Blog > When Love Doesn’t Conquer All

When Love Doesn’t Conquer All

How I Got a Second Chance at True Intimacy Darlene, Laura Doyle Certified Coach

In 2000, I was blessed with a second chance: a do-over with Jay, my first love and the father of my only child.

Jay and I had not seen each other or even spoken for almost 20 long years. Somehow, neither of us had married or had other children. When we reconnected, we knew that our love story was one that onlyGod could have written, so this time around we wanted to make it official! We got married and became a family for the very first time.

Although we were so committed to making this renewed love work, as with every relationship, life started to challenge us with bumps on the road and the obstacles that come with marriage and family.

I wish I could say that love conquers all, but I had lived through enough to understand that I had to embrace a new way of thinking and being if I wanted the relationship to work this time.

The problem was, I wasn’t sure what that “new way” looked like.

Fortunately, I discovered just in time exactly how to have a passionate and peaceful relationship. Click To Tweet

As always, I found out just when I needed to. I heard a woman on TV being interviewed by Katie Couric. Her name was Laura Doyle, and she had written a book called The Surrendered Wife. I sat up in bed, scribbled down the title, and listened intently as she described her marriage. I could not believe it sounded exactly like mine.

Who was this woman? What were these Intimacy Skills™?
I had to know. I knew that I wanted the intimate, passionate, and peaceful relationship she was talking about, but I was a strong, independent woman.

Did I really want to “surrender”?

I purchased the book immediately. As I read it, I laughed, I cried, I related to every word.

Then I realized that surrendering was not at all what I had envisioned. I thought I’d have to give up who I was to make my husband happy. Instead, the Intimacy Skills would help me become my best self, and surrendering was actually a beautiful gift I could give to this man I loved.

I also realized that I had been controlling and manipulative to get my way. I wasn’t thrilled to learn that, but I was willing to do what it took to change it.

I started honoring my husband and his choices, even if I did not always agree with them. I made sure that I acknowledged him when he did something for me, no matter how small.

Expressing appreciation became my new favorite thing.

I learned how important respect was to my husband and why practicing it is vital to a healthy, happy relationship.

The better I got at the Skills, the better our marriage became. I saw results immediately through his love.

I started to understand our differences and embrace my husband in all his manliness. His quiet strength was part of what made me feel safe and taken care of. I came to admire him for being a take-charge guy who never compromised who he was because someone might not agree with him.

As I learned to be vulnerable with Jay, I got an unexpected result of surrendering: feeling very feminine!

I had a new softness about me that was attractive. Vulnerability was my new normal. Since I’d spent my life as a self-professed tomboy, this was something new for me–and I loved it!

I also loved that our silliness was back and that I felt like a schoolgirl around him again.

I knew pretty quickly that this was the “new way” I had been looking for.

After years of surrendering, along came our grandson in 2007. How could such a small bundle of joy throw a monkey wrench in my surrendering?

I quickly learned how life circumstances, whatever they may be, can change things and throw you off course.

I had gone into “Mom Mom” mode and started taking over again. It wasn’t long before my husband made it very clear that I did not need to teach him how to be a grandfather!

He was right. How did I know how to be a grandfather? That was his job to figure out.

It was frustrating to realize that he still felt controlled. So back to The Surrendered Wife to try to figure it out on my own.

At that time, there was no Laura Doyle coaching organization. Laura had simply written a book based on her own marriage and research, never expecting that it would become a New York Times bestseller or that thousands of women would reach out for her help.

Since I did not have a support group or a coach to lean on, it was hard to practice the Skills! I kept failing. For example, I’d try to be “helpful” by putting the mortgage payment on the counter instead of reminding him that it was due or cleaning up his garage myself instead of telling him it was a hot mess. I couldn’t understand why he kept retreating, leaving me feeling sad and lonely.

Fortunately, that soon changed. After my 12 years as a surrendered wife, Laura created a support system where women could now benefit from coaching. I joined nine other wives training with Laura to become a Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach.

All my mistakes now serve as teaching tools for other women. As a coach, I get to guide a woman through her blind spots since I was once there. What a delight to share what is possible when all she feels is hopeless. It’s rewarding when a client has an aha moment and realizes that her “helpful” is really controlling.

I’m honored when I get to witness another woman’s transformation and stand by her side as she uses the 6 Intimacy Skills to become her best self. I’m grateful to be part of Laura Doyle’s mission to end world divorce.

What I have learned through coaching is that all women can have a beautiful marriage if they are committed to learning new skills.

Although such change can be challenging, we don’t have to go it alone. When I finally met Laura Doyle and other like-minded women, I found that they’d experienced many of the same obstacles I had. Having support from women who have been there is like a beacon in the night.

How grateful I am to have this tribe of uplifting women who allow me to be 100% authentic, flaws and all. I finally felt accepted for being in love with my misunderstood husband and willing to work on the tough stuff instead of walking away.

As a coach, I continue to receive coaching, which has made me a better woman all around. I get to choose how I want to show up in the world. My walls have crumbled, and I step forward with vulnerability. I have learned to receive instead of deflect. I let go of expectations and allow others to make their own decisions for their lives, and gratitude keeps me focused on my blessings.

Most importantly, I learned to take care of myself and be responsible for my own happiness. What a wonderful feeling to know that I had the answer all along. The new me inspired my husband to become a better man.

My story took a tragic turn when Jay passed away suddenly at the age of 58.

An unexpected gift I received through surrendering was grief without regret. There was nothing left unsaid or undone. I felt loved, honored and cherished by him, and most importantly I learned how to respect him.

The Skills showed me what is possible in marriage and have given me hope that I will attract love back in my life again. It has now been five years and thanks to becoming a coach, I feel empowered by the Skills and this community to bravely move forward and turn the page.

It’s time to start writing Chapter Two.

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.

8 replies on “When Love Doesn’t Conquer All”

This is a wonderful story. It shows how using the intimacy skills works and can turn a marriage around quickly. It’s sad to hear that Darlene’s husband passed. I’m glad that she had no regrets in the time they were together. Thank you for sharing.

Excellent story to hear. Condolences for her loss. I’m afraid that I am the one that was not affectionate to my husband. I was frustrated with doing most of the work in the house and working long hours that I didn’t appreciate how complementary, affectionate, and loving he was. Now he feels like he’s missing something and no longer in love with me. I’m afraid it’s too late. I just started the empowered wife book. Not sure if I should have started with the surrendered wife first.

Brooke I am where you are at. My husband has one foot out the door I really don’t know what to do or who to turn to other than God. I love him so much.

My head understands this but not my heart. My husband is so bitter and angry towards me. I have been financiallly controlling as we are both unwilling to manage our finances. Imho I have started to do a little bit better. My husband imho has some sort of deep rooted problem. He will only work under the table and with someone he has become friends with. We have been married for over 30 yrs and he is content at being roommates. He is mean and manipulates our adult children. I struggle with anxiety and depression and I am certain that a lot of it comes from him not wanting to engage with me in almost anyway. If I suggest an outing he won’t give me a straight answer. Or he’ll make it so one of our daughters comes along. He is very immature and I am very serious. I asked him if I could use his phone because I lost mine and he would don’t let me. I’m not surprised as he enjoys being vulgar and watching vulgar shows and speaks like a drunken sailor to our adult daughters. It so sad. My dad daughters now banter with him in this vulgar way. I financially support my husband and one daughter and just am so crush with myself. When I ask my husband the contribute financially he says you have much more money than I do why should I contribute. And when I try to explain that I don’t have that much and I go into savings every month he says nothing.

I’m no expert.. but I would do as Laura suggests and take care of yourself first. Watch for your husband doing anything nice no matter how small and thank him. Yes, it will fell awkward. But give it a try; one day at a time.

Hi, your books and your blog feels me more hopeful nowadays. I decided to surrender to my boyfriend. We used to see eachother everyday because at the beginning he said he wants to see me every day and he couldn’t be without me even one day. So I did everything to spend as much time as I can with him. Bu now, he wants to be alone more often and talk to me less, I am not sure if I call or text him or not. Because I think I should respect what he wants even he wants to see me less but I am afraid if we become distant if I dont try to see him. I dont know should I call him or not? Please respond, I feel too lost.

I am in a similar boat. Communication by text I would love support on and what you just shared mirrors my current situation.

J, that’s a tough boat to be in–it sounds so lonely. Kudos to you for expressing your desire for support! I would love to offer you support on this and invite you to The Ridiculously Happy Wife coaching program. You can join the waitlist to get all the details right here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *