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Top Three Signs You’re the One Wrecking Your Marriage

Are you the one who holds the key to fixing your relationship?

Everybody knows marriage is a 50-50 partnership, but what if it isn’t?

What if one of you is wrecking the marriage and the other person is just responding in kind? Sure, both people are suffering and stressed, but what if one person has the key?

Surprisingly, that’s what I see in my relationship coaching practice every day. And the person who’s usually wrecking things is overwhelmingly…

…the wife.

Now, if you’re a wife, that doesn’t mean it’s your fault.

If your marriage is in the ditch, it’s because no one ever showed you the Intimacy Skills.

A happy marriage–just like anything else that’s worthwhile in life–takes some skill. If they didn’t offer Relationships 101 at your school and you’re from a broken or miserable home, where would you have learned?

The good news is that with a little training, any woman can learn the intimacy skills—just like anyone can learn to drive

If you’re an unhappy wife, you can return your broken, DOA marriage back to the euphoria of the early days.

I’m talking about messed-up marriages where he had an affair or is having one still, or you’re separated, or you already have divorce attorneys.

The affection, connection, and trust can be completely restored. I’ve seen over 150,000 women single-handedly revitalize the intimacy and passion in their relationships by practicing the intimacy skills I discovered 15 years ago while trying to save my own failing marriage.

But do you really have the power to transform your hopeless and exhausting marriage?

If you identify with two of these telltale signs then the answer is definitely yes–you can make your marriage playful and passionate again:

1. You’re responsible for everything

One of the most common signs that you’re unwittingly wrecking you’re marriage is that you’re responsible for everything—from making the doctor’s appointments to paying the bills; from helping the kids with their homework to earning the money; from cleaning the house to calling someone to fix the refrigerator.

Yes, you’re efficient and productive–but the price of being superwoman is loneliness and overwhelm. Relying on your husband to handle some of the chores is scary because you feel he would drop the ball and there would be hell to pay. By doing everything yourself, you can make sure it’s is done the right way. That seems only logical, but it’s actually undermining your relationship in two ways. One is that you’re resentful, which ruins the intimacy. The other is that your husband knows that you don’t trust him to do anything important, which hurts.

Consider resigning from a few of your jobs. Let him handle dry cleaning and dentist appointments. Instead of telling him which cell phone plan to choose for the family, try saying, as one of my clients did, “Whatever you think. I trust you.” He won’t do it your way, but he may surprise you by finding solutions you never thought of. You’ll have a true partnership again instead of feeling like the mom of a lazy teenager.

2. You believe your husband is the problem

You’ve done a lot of work on yourself and he hasn’t. You’re more spiritual, smarter and cultured. You think that if he would at least try to improve in the ways that you’ve asked him to then there would be hope for your marriage—but he won’t.

That’s what all of my clients think at first. It’s pretty eye-opening to see how experimenting with a few changes yourself can have an immediate, positive impact on your marriage.

Your husband is not as unspiritual, stupid and uncivilized as you think he is. You wouldn’t have married an idiot—you’re too smart for that. But it’s not helping the intimacy when he looks in your eyes and sees those insulting beliefs directed back at him. Who wouldn’t be defensive?

Until you clean up your side of the street by treating your husband more respectfully you can’t be sure who’s causing most of the suffering in your marriage. If you’re like most of my clients, you’re wondering, “What about him treating me more respectfully?” But since the only person you can control is yourself and you want a respectful marriage, try being the first to be respectful.

One simple way to be respectful is to really listen to him without agreeing or disagreeing. A great phrase for doing just that is: “I hear you.”

Even if he’s saying things that make you think, “There he goes again,” the act of listening without trying to teach, correct or criticize him will clear up the wall-to-wall hostility in a hurry. If you find it impossible not to roll your eyes when he’s talking, consider intimacy skills training so you can maintain your dignity and avoid a hostility hangover.

3. You’re angry and unhappy a lot

To have a happy marriage, you have to be happy to begin with. And since the only person who can make you happy is you, it’s critical to focus on your happiness every day. You’ll not only have a more enjoyable life, you’ll give your relationship a fighting chance.

You might be thinking that you would be happier if you weren’t in a broken marriage, but if you were happier, you wouldn’t be in a broken marriage.

Consider committing to doing three things that make you happy every day—activities whose only purpose is to make you feel good. You might think that’s absolutely impossible with all your responsibilities, but how else do you expect to get happy? By getting divorced? That never works.

There’s nothing more irresistible than a happy dance, and if you haven’t been doing yours lately that’s a big part of what’s gone missing. He used to make you happy, and he can again—but only if you make yourself happy first.

Snippy, exasperated and angry isn’t the real you anyway. When you find your way back to being the Girl of Fun and Light your husband will find you irresistible—just like he did in the very beginning.

To learn the secrets of feeling desired, cherished and adored for life, sign up for free video training at

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

32 replies on “Top Three Signs You’re the One Wrecking Your Marriage”

i am separated from husband, and hope to rebuild my marriage of 16yrs, before it ends in divorce, I have found your information very useful so far, and hope to learn more and implement these changes and see if it helps. Thank you

Dear Laura
Thank you for sharing this gem of advice with us.

It is so difficult sometimes to take that side step and think laterally…

You have really hit a few nails on the head.

Last night I watched a programme of a woman with terminal cancer who wanted to make sure she had done everything possible in before “kicking the bucket”….

She seemed to become fun loving despite facing certain death in the near future..perhaps there is something in that for all of us..we live this life like there is no chance for tomorrow…!

Thank you for your books, Laura. I’m still working (struggling) to implement the intimacy skills. I have a question. How (or should you?) express disappointment without escalating things and causing more distance? My husband keeps telling me he’ll get the groceries and diapers on his way home from work, but week after week, he calls me and tells me he’s too busy or tired to do it. I know you recommend not criticizing men, but I feel so resentful and worn out. I feel so unloved that I’m not even worth a trip to the store.

Anne, sounds painful! I totally get the disappointment. My first thought was to wonder how you’re self-care is going? Sounds like you have a lot on your plate. One idea is to go over the top with thanking him and being happy when he DOES go to the store for you. Another is to focus on what your husband DOES do for you already–like working hard to support the family. Finally, I’d love to see you have some support as we all struggle with the Intimacy Skills without it. I invite you to consider coming to the Cherished for Life Retreat next month to let your Girl of Fun and Light play for three days, and to build some muscle memory around the skills so it becomes more effortless.

Thanks very much Laura. I would love to go to a retreat but will you be planning on having any on the East Coast soon?

One other question: our sex life has declined recently. I’ve always been very willing and happy in bed with my husband and I try to look attractive, wear pretty nightgowns. I’ve told him how much I love our sex life and how happy he makes me in bed. But he told me if I want sex, I’ll have to initiate it. I feel uncomfortable with this and it really doesn’t make me feel wanted. Is there anything I can do?

I love this. A couple of years ago, when our son was nearly one, our marriage was suffering terribly. I felt, as you said above, that I had a lazy teenage son. He is considerably younger than me and speaks English as a second language, and as a very extroverted, organised person, I was organising absolutely everything. I did and said all of the things you have mentioned here as the WRONG things to do! He would go out with his new friends 2-4 nights a week, while I stayed at home with our baby. I was miserable and crying all the time. Naturally we didn’t have sex either, and since that is basically what ended my first marriage, I was scared of the same happening.

I took him to counselling (another blog I really identified with on here!), to meet with a pastor, and to a psychologist. Nothing worked. We would both criticise each other, try to be nice for a day, and then everything would be back to normal.

I also suspected he was getting very close to a female friend, and it was a recipe for trouble (I don’t believe anything happened, but I believe it was on the cards).

Then my husband suggested he should move out for a while. I knew that many couples break up in the first two years of their child’s life – and he is a child of divorce himself (and his father had an affair, and a child with that woman) – so I said “No, we will not be a statistic. You married me and so you’re stuck with me. Don’t you give up and give our son the life you had, which you always resented, and the terrible relationship you had with your father.” He did agree he didn’t want that, which I felt was a ‘win’, but nothing particularly changed overall.

The turning point for me is one day after I was lecturing him about going out so much, as well as not helping around the house – he turned to me and said “What’s the point in me doing anything? Nothing I ever do will be be good enough for you anyway.” And it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I broke down and cried because I knew that I was a nagging old woman, and pushing him away. I said “No wonder you always want to go out. I wouldn’t want to stay home with me either.” (He felt bad then too, and said ‘No, you’re right, I should stay home more.’ Haha)

I downloaded ‘The Love Dare’, which I did half of, (I like that too) and then I searched for books and ended up reading ‘The Surrendered Wife’. With all the trying, the nagging, the suggesting, the counselling, the praying, the hoping – this book is the thing that saved my marriage.

I stopped nagging and started saying ‘Whatever you think, my love.” He thought that was the best thing ever! Like that man in one of your videos, his first reaction was, “What? Really? Whatever I think?” After one weekend, he loved it so much (and boy, I realised how often I did give him advice), he was telling his mates! They all wanted a wife like that too!

I won’t say that the sex part of our relationship has gone through the roof, but at least he initiates it most of the time, which never happened before. He’s grown up, taken more responsibility, and is more helpful around the house. He has taken over the finances, and certain jobs like taking the bin out. I never mention it, and if he forgets, we have a stinky, overflowing bin which I don’t comment on (and it only happened once!)… Honestly, I have lowered my expectations a bit too – if he doesn’t do the folding, I ignore it, and one of us does it eventually. I just choose not to be bothered by it anymore. I have lapsed every now and then, and tend to get a bit naggy, but then I remember and back off.

He knows I did some reading etc, but doesn’t know exactly what I read or what I did. He says that one of the best things about me now is that I don’t nag him, and I am happy with him making his own decisions – that he doesn’t feel pressure anymore. So that makes me happy.

Coincidentally, he doesn’t go out much anymore. Correction – he does go out, but 95% of the time, it’s to take me to dinner or a movie.

After a couple of years of happiness, it’s hard to believe we were ever in ‘that place’, but I’m actually glad we were. It’s helped me grow and mature as a wife, and as a person overall I think.

And now, twenty years into my current career, I’ve tried some new things recently, like writing fiction, which is going well… but I felt like I wasn’t quite hitting the nail on the head in terms of what my true calling and passion was… but this week it hit me out of the blue while making a prawn salad for dinner 🙂 I want to be a relationship coach. It was by total coincidence that I found this site while looking for coaching courses, and said to myself, “Hey, that’s the author of The Surrendered Wife! Fancy her teaching these courses! It was meant to be…”

Very excited about the future. It would mean the world to help another woman’s marriage, the way I helped my own 🙂


Wow! What a great story of transformation! I so admire your courage in saying, “Whatever you think” to your husband. I know it’s scary! You sound like you’ll be a wonderful coach. I look forward to getting to know you in coach training!

I am working really hard at my self-care, but find that I frequently fall into a heap. I am feeling quite hurt as my husband has decided on some time out but isn’t communicating with me (because they are not in the right state of mind to do so). I have resorted to brief texts but that is about the level of communication at the moment. It is so hard to apply 6 skills when I’m not even getting a look-in.
I get angry and I know it is because I feel hurt.
How do I have ‘all the power’ when I am feeling so abandoned? Or alternatively cannot even exercise the 6 skills (with the exception of self-care)? Very hurt and afraid

Heather, I can see why you feel so hurt and afraid given the very limited communication in your relationship. I’m also so pleased to hear you’re devoting yourself to being happy and doing things that delight yourself. That’s a great start! The best thing I can suggest given the stress at home is that you apply for a discovery call here:

THere’s every reason to be hopeful and optimistic about your marriage now that you have the skills!

Beryl, It’s because we’re the sexier sex, the ones with the tail feathers and the magnets that attract our men to us, the gatekeepers for sex and the ones who initiate the most divorce (up to 90% among college educated women) and the ones who talk about, think about and fantasize about relationships from the time we’re little girls.

I think it’s great news really. We have a lot of power to make our relationships great. And with great power comes great responsibility to learn the skills that nurture the emotional intimacy.

Laura, I am so disappointed and hurt by the notions that many female marriage websites push. I know you will say you do not teach husbands. It’s the same mantra that Is proclaimed on most every other marriage website owned by a woman. But I am curious as to why you feel the need to write that wives are the ones who destroy the marriages. Not trying to be difficult, but my group needs to have a little clarity. Here’s why:
My husband and I attend a regular discussion group that consists of couples and some singles, from both genders. The group leader, is male with female and male assistants. We discuss topics that affect marriage. We come prepared with articles from different sources, such as marriage websites, marriage books, and also, relationship conferences, held nearby.
Your articles and question came up about this “blame the wife” trend, for marriage problems. It was pointed out by a man in the group, not a woman, that males generally won’t write websites articles where they blame each other, but instead support other men. . This man who brought up the topic asked the women in the group, why we women were so mean and ugly to each other. Your article was used as an example of how women would rather accuse other women. He included how women marriage writers on the Internet blame wives and say wives commit sins that husbands actually commit. Others agreed as someone stated that, females will worship and exalt men.
I know that I don’t teach men, but I sure am aware enough to see and recognize that husbands wreck their marriages too. The evidence is clear and plain to see. Why do women hurt their own gender members ?

I can see where it looks like blame, but I write with the intention of showing women their immense power in relationships. And it’s true that with great power comes great responsibility (just like spiderman says). The part that was surprising to me before I learned the Intimacy Skills is that we women are the keepers of the relationship. That was a shocker!

Once you see how powerful you are and you know how to use your feminine gifts, marriage is a completely different experience. And by different, I mean much, much better.

I didn’t know I was ruining my marriage in the bad old days. I thought I was being helpful and “working on the relationship.” But I wasn’t. I was focused on what he was doing, squandering my energy and making us both miserable.

Starting with being accountable myself for all that I did to wreck my marriage has been powerful for me and lots of other women who have benefitted from what I teach. The tricky part was realizing that I was wrecking it–but that’s where the empowerment was to begin to do things differently. That’s something I wish for all women to see their own power. That’s my intention and purpose.

I agree 100% with this. To make woman feel like they are wrong 100% of the time is not the message that should be going out to woman. Not every relationship is the same. Not every person is the same. It’s like your advice is a prescription for everyone. If your married to Narcissistic person you need to use a certain psychology. If your married to a Alcoholic you need to use a different method. When it comes to woman being sexy and being able to use that. Yes it works to a extent. I worked as a exotic dancer for 12 years so I have a PhD in that. What you might not realize some men are financially more secure than the woman. When men have money they will go get a 20 something year old on the side. When you just happen to be 20 years plus and have had a few kid’s of his you do not have a chance. This topic is too advanced for a one size fits all solution.

Kitt, When I think about women who are wrecking their marriages, I think of how I might be able to help them stop suffering. How does focusing on men who wreck their marriages serve you?

Hi Laura
I wrote to you in August at the a low point, married for 16yrs i was seperated from husband and heading for divorce, for all these years of waiting for him to change to make me happy and have a peaceful home for kids, i decided to make all the changes to see what happens (tips from surrended wife) . My husband and I are back together and atmosphere in our home has completely changed, and we are all alot happier, yes we have moments but i have control on how i feel and deal with things. now im waiting my book empowered woman, its in the post. Thank you Laura so much. It took me many years of waiting for someone else to change my life when all along it was up to me

Anne, I’m so happy to hear your great news! Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished in your marriage. I admire your humility very much. WHat a gift to your whole family. Hooray!

If you feel a call to help other women create intimacy and passion in their homes again, you might consider becoming a relationship coach here:

I would love to have your help. There are so many women still hurting and wondering if it’s possible for them. You’re proof that it is!

How can I work on making things better from my side of the street when my husband moved out last week? It seems in 20/20 hindsight that he was slowly clearing things out for a while. Fortunately, we have never ever uttered the D word. He did say that everything stays the same in terms of paychecks for the bills and the health insurance. But his parting words were that he will Never Ever live with us again. He needs “space”. Tomorrow is Christmas and we will be seeing him, but after that obligation passes, I am afraid to contact him because it might overwhelm his space. What kind of fine line am I treading? I am grasping at any ray of hope, like maybe his need for space will just be through his holiday vacation. Others say I am building myself up for a big disappointment, that once the husband moves out, the chance of a reconciliation are practically zero.

Suzanne, I’m sorry to hear about your husband moving out. That must be incredibly painful. The good news is that here’s every reason to believe that your marriage can be saved, and that means it will have to be better than it was before for both of you. This is the breakdown before the breakthrough. It’s all in your hands to have the outcome you want. Even though your interactions are limited, if you use the Intimacy Skills during those interactions he’ll remember why he fell in love with you to begin with.

I encourage you to consider getting some support, starting with a complimentary discovery call, which you can apply for here:

I came across this article on Pinterest and wow was it on point. From doing anything and everything to not respecting him. I hate to admit it but I am the one ruining my relationship. I am so glad I ran across this article because it gave me good insight on what I can do to make it better. Thank you for helping me save my marriage.

Salud, I admire your willingness to look at yourself. Not everyone can do that. It takes courage. It’s exciting because now you can make your marriage amazing again.

I was married for 27 years and the last years were difficult due to my husband’s various health issues. Laterally he lived with chronic pain following a stroke 5 years ago.
We had grown apart . A few weeks ago he told me that our marriage had been over for years and that it was now an unhappy marriage and that we had grown apart. He suggested we should separate. He then went to stay with his sister for a week which was already arranged.
I did not hear from him until an email at the end of the week stating what day he would return.
I replied and said if he wanted freedom , not to return. He said he would come for his things.
Unfortunately, the police came to my door 10 days later .he had died of a heart attack , alone in a hotel room whilst looking for a place to rent for himself.
My sons, 20 and 21, and I are devastated.
I found your details on line and wish I had been able to repair my marriage before all this happening. I did and do still love him the same as when we first met.
I think I had become his carer/ mother as you state ,the breadwinner and the controller of the finances, all unhealthy and I so wish I had reached out to him as he withdrew into himself. We had not been out together for a couple of years.

What if you’re having all of these problems but you’re not even married yet? (We’ve been together almost 3 years and have been engaged for 2 of them…

What about the husband who thinks working nights outside of the home is enough that he doesnt need to contribute to the cleaning, cooking bills etc and for me to work 65 +hrs a week (in home daycare provider)and be responsible for everything 3 teenagers,bills, cleaning, maintenance, oil changes etc how do you give him extra responsibility when he doesn’t want it

Dear Laura
After being separated during a time, i try to Focus in your suggestions, and It worked. After a time, i couldnt trust in him, and i was very unhappy. This affected my marriage. My husband asked me for divorce. He wanted repair the marriage in a year, but i was very hurt, and i didnt reply him in a lovely way. Some friends counseled me not to speak with him,..Finally, we are divorced one year ago. All your books say the right thing. There is not another way to have a good marriage. The woman has the poder to create a Happy and lovely marriage. I counsel all people Who tell me, we are separated, or, we cant continúe, i say, please, It can fix It. You can do It…I dont know if we Will another chance in the future, but It happens, i promise you, i Will APPLY all your counsels,Laura, day by day.
Thanks for the marvellous work and effort you are doing!!!

So I have been guilty of number 1, but what happens if you let go of a bunch of tasks and he just simply does not do them? That has happened in my marriage. I stay out of him taking care of the yard and now our backyard is a patch of thistles because he doesn’t do his responsibilities. I have said nothing to him. What do I do now?

Stephanie, especially after you bravely let go of all those tasks, him not doing them is so discouraging! I admire your commitment and willingness to try something different. It sounds like something is going missing for sure. You shouldn’t have to live with a patch of thistles or a man not taking care of his responsibilities. That’s does not sound empowering!

I remember the days when my husband would not fulfill his responsibilities and how incredibly frustrating that was. Now he takes care of everything! You too can inspire your husband to take more initiative.

I would love to get you the support to do that. Here’s the waitlist for The Ridiculously Happy Wife coaching program:

Hi Laura,

My wife and I are newly married. Before the marriage there was mutual respect and a lot of empathy and love.

As soon as we went on honeymoon, we found we would bicker over the smallest, most insignificant things. I know I might be viewing this from a biased point, but to me it seemed that she was extremely irritable and moody. I stepped back and tried not to take the snaps and distant behavior personally and things seemed to start calming down.

Before going on the honeymoon, we agreed that we would have a tight month following the wedding month as we thought that having a good honeymoon and having to cut back on some of our spending afterwards was an alright trade. I’d like to point out here, I am the only one that is employed, she is a full-time student.

When the month actually rolled around and we couldn’t eat out as often or get treats and spoil ourselves, she turned sour. She blamed me for the month being as difficult as it was. Told me that she can’t trust me with the important matters and that I was irresponsible. All our needs were still met and we were able to spoil ourselves, just less often.

I was very hurt by this, as I am a religious man and believe it is my responsibility to earn my wife’s trust in terms of managing the household.

I looked at what my religion tells me about this – to love her unconditionally. Even when she has very little respect for me and doesn’t feel like she can trust me. Even when she says hurtful things that I know aren’t true, but she believes to her core.

When we have arguments now, I focus on not getting angry and responding in a loving, caring way. I don’t feel it’s made much difference though – she has me walking on egg shells in every conversation and she is the one who gets flustered and goes quiet. I try to give her non-sexual physical touch in these scenarios, but it feels like I’m offering myself to her entirely and she only responds with criticism, cold shoulders and harsh words.

I don’t know what I can do to turn things around. At the moment, my plan is to just keep intentionally loving her and hope it causes a change in her behavior and her opinion of me.

Tyrone, this does sound hurtful and so disappointing. Kudos to you for reaching out for hope and support. While we work exclusively with women here, I would love to share this a blog post with you. We’re standing for you and your marriage!

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