Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach
I got married in a lavish wedding in 2005. I was 33. I’d always wanted to get married and this was my dream come true. I chose my husband because he was my rock, someone trustworthy, generous and totally devoted to me. He was so romantic and would whisk me away for weekends in Sydney and take me out for dinner at any opportunity.
About six months into our marriage, I became pregnant. I was so excited to have a baby! All my dreams were coming true!
Six months after the baby was born, my three step-children began to move in. I thought we could be a happy family. In reality, it was difficult. I had no idea of self-care and, as a new mum, quickly began to spend all my time looking after family, leaving little time for myself. My step-children were becoming teenagers, which came with additional challenges. I had no idea how to be a parent to them.
I felt alone, scared and like a total failure.
Eighteen months later, our second child was born. During this baby’s first few years, I felt increasingly desperate. Even though I loved parenting, I was exhausted, depleted, resentful and depressed. To survive I became like a robot, going through the motions. I didn’t know that the one thing that could help was to take time for myself.
My husband and I constantly argued about how to look after the children. I told him how he should parent; after all, I was a teacher and had read all the textbooks, so wasn’t I superior to him in this area? I criticized his every move, thinking that I was being “helpful.”
Understandably, he wasn’t really keen on taking my advice.
As the children got older, I went to self-development courses to try to fix our marital problems. Maybe I could learn to do more, communicate better, be more considerate? I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong. I was trying so hard!
I blamed my husband. I constantly told him how he should be, act and parent. Why couldn’t he just do what I told him to do so that we could have a happy marriage and family?
In my quest to improve our marriage, I read magazines and books that said you should work things out through communication and honesty. I tried this, but it only seemed to make things worse. I would bring up my concerns, and we’d end up bickering and arguing, going round in circles. Looking back, most of the time it was me trying to have the last word and to prove him wrong.
We tried to spend time together and go out on dates. On the odd occasion when we did go out to a restaurant, I would end up moaning to my husband about everything that was wrong in my life and tell him what he should and shouldn’t do to make our marriage better.
Unsurprisingly, he didn’t really want to take me out on dates much!
One day I read a book called The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle. I experimented with one of the 6 Intimacy Skills™ in the book. Wow, it had an immediate positive effect on our relationship.
I tried to continue with the Skills outlined in the book but needed some support to sustain them. Unfortunately, I didn’t know of anybody else who could help me. Through my haze of sleepless nights and overwhelm whilst parenting young children, I forgot about the book and went back to my old ways.
Twelve years down the track and still experiencing difficulties in my marriage, I reread the book and got serious about practising the Skills in it.
Unbeknownst to my husband or anyone else, I took on a relinquishing control experiment. For one whole week, I did not criticise, make helpful suggestions or tell him how to do things. Wow, that felt so hard! There were definitely things that I felt I should correct him on, but I promised myself I would give it ONE whole week!
By the end of the week, my husband looked like a different man–he was smiling, looking relaxed and so free. He started to talk more, and we had fun and laughter. At a sporting event that weekend, a parent asked my husband what had happened to him. He commented that my husband looked so relaxed it was like he had been to Fiji for a week!
Wow, I had no idea what my “helpful” suggestions had been doing to my husband. It was at this moment that I knew that Laura Doyle’s Skills could change my marriage.
Being more technologically aware than twelve years before, I googled Laura Doyle and found out that I could get a coach and join a Surrendered Wife Facebook group of women committed to having great marriages. Finally, I could talk to some women who might get me and understand what I was going through!
I signed up for Laura Doyle Diamond private coaching. I was immediately assigned a coach who really understood me and patiently worked through the Skills with me. One of the Skills that she guided me to experiment with was self-care. Self-care! What? It sounded like a waste of time to me because I had sooo much to do! I was working full-time, taking a course and managing the family household. I lived a frantic lifestyle, where I was depleted, exhausted and miserable.
Nonetheless, I wrote a list of the things that I would love to do. Making the list was difficult because I had become numb to the things I loved to do, which in my busy life, just seemed frivolous. I didn’t love myself enough to think, “Hey, you need to care for yourself too!”
However, I decided to schedule self-care, such as taking time to myself, going on nature walks, and hanging out with my girlfriends in person or on the phone.
At first self-care was so difficult. For the first six months I could not shake the guilt of doing things that I loved to do. How frivolous! Shouldn’t I be working hard? Wasn’t I lazy? After persevering, self-care became like second nature to me. I don’t experience guilt anymore, only gratitude and happiness for this lovely life I have been given.
I started to say no to things that depleted me. I took on teaching part-time. Again, I felt guilt, laziness, and fear. Would anybody notice or appreciate me if I didn’t work hard at a full-time, paying job? Would people judge me for being lazy? Gradually I let go of what others thought of me and focused on my own happiness and well-being.
These days, I find myself filled with gratitude for my wonderful life. I have great friends, a healthy work/life balance, and I love spending time with my husband and children. I am really excited to be a Laura Doyle coach! I enjoy the most wonderful relationship with my husband. We often take a day off together and go for a romantic walk or have lunch together.
Our household is more relaxed, fun and happy. I no longer feel exhausted from trying to “fix” myself.
I am proud of my step-children, who have now moved out and have their own families. I relinquish control of how our relationship “should” be, and we enjoy seeing them whenever we can and have a lot more fun together. I allow my husband to be their dad, without interfering.
With the 6 Intimacy Skills, I find myself way more connected and dignified as a mother to my two pre-teen sons too. I am more patient, respectful and acknowledging. They write me beautiful notes, give me kisses on the cheek, hug me and acknowledge me for what I do.
I feel happy, cared for by, and grateful to my husband, who is so generous to me. The man I once fell in love with has returned, and I am thankful that I married him all those years ago.
Laura and I want to help you rediscover the intimacy, passion and peace in your marriage. Click here to apply for your FREE Discovery call.