some leaves.

Kathe Skinner has been a psychotherapist in private practice for 20 years.  She and her husband, David, live in Colorado Springs with their two hooligans cats and a yard full of leaves. 

copyright, 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:

  • Talk louder and louder;
  • Throw up our hands in disgust;
  • Think how dense the other person is;
  • Walk away, muttering.

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 and be sure to check out more of Kathe’s blogs at

©2014, Being Heard, LLC

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