Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach
Finding My Best Friend Again
My parents had a miserable relationship. From as early as I can remember, there was fighting and tension in my home. I swore that I would never fight when I got married someday.
That day arrived when, at the young age of 23, I married a sweet, thoughtful and generous guy! He was caring and he delighted in making me happy. I felt I had found my soulmate and now I had to make good on my promise to myself never to fight with him.
Then our family started growing. Within 14 years I became an exhausted and overwhelmed mom of 7 beautiful kids. Still, in my mind, I’d been successful in creating the type of marriage I wanted because my husband and I never argued. There was no fighting or yelling in our house. No raised voices. Ever.
But I was confused. If we weren’t fighting, then why was I feeling so lonely? Why did I feel so dead inside? And why did I have so little to talk to my husband about aside from our kids?
I felt like we were business partners in the business of raising the 7 little people who needed so much from us. It was a difficult business that kept us very busy. We were compatible business partners, equally devoted to our young charges. But I felt so empty. I wanted more but didn’t know what was wrong or what I should change.
So I volunteered for multiple organizations, hoping that would make me feel better. It helped for a time. I attended many lectures and classes that I thought would fill me up inside. One lecturer was discussing marriage and quoted from The Surrendered Wife. She strongly encouraged us to read the book.
At the time I still didn’t realize that anything was wrong with my marriage. I still defined a successful marriage as one without fighting. But I decided to read the book just for educational purposes.
Immediately my eyes were opened to the fact that, while we weren’t fighting, we definitely did not have the marriage of my dreams.
Before reading the book, I didn’t even know what I was missing or what I wanted. If we were going to order takeout, I automatically ordered what my husband wanted because I thought that made me a good wife. If we had a late night ahead, I encouraged him to take a nap so he’d be well rested while I took care of the kids resentfully. If he swept the kitchen floor, I got upset at him because I thought it made me look bad for not doing it.
I declined most offers of help because, in my mind, only weak people need help. I tried to make all decisions because I thought I would be more endearing to him if I didn’t need him.
All of a sudden, my eyes were opened to everything I was missing out on. I immediately started making changes. I first worked on relinquishing control. “What do you think?” and “I hear you” became frequent sayings for me. It was a big adjustment for my husband, but he slowly learned the steps to our new dance and started making decisions himself. Good strong decisions that I respected.
Next, I worked on self-care, which was much harder for me, going completely against the martyr I thought I should be. I started building naps and exercise into my schedule. I took up tennis and played several times a week. I had weekly manicures, joined a book club, and went on long walks. I felt better than ever.
I slowly ventured into the world of vulnerability. I told my husband that I missed him. His eyes lit up and he eventually wooed me back.
I accepted his offers to help with the kids and responded graciously. He started offering help more and more. He bought me gifts. Some I loved, some I didn’t, but I accepted them all and they kept on coming. I let him know which coffee I preferred in town, and he started buying me coffee there instead of his preferred coffee shop.
I soon found us lingering at the dinner table because we had more and more that we wanted to share. I found him flirting with me and enjoying the romance.
I marvel at his increased confidence and the strength with which he makes decisions. He is becoming the best friend that I had missed all these years!
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.