What Happened After I Saved My Marriage
Kathy Murray, Laura Doyle Certified Master Relationship Coach
Before I learned about the 6 Intimacy SkillsTM, my marriage was headed for divorce.
I blamed my husband for everything, never taking responsibility for my own happiness or cleaning up my side of the street, dismissing my own acts of rage and disrespect. I was controlling, critical and lacked self-care.
I didn’t like who I had become, and obviously he didn’t either.
My husband often resorted to watching TV and snuggling with our pets as I’d rage at him for ignoring my needs. I was unhappy and criticized his choices, such as how he parented. I’d cry, fight, yell and pout to get my way. There were cold wars for days, sometimes weeks.
I had a lot to learn.
Trouble was, I didn’t know any of that. What I did know was that my husband was no longer attracted to me and that I needed help. So after reading the book The Surrendered Wife, I emailed Laura Doyle and begged her to help me save my marriage.
That was in 2001, and I’ve never left her side.
One of the first things I learned was that the Intimacy Skills empower me to be a more dignified woman, wife and mother. They’re not really about changing my husband, although he responded to me much more affectionately after I started practicing them.
As much as I welcomed these changes, they weren’t all smooth sailing.
The most difficult Skill for me has been vulnerability.
Here’s what I mean.
Admitting that I had limitations and couldn’t continue to shoulder the burden of managing our finances was a bold move for me. I had controlled the money and insisted on how it should be spent for years.
Reversing myself on that point was scary.
I was so afraid that if I surrendered the finances to my husband, I wouldn’t get to buy whatever I wanted, like the endless purses I collected as part of my retail therapy. Yet, I had a desire to be free of that chore so I could experience receiving, which felt very vulnerable–but also appealing.
It took me five years to relinquish control of the finances and receive my husband’s generous help, gifts and trips graciously.
When I did, he supported me leaving my lucrative 25-year career to follow my passion. He found ways to take even more off my plate while providing that tender place to fall when I got nervous about this scary transition. He’d sit with me, hold my hand, hug me, listen to me, take me on nature walks and tell me it was all going to be okay.
As he saw me taking better care of myself, he piled on even more self-care by inviting me to get a massage or a nap.
He’s truly my hero and biggest fan, bragging about my work with the Skills to everyone he talks to. The poor guy had it in him the whole time; I just wasn’t very allowing before the Skills.
After surrendering financially, I thought I had arrived. I had finally made it with the Skills and saved my marriage!
Little did I know that more opportunities to be vulnerable lay ahead, like when I started connecting with the other students in Laura’s Relationship Coach Training and talking to women who reached out to her for help with the Skills.
I had never imagined having such personal conversations admitting how controlling I’d been! I’d been an accountant for 25 years, so sharing about things like that wasn’t the norm.
But once I did, it was freeing and empowering. I felt self expressed and authentic telling my truth, owning my side of the street. I felt alive, like I was making a difference.
My vulnerability journey took a scarier turn when I told my surrendering story–warts and all–to the media, including The Wall Street Journal, First for Women magazine, and the BBC.
When the journalists asked to speak to my husband too, I agreed even though I had no idea what he would share about his experience of me practicing the Skills and what I was like before.
It was exhilarating when the BBC story went viral as women from all over the world connected with the embarrassing things I shared, like how disrespectful I was nagging and trying to control my husband, which led to my sexless marriage.
I learned that my vulnerability draws others closer. Going public with my story also empowered me to really connect with my heart, my purpose and my passion.
Next, I shared authentically with a live audience at the Cherished for Life Weekend, and so did my husband, who answered anonymous questions as part of the Man Panel.
My marriage was already amazing compared to how it had been before the Skills, but after I told my story on stage it got even better.
Whether I’m sharing my story with coaching clients or while leading a workshop, it helps me keep the Skills alive in my life. Like the other coaches here at LDC, I find that empowering and inspiring others does the same thing for me.
Now that I experience this empowerment every day, I can’t imagine my life any other way. I suspect my marriage would suffer if that inspiration went missing.
My husband is the same amazing guy I married. He gets to be even more amazing now that I’ve learned to relinquish control vulnerably and to receive, receive, receive.
He does everything for me. He cleans the house, buys our groceries, hires a monthly housekeeper for us, manages our finances, is generous in his giving, takes me on trips, cooks, does laundry, brings me lunch, takes care of the yards, home and car maintenance, and is always asking what else he can do for me.
Before the Skills, he was making very little; after I surrendered the finances he built a huge business. Before the Skills, I had put a stop to his desire to please me; now he really gets to be my hero.
Even though it was the hardest Skill to practice, becoming vulnerable has given me intimacy, peace and gifts beyond my wildest dreams.
Which Intimacy Skill is the most challenging for you?
Hi! I’m Laura.
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.