Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach
Risen from the Grave of Jealousy
My husband and I had been together over twenty-five years. It was a love/hate relationship the entire time.
He grew up in a very broken family. As the baby of his family, his solution to our conflicts was to run away, from the time we started dating. With his lack of commitment even in marriage, he did not contribute much to the family.
As the eldest in my family, I had picked up most of the responsibilities and became resentful. The only thing keeping us together all those years was our deep yearning for a family with harmony and love.
We tried all kinds of self-help, family consulting, marriage enrichment camp, but we were still playing the blame game. It wasn’t only us suffering from the emotional turmoil but also our boys. They didn’t feel safe at home. One minute my husband and I were good and the next minute we would start a cold war that lasted for days.
We were both overly sensitive, which made it especially hurtful when my husband would say things like “You’ll never change.” He said he could not live with me anymore and must leave to save himself. Every few months, he would bring up divorce.
After years of living like this, at times I was so heartbroken that I wanted to give up too. I suffered from headaches and body pain. Sometimes I was too tired to get out of bed after we fought.
One night, after a big fight, as usual I couldn’t sleep. I took out the book The Surrendered Wife, which had been sitting on the shelf for years. I read it in one sitting. The concept was so challenging and awakening. For the first time I saw my husband’s perspective and how he felt. I was convinced how I had contributed to the damage of our relationship.
I tried to change the way we interacted. We had more good days than before, but the wound was so deep that we could easily feel hurt again. Knowing that my husband loves dogs, I even bought a dog as a therapist. However, that was just digging a grave of jealousy for myself. He would get up early to walk the dog every day despite terrible weather but wasn’t willing to help our business with the heavy lifting of refilling our vending machines.
With the boys moving into their teenage years, the fights got more complicated, the tension more intense. The boys joined the never-ending arguments. With parents who could not agree and stand as a united front, adolescence became a nightmare. Seeing the boys struggle, I felt more burdened by guilt and regret. The ups and downs made us feel like we were riding a roller coaster, and it was exhausting.
Out of helplessness and hopelessness, I read Laura’s other book The Empowered Wife. I tried some of the Skills on my own, but they did not stick. I wanted to learn more about the Skills and jumped right into the coaching program. I knew I needed someone to walk with me through the tunnel of hope and hold me accountable to keep practicing the Skills.
First taking care of myself by filling up with the things I love, I could show up as my best self. Disabling my victim mode, I got in touch with my true feelings and acknowledged my fear of being hurt again. With the help of my coach, I learned to choose faith over fear. I summoned the courage to share my true feeling of missing my husband. Rather than criticizing him, I started showing my gratitude and trusting that he loved us and would take care of us. I realized how resentment had eaten up my gratitude and blinded my eyes from seeing what my husband had been trying to offer.
The big evidence that our marriage transformed was the year my father fell and sustained a head injury. My husband was supportive of me flying to Hong Kong and staying with my dad for five weeks. He took care of the boys and handled the vending machines all by himself, on top of his full-time job.
When my dad recovered faster than expected, my husband encouraged me to go to Thailand with my high school friend to enjoy my best vacation ever. I let my friend take care of everything. I just ate, slept, shopped and had all kinds of massages. I could never have imagined how good it felt to be taken care of.
When I got home, my husband said I was glowing. He could not wait to show me this miniature of four turtles stacked on top of each other, which he explained represented the four of us with him at the bottom carrying us. I felt so warm.
My dream had come true: he was stepping up. For the first time in a long time, I felt cherished and adored again.
His words came with actions. He helped, he cared, he took initiative, he cooked dinner, he continued to help refill the vending machines and he participated more in the boys’ lives and engaged in our conversations. He showed affection and I loved how he hugged me from behind or laid down on my lap to share silly things. I was amazed when he said he wanted to stay with me forever. He kept asking why I looked younger and more beautiful!
Of course, this is not the fairytale where we live happily ever after. We still have conflicts. When I catch myself being disrespectful, I apologize and we hug. He is so quick to forgive. When he feels helpless or discouraged, he says he is empowered with me standing by his side. We have turned from enemies into allies.
The Skills not only transformed my marriage but also the relationship with my boys. Instead of being a tiger mom, I am more playful and cheerful. I ripened the fruits of being vulnerable and listening with empathy as my full-grown boy lay down again on my bed to chat with me.
I am truly thankful for how the Skills brought the harmonious home that my husband and I have dreamed of.
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.