t h e w o r l d o f i n v i s i b l e i l l n e s s


ID-100131714A young military couple, married a short time, sat on the loveseat in my counseling office.

With no college and not much rank, the husband’d learned at The School of Hard Knocks about irresponsible purchases, credit card debt, and overspending in general.

Some women are easy to buy for:   Some of us are into birthstones.  Others die for pampering massages, facials and manis.  Me, I’d kill for a personal chef and a housekeeper.

She was all about purses. Leather not pleather.  Not something you’d throw in the backseat.  And definitely not one that doubles as a backpack. Instead, a handbag that speaks about itself in understated, accented English.

Back in my office, the talk was about unmet wants and needs when the husband brought up a gift he’d given his wife the previous Christmas:

What is it you like to get?


And what did I give you?

A handbag.

How come I gave you that?

Because I love handbags.

No, I mean, why did I give you a handbag?

Because you love me?

Yeah. And where is it?

The handbag?


In the closet.

Yeah.  That’s where you put my heart.

Lots of times we take for granted that the person we love pays attention when we give hints about what we like.  Sometimes so much so we have to clarify that we’re not asking for something if we’re only admiring it.

Just as much as you (ought to) strive to give gifts that are meaningful (to them), your partner is (hopefully) doing the same in return.

Sometimes a husband’s gift-giving repertoire isn’t very varied; that could be because most women aren’t very gracious when they get an unwanted gift from a loved one.  And because lots of men hate to be on the bad side of women, sticking to a sure thing may be boring, but it’s safe.

Don’t tell me men aren’t sensitive.  My client gave his heart by giving his money, something especially meaningful to him.

Would he agree those handbags are worth the asking price?

Probably not.

But his wife is.

Specializing in couples work, Kathe Skinner is a Colorado Marriage & Family Therapist and Relationship Specialist.  An MSer herself, Kathe works especially with couples where invisible disability is part of the mix.   A gift-receiving ingrate in the first years of their marriage may explain why David gave up creativity after he promised her the world and she took him literally.  For over 10 years, she and David have been Certified Instructors for Interpersonal Communication Programs .  Find the schedule for their next Couple Communication Workshop at

Image courtesy of supakitmod

© 2014 Being Heard

WordPress Tags: what gift to give,romantic partners,needs and wants, partner, relationship, marriage, marital, loving partners,credit card debt, overspending,counseling office, therapists office, marriage therapy, marriage counseling, communication, couples, couples problems,HEART,diamond,engagement,handbag,gift,Handbags,gifts,husband,client,money,women

Categories: Effect of invisible (hidden) disability on relationship

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