For years I truly believed if I could just get my husband to be tidier, more romantic, and more considerate everything would be fine. I told him so, and while that didn’t improve things at all, it did create wall-to-wall hostility and plenty of tension in our home.
For a long time, I didn’t even realize I was controlling. I thought I was just being helpful, acknowledging how I felt, and being honest. Little did I know I was shooting holes in the bucket of our intimacy and absolutely killing any chance of romance.
It wasn’t until I learned to recognize my controlling behavior and make a different choice that the romance returned.
You can choose intimacy or you can choose control but you can’t have both.
If you choose to try to control someone, the intimacy will disappear. If you choose intimacy, you won’t be in control.
Laura Doyle: 00:01 Stephanie, welcome to the Empowered Wife podcast. I’m so excited to have you here and have everyone hear your story. Thank you, Laura. I’m so excited to be here. So how did you first hear about the intimacy skills? Aye. We were actually kind of having a breakdown in my marriage and I was looking for anything, anything to save my marriage. And I remember one day I was in my closet. I was praying really hard and I’m like, just help me find something to save my marriage. And it just, I read a lot of books on Kindle and I read a lot of religious books too. And so it just popped up and just referred me to the Surrendered Wife wife and I’d read one second book kind of similar to it. And so I connected with it. And so I just, I read the book and wow.
Laura Doyle: 00:50 It changed my life. Wow. Okay. So take us back a little bit. What was going on in your marriage? You said there was a breakdown. What was happening? Oh yeah. Um, well, um, we’ve been married for 17 years and I, I was pregnant with my fifth baby and I had just told my husband that I was pregnant and I was so excited. And about two weeks later he came back and told me that he wasn’t happy and he wasn’t happy in our marriage and he hadn’t been for a long time. And, and I, I was crushed. I didn’t, I didn’t know. I had no clue. I had no clue that he was in that place. And, um, I just have all these values about family and eternal families and, and um, okay. Marriage and like that was supposed to be my, you know, my purpose in life and it was all kind of crumbling down.
Laura Doyle: 01:45 And, and I didn’t realize that I was, I was the problem. I was really the problem. And, um, I could look at my husband and blame him all day long, but it was, I was able to read Laura’s book and she gave me some principles that I got to live by and I was just so, so amazed that, I mean, I was such a porcupine wife. And I had this wonderful husband and I was just pushing him out the door. And, um, I, all of my kind of bad traits came right out. I got to see them all when I read her book. So, I mean, what was he saying? Like he, you know, he was saying, I’m not happy. Like, I mean, what, what was, what did you felt like you were going to lose the whole marriage? It sounds like we were on the brink of divorce.
Laura Doyle: 02:32 Yeah. Okay. Um, yeah, he was not happy. We started talking about divorce. We take a trip to Hawaii every year in January, every year. It’s kind of his trip, our trip, my trip, like our couples trip. And this year, that year we were on the beach and we were kind of talking about divorce and what was gonna happen and what was going to happen to our kids and are, you know, businesses in house. And we had, we build a lot, we build a lot together. And it was, I just, I didn’t see a way that it could be saved. I didn’t see a way that was going to work. I didn’t see how it was going to, we were,
Stephanie: 03:12 yeah, we were on the brink of divorce. And so did you try, did you go to marriage counseling? I mean, what were you trying to do to save it?
Laura Doyle: 03:21 Yeah, we did. Uh, I, we were going to marriage counseling and, um, I had a great counselor that someone referred me to, but he was, it was just different. He was a guy and, and I remember seeing there one day, I’m thinking, he’s like, I’ve been married. He was telling him, kind of giving me some advice and he’d only been married for like seven years. Yeah. This was 17 years. We had five kids. We did businesses, we had all this stuff on our plate. And, um, I’m like, and he’s a man. He didn’t understand where I was coming from. And, and um, he actually one time kind of, he was a great counselor, but he was kind of saying, you know, like it can’t be saved, you know, maybe you should look at getting divorced if it’s some other options. And it’s just not what I wanted. It’s not what I wanted. I wanted, I wanted my husband. He’s really a great guy.
Stephanie: 04:13 So how did you, so you were talking about divorce, you didn’t see a way out. The counselor is saying get divorced. How did you at that point, have any faith that you could save your marriage?
Laura Doyle: 04:29 Well, actually it really tested my faith. I didn’t know if I could have saved my marriage. I didn’t know if I could really do this or if there was really a way or it just had to, I kinda thought, well, we could just stay married because that’s what people do. Some people just stay married and be miserable and cause they work it out for the kids or they stay together for the kids. But I wanted my husband and, um, and then when I started reading her, all of her, well, I started reading your book and it had like the six intimacy skills and when I got coaching, Oh, that was life changing. I love coaching. And, um, she just helped me stay in the game. She helped me too. And I have a deep, I have a deep commitment to my faith and, and I just knew that and to marriage and I, when I got married, I got married forever. I got married, you know, that it was like a, I made a promise that I was gonna stay married and, um, and so I just, I guess dug deep down and figured out what I could do.
Stephanie: 05:32 Yeah. And you are, you’re very active in your church.
Laura Doyle: 05:37 I am. Yeah. I’m actually the relief society president in my ward right now. And um, and I do a lot of, uh, service and I do a lot of teaching women and I’m able to use this as everyday skills because they’re principles that we can use all the time. Yeah.
Stephanie: 05:56 So there
Laura Doyle: 05:58 would’ve been a pretty big loss of status in your church, I’m guessing, if, if your marriage had fallen apart. Well, um, it wasn’t necessarily status for me, but yeah, people, cause marriage is very important in our, in our, in our gospel and in our church and what they teach. And it’s just not what I wanted. It’s not what I wanted. You know, it could have happened and he could have went on and got remarried and I could’ve got, went onto and been remarried. But, but it’s not what I wanted. I wanted my family and I wanted my children to have their dad around every day. And I want him to have the teaching from him. And I wanted him to have, I just want you to have a family. And, and this guy was the number one guy in the world to make it work with because he was, he was the father of my children. No one else loved my children. As much as my husband loves my children, no one, it doesn’t matter. And so that was kind of maybe my motivation too is because I had a great guy. I had a great guy, I didn’t want another one.
Stephanie: 07:04 And you love your kids and you wanted that for them too. Yeah. I love that. So, so what happened? So you thought it was hopeless. Counselor says, get divorced, something must have happened. What happened?
Laura Doyle: 07:17 Okay, well, I learned the six intimacy skills I’ve learned. I learned a lot about myself and I learned that, um, I totally changed the way I did my do my life. I didn’t, uh, self care was something that I didn’t do because I was so busy serving everybody else. I was serving in a church, I was serving my, you know, my husband, I was taking care of his books, I was serving my kids and I just kinda, Oh, uh, Laura actually challenge, challenge me to cherish for life weekend to right. 25 things that you like to do. I didn’t have a list. I didn’t have anything that I could put on the list that I enjoyed. Uh, Stephanie, Stephanie. So it really, it’s changed my life completely.
Stephanie: 08:06 Wow. Wow. And you decided, you, you quit counseling at some point, I think, right? Or did you quit counseling or,
Laura Doyle: 08:15 yeah, tell us about quick, I got to say this, this is a great story. Um, we quit counseling and um, the last session in counseling as I was going started the skills and I remember, uh, my coach had told me about apologizing for what from my part in the marriage. And we’re sitting down with the counselor and there’s my husband and he’s kind of getting the the bad end of the deal cause you know, we’re kind of criticizing him and pointing fingers towards him. And um, and I just remember sitting in that session and I told him, I’m like, I just want to apologize for being disrespectful. I didn’t understand respect. I didn’t necessarily expect at all. So I’m like I want to for just being disrespectful. And I did it in front of him and in front of my counselor and I think my counselor thought I had lost it and went insane.
Laura Doyle: 09:02 And um, but we got outside, we got outside of the counseling session and um, we get in the car, it’s just him and I, cause we had a newborn at this time, at this point we get in the car, it’s him and I and he comes over and gives me the biggest kiss, like the most passionate, just the best kiss ever with so much emotion. He’s like, and you just gave me this huge kiss and I’m like, okay, this intimacy stuff is working. That’s when we quit counseling and I’ve been doing the skills ever since. Oh wow. And so, um, so it, it wasn’t just you in a book, you, you got a coach, right? How did that come about? Yes. Um, well I got to try the discovery call first and it was the opportunity. Mmm. I just can’t, I just had to make an appointment and I got to talk to someone on another line about what was going on.
Laura Doyle: 09:57 And this was probably the [inaudible] the first time that I really got to sit down and tell every, tell her what was going on because I was putting a smiley face and acting like everything was fine. And like at home, things were not, not good. So it was the very first time that I was very, I got to open up at a tell her was wrong and it was so, it was so freeing to be able to tell someone what’s going on. And she just, she just said, you know, you’re not alone. I’ve been through the same thing and it just, I just felt like I had someone in my corner. And you said you were telling her things that nobody else knew? Absolutely. Yeah. I was telling her everything. I just, I didn’t know her and she didn’t know me and so I was able to just tell it, tell her everything, tell her the whole story.
Laura Doyle: 10:42 Okay. And she offered me hope. Oh, fantastic. And so, and you ran with that, you ran with that hope. So what’d you do? What’d you do then, then? I, um, I actually signed up and got me a coach and she was perfect for me. She had five kids too, and especially understood kind of where I was at. We were perfectly matched. Um, I think that she was kind of like my little soul sister. She was just my angel, so she kept me, kept me going, and kept me, um, accountable and she would always challenge me and invite me to do something. I love that. So, and so what’s your marriage like now? Well, uh, we just got home from our 21st year anniversary trip. Yeah. And it was just me and my husband and we went to a car show at which I received and we were offered to go do that. And, and um, I just remember standing in the shower this last weekend and just being so happy. I’m like, Oh, this is so happy. I was so happy. He just took me to dinner. He took care of everything. He’s just, Oh, I had a great time. We had a great, great.
Stephanie: 11:59 Wow. And so, um, yeah, so obviously you had this romantic getaway, but what about your day to day life? Like do you ever feel afraid that your husband’s not happy and he wants to leave the marriage?
Laura Doyle: 12:14 No, and I don’t have that at all anymore. Yeah, I feel really connected. Um, we talk and he shares with me all the time. Um, actually the other day he texts me, he’s like, Hey, what are you doing? Where are you at? I’m going to come home. He was looking for you.
Stephanie: 12:31 There’s like going to get some time with you. So, so it sounds like you feel pretty desired and, and, and your relationships maybe a source of confidence now instead of, instead of feeling like a threat, something you could lose. It sounds like you’re feeling,
Laura Doyle: 12:47 Oh yeah, I feel really secure in my relationship and if it, if it, I actually, um, I love coaching because I had a coach call this morning with one of my partners and there was a couple of things that kind of were kind of coming up, you know, kind of bugging me, but I know how to work through them. Now. I know how to work through the problem. I don’t have to, I have to be resentful or mad or, or rant around or criticizing. I just, I know how to fix the problem now with the skills.
Stephanie: 13:12 Oh, I love that. And so now and now you’re a coach. You are someone who helps guide women from where you were with the breakdown to this kind of relationship you’re describing with romantic getaways where he’s pursuing you and desiring to be with you and you feel so secure. How has that, how has that impacted your relationship?
Laura Doyle: 13:33 Oh um, I love coaching. I love coaching and it helps me, it helps me be accountable and I just want to tell other women about these skills because I felt like, you know, the world was lying to me about things I, was supposed to be doing or, you know, just to, I just had all the wrong information and all the wrong information. And now I just want to, I just want to tell the world, this is a, this is a better way to live your life. And I’m so grateful that I found these skills. Yeah. All of my relationships, all of my relationships. What do you mean? Yeah. Um, actually it, um, it’s changed my relationship with my mother before she, before she passed away, actually. Yeah. So we kind of had some tense situations and some tense things that we didn’t really talk about or we didn’t go.
Laura Doyle: 14:29 We kind of walked around and I was able to use vulnerability and kind of show her my heart and show her where I was at and Oh, and it just soften both of us before she got cancer and passed away. So I’m so, eternally grateful for these skills because it helps me in all my relationships and with my son. It helps me with my son. Um, he’s 18 and he’s starting to make his own choices and, and I respect him and I, and I trust that he’s the expert and I don’t have to do it for him. And it’s also being a coach has helped me with my daughter cause I just coach her. I just get to coach her and then I don’t have to be a grumpy ornery, and a know everything mom, cause I don’t know everything for her. So it’s just helped me in, in every relationship in my life, not just with my marriage.
Stephanie: 15:23 That’s fantastic.
Laura Doyle: 15:24 Be a coach forever. I will be a coach forever.
Stephanie: 15:27 Right, right. It’s pretty fun job. Very gratified job. So, um, what would you say to yourself, like if you, now that you know what, you know, if you could go back and talk to Stephanie on the day of that terrible breakdown, the worst day of your life, what,
Laura Doyle: 15:44 what’d you say to her now? Oh, I would say, Oh, I just, I thought that was the worst day of my life. I did. And um, and now looking back, it was probably, it was an opportunity to learn the things that I need to learn. Maybe it was the best day of my life because everything changed. Everything had to change. And, and the lessons that I’ve learned through coaching, through being involved with all the women, with Laura Doyle and just being around amazing women all the time, and they, they hold me accountable too because I’ve watched what they’ve done. I’m like, Oh, I want that too in my relationship. So it’s easy. They’re great examples for me. They’re great examples too. So,
Stephanie: 16:31 and what’s your tip for a woman who’s in this situation you are in where her husband’s halfway out the door and she thinks it’s over and she can’t fix it. What, what’s your, what’s your best tip for her?
Laura Doyle: 16:44 Oh, my best tip is that to get a coach coaching is so powerful. It’s, it’s fine to read the book and it’s okay to get, you know, read the blog or whatever. But there is just so powerful to have a coach because she’s the one that’s going to invite you to do something or stretch you beyond what you’ve ever done before. Because this was something I had never done before. And to be vulnerable and put myself out there, it was, it was really, it was hard and it was really scary and it was just to have someone behind me just let me know that I could do it. So I’m just so grateful for these skills.
Stephanie: 17:22 I love it. Stephanie, this has been super inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Uh, we just, I love it. Thank you.