How I Got My Happily-Ever-After Back
Sue, Laura Doyle Certified Coach
Once upon a time, there was a prince named Gregory who came across a fair maiden lady named Sue. And as the story goes, after it took them so long to find one another, they were destined to live happily ever after–or so they thought.
The differences between us began to appear when we were engaged and Greg moved into my townhouse. It wasn’t really the everyday things such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry that we struggled with. I was deeply blessed to have found a 55-year-old bachelor who was quite self-sufficient and self-motivated.
Where we struggled was our communication, mutual decision-making, and emotional differences.
I controlled all the finances and planned to continue to control all the decisions regarding my townhouse, along with many other things.
I gave my controlling opinion about his truck-driving job, which had him on the road for weeks on end. As a weekend wife, I was exhausted from doing everything and lonely because he was hardly ever home. I was not handling it emotionally well at all, which made him miserable with regret and unable to make me happy.
We argued whenever we had to make any decisions. He felt I wasn’t validating him at all, whereas I felt I was thanking him all the time. How much more do I have to say thank you? He wasn’t feeling respected, and I was feeling resentful.
Whenever we tried to resolve our issues by talking, he would give me his logical approach to everything, and I was told that I was too emotional and taking things too personally.
I would then shut down or explode, and nothing would get resolved. It hit my self-esteem and felt abusive to me. I felt my opinion was never heard. Greg, too, was feeling like I was not listening to him.
It all came to a head when we attempted to purchase a home.
I had been through the process before and knew what to expect. My husband, on the other hand, had never experienced anything like it. It was fast-paced and caused a lot of anxiety for him. For me, it was the opposite; I was buzzing from all the excitement of finding a home that I loved.
We couldn’t agree on negotiating on the house, which caused such a huge fight that we came out lashing at one another. There we were, 9 months into our “happily-ever-after” marriage, and he says that he is falling out of love with me!
I was crushed, all my dreams torn out from under me. I lost it and didn’t hold anything back.
The next day, I had to call the realtor and our pastor. And say goodbye to the home of my dreams.
There I was again, in my third failing marriage. It made me ask, “Why is this happening again?” I thought I’d found my prince––the one who was going to love me ’til death do us part!
I contacted a marriage counselor and made an appointment, desperate to save our marriage. Greg, thankfully, agreed to go.
The greatest advice the counselor was able to give was on a yellow post-it note: Read The Surrendered Wife by Laura Doyle.
It was like God working a miracle. I had read The Surrendered Single a few years before and knew that it was one of the reasons I’d found Greg in the first place. So I ran to the bookstore immediately and began to read, desperate for an answer to this insanity.
As I read about Laura’s marriage, it felt like I was reading about myself. I felt connected when she described the “control” I had over my husband. I discovered that my challenges were about fear–my fear.
I knew I had trust issues, but I didn’t realize that I did not trust the one man who showed me every day that he adored me.
I began applying Laura’s principles to my life and was very surprised by my husband’s responses to them.
My first experiment was with respect. Following our marriage counseling session, my husband was expressing his concerns with our plan to purchase a home and how discouraged he was not knowing if it would be enough to make me happy.
His words were cutting like a knife into my heart, fueling my fear of rejection. My head was spinning with fear as all I heard was “no” to a home and to my dreams for a beautiful marriage.
Suddenly, Laura’s voice came to me and reminded me about respect and how it’s like oxygen to men. So, I squeezed out “I hear you.” The next thing I heard was a huge sigh from my husband and a strong “THANK YOU!”
It was at that moment that I realized I had not been respectful with honoring his words, thoughts, or ideas. I realized how important respect is to validating my husband’s existence in our marriage.
I then tried on relinquishing control. My husband was asking my opinion about some remodeling decisions in my townhome. In the past, I would always provide my opinion then have expectations that he would do as I suggested, right?
It never worked. My opinion caused arguments and nothing was ever accomplished; the only thing that came consistently was more emotional pain for me.
This time I stopped, got the courage to try something new, and stated, “Whatever you think, honey.”
My husband instantly replied, “No, it’s important that I hear your opinion.”
As tempting as it was, I deferred back to him and repeated, “Whatever you think–I trust you.”
I saw my man grow taller–literally–as he began to explain how he was going to solve the issue. He became my hero.
What I noticed immediately was a feeling of freedom! I no longer needed to make all these decisions myself! The more I relinquished control, the more I felt trust grow between us and saw the arguments dissolve.
As I began practicing each of the 6 Intimacy Skills™, I saw hope once again. I began to rebuild our relationship and create the happily-ever-after marriage we were destined to enjoy.
I have been blessed to know Laura Doyle through her coaching sessions and to meet other surrendered wives and girlfriends in the process. Laura is truly a godsend in my eyes and a woman of integrity.
Each day I try my best to practice the Intimacy Skills with my husband. I am, once again, feeling cherished by my prince, and we are truly living happily ever after!
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