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  • Remove outdated expectations, assumptions.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.

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. 

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.”

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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

 

CAN COUNSELING SAVE A DYING MARRIAGE?

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Does it feel like the feeling’s gone?

  • Your partner isn’t the person you fell in love with.
  • The communication gap between you widens every day.
  • Your partner won’t talk about it.
  • You’ve been unhappy for so long it feels like it’s too late.
  • Your relationship feels dead.

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.

  • Resolve past hurts and painful memories
  • Put an end to endless arguments
  • Overcome differences in parenting styles
  • Improve your intimacy and sex life
  • Heal from an affair
  • Grow closer together
  • Take an active, involved and interested role in the life you’ve created together

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.