Sometimes it feels like everything else is more important to your husband than you are: work, the kids, whoever is texting him. Even the dog gets more of his time than you do!
You’re craving his attention so much it hurts, and yet the whole day passes–and the next and the next–and he has barely acknowledged that you exist.
It’s easy to get resentful and feel unimportant. Him just asking about your day or sitting next to you on the couch would be so simple to do and go such a long way with you.
But he doesn’t. He won’t.
I still remember what that was like. It was terrible!
Laura Doyle: My guest Anna was still a newlywed when she realized her husband was so distant that he didn’t even look up when she walked in the door to their tiny studio apartment.
Laura Doyle: Trying to get his attention and affection was so difficult and painful. She wondered if she would ever have the connection. She thought she’d signed up for.
Laura Doyle: And then Anna made a game changing decision that not only made her husband seek out her company and become more physically affectionate
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Laura Doyle: It also helped them triumphantly navigate through a challenge that tears many marriages apart. She’s going to tell us exactly how she pulled off this miracle. Welcome to the Empowered wife podcast, Anna. Thanks for joining us today.
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Anna: Hello, I’m so happy to be here and be speaking with you.
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Laura Doyle: Take us back to the very beginning to
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Laura Doyle: The bad old days.
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Anna: When you’re feeling so alone in your marriage, what was going on.
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Anna: Oh, yes.
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Anna: Well, yeah, like you mentioned, when my husband and I were newlyweds. We’re living in a studio apartment, which, of course, you know, being such close quarters can be a challenge, anyway.
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Anna: But my husband, you know, dealt with that by just building up walls around himself, and I would come home and like you said he wouldn’t even look up, he wouldn’t acknowledge me
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Anna: At night, he would just sit on the couch watching TV and we just really didn’t have any of that closeness that I had hoped to have. And so I was Googling and I came across your program and I’m just so, so grateful for that. Um,
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Laura Doyle: Yeah. So, and, and before we get to all the good stuff that
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Laura Doyle: You created after, after you found that
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Laura Doyle: I’m just wondering, like, was there.
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Laura Doyle: A moment where you thought, wow, I can’t go on like this or
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Laura Doyle: Yeah. What, what, you know, Tell us, tell us what that was like. Like what had you you were seeking out some help. So what
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Anna: What have I to do that.
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Anna: I think I was just so lonely and it was hard being, you know, spending so much time in literally the same room, and yet feeling so distant
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Anna: And so when I was looking for help. And then I came across this program I immediately got the ebook so that I could just read it you know in private privately and started implementing some of the ideas and specifically
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Anna: You know, my husband and I, we just weren’t like chatting a lot, you know, we weren’t really talking so I just used any opportunity that we did.
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Anna: Speak to make sure to express the gratitude. So I think that just those little things started to build a foundation and then at the same time I started
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Anna: Thinking about my self care which, you know, that’s such a buzzword. These days, but I think actually focusing on that and making sure I was doing them daily like you suggested, made a big difference.
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Laura Doyle: So if you when you just go back in time in. And obviously, there wasn’t a whole lot of conversation.
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Laura Doyle: going on between the two of you.
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Laura Doyle: So you were having to take every opportunity that you had to use the skills when you were communicating and that. And so it sounds like the first thing you did was use some more gratitude. How did he respond
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Anna: Well, I think at first he didn’t really respond. So it was really kind of building that up and not being discouraged because
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Anna: You know, I would be expressing gratitude. But sometimes, then when he would speak to me it would still be sharp or short or critical and I think he was just, you know, under stress. And we just didn’t have intimacy and it just was coming out in our interactions and then gradually
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Anna: I think he just started feeling more positive about our interactions. And I think, oh, we had stopped talking on the phone. That was one of the things is, he had told me that I was very annoying to talk to on the phone and that he never wants to talk to me on the phone again.
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Anna: Such a heartbreaking thing to hear from someone that you love and your husband. I’m like, forever. You never talked to me on the phone again and
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Anna: So then I stopped trying to have conversations with him on the phone and instead, I would just send him a funny little meme or something or something positive or gratitude. Just something short so then when he saw me, he would have kind of a positive
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Anna: Association with me and I just think those little things.
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Anna: Really helped to build a foundation where then eventually, you know, he would approach me to have like an actual conversation or share something about his day. And because I was having self care. I wasn’t as desperate. You know, I was also starting to feel fulfilled, just in my own life.
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Laura Doyle: Was there a moment when you survive this. This really seems to be working.
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Anna: Oh gosh, I need to to think back because there’s so many milestones, but right in the beginning.
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Anna: I think there were things like because we were in a studio apartment. So, you know, there’s no walls and anytime someone has light on everyone has light on those kind of things.
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Anna: I would go and I would sit in the bathtub and I would sit in the bathroom because there was a door, and I kept the light on and read or whatever, you know, certainly even taking a bath.
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Laura Doyle: You just her
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Anna: Yeah, because he would get mad at me if I turned on a light to read. So it was like, okay, you know, and I just was like, I just didn’t have the energy to, like, you know, fight back against this and
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Anna: I just made me feel terrible to be like resigned to sitting in the dark. So I was like, I’m just going to go in the bathroom. So I just started going in there. And I remember one time he sought me out. He came to the bathroom door and he was like, Hey, babe. You okay, you want to have dinner.
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Anna: Like oh, OK. And now that was a turning around, because he came to me.
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Laura Doyle: Yeah. That must have been an amazing feeling.
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Laura Doyle: From him yelling at you and say he’s never going to talk to you on the
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Laura Doyle: Your company, even though you were trying to be considerate by having this light on
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Laura Doyle: I
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Laura Doyle: Love. Yeah, so
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Laura Doyle: So,
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Laura Doyle: And looking back, um, you know, what would you say to your old self. Like if you could travel back in time and just say something to her like what do you know now that you think maybe would have been helpful to hear back then.
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Anna: Oh my gosh. Um, I mean, the number one thing I would say is to be patient because I think I do see people using
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Anna: You know, these principles and our skills and wanting to see changes quickly. And I think that being patient and just focusing on self care was the best thing. And so I think that’s what I would tell myself is, don’t worry about him just
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Anna: What do you like because I think the biggest thing I got out of this is that I got to know myself better and discover my own interest. And really, you know, start to indulge in those and
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Anna: I think that was so important for me as part of my journey and then that’s what really attracted him back to me. He saw me doing things that I loved. And he wanted to be a part of it.
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Laura Doyle: I love that.
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Laura Doyle: And I understand you use the skills you had a challenge. More recently come up in your relationship. Tell us about that.
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Anna: Yeah, so we decided that we wanted to have a baby. And then we tried for a couple years. And fortunately I was diagnosed with
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Anna: Being infertile, which was just so hard to hear. Number one, because, you know, we wanted to have a baby and this made it sound like maybe we wouldn’t be able to, or maybe it would be challenging and also because I’ve seen so many my friends so many couples go through this journey and
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Anna: Just have their marriages fall apart or get divorce while trying to have a kid like I can’t even believe how many people I have in my life who the fertility journey. It was what broke their marriage. So I was very concerned about that and very worried about that.
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Laura Doyle: And so how did you I mean I’ll tell us, tell us the story. What happened.
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Anna: Yeah, so obviously my first thing was to think about like the skills that had helped me through so many challenges and my marriage already and so
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Anna: When the doctor told me that they thought I should
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Anna: You know, get testing, maybe get IVF try that. Which, you know, of course it’s not always successful and then that my husband should get test.
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Anna: I started thinking about that and I came home and told him what the doctor had said he should do.
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Anna: And my husband was not interested in getting these tests and felt that he was fine and he was fertile and of course that brings in so many questions of, you know, his masculinity and what it means to be a man and a father and I just felt like it was a minefield, and
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Anna: You know, I just was thinking about how I couldn’t control him to make him go get these tests.
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Anna: So that was a losing battle. And then when I really thought about my own desires, I realized that I also was not ready to go down that route yet that I wanted to try some natural things. First, you know, give it another year. So I had
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Anna: You know regularly been keeping up with the skills by writing down you know daily or weekly gratitude desires spouse fulfilling prophecies. So I kind of just kept doing that and I noticed what some of my desires were and
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Anna: One was to, you know, try acupuncture for fertility. I’d had some friends who had had luck with that. So I want to try that.
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Anna: I wanted to adopt to kitten. I wanted to go on a trip to Scotland. I want to take singing lessons.
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Anna: I want to run a 10K in under an hour and I just had a whole list of like fun things that I want to do, or self care things that I wanted to do. And so I kind of would mentioned those to my husband and he was on board with some of them and not as on board with others, like the kitten.
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Anna: Wouldn’t you know I got all my desires, so
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Anna: I love. I have a cute little cuddled up to me right now. Oh.
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Anna: You got 10 K and under
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Laura Doyle: An hour time for you to
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Anna: I did, yes. So yeah, I joined a local track team. And I did that, you know, went on a lot of runs throughout the year.
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Anna: And just kind of really indulge these different things that I wanted to do. And I think as far as my husband.
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Anna: You know, I had these spouse fulfilling prophecies, you know, which were that I trusted him that I knew he wanted to have a child I knew that he loves me, so I didn’t have to go down this rabbit hole. The
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Anna: was neat needless. What does that stand for needless emotional turmoil. Yes, yes.
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Anna: You know that I didn’t have to go down that road, I could know like my husband loves me. He also wants to be a parent.
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Anna: If it comes to the point that we have to get these tests, he will do it. You know, those kind of things. So I could kind of just put that stuff aside and focus on
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Anna: Myself what I could control and what I wanted to do and make this a period of kind of growth and self discovery instead of turmoil.
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Laura Doyle: And so was there.
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Laura Doyle: Was there ever
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Laura Doyle: Because I can imagine with that kind of stress, there could be some fights or arguments or just tense conversations about him, maybe getting this test. So did that. Did that happen.
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Anna: Um I it didn’t it because I think I just knew from experience that I couldn’t control him and I wanted to save that until a point when I felt like it really was necessary.
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Anna: I just felt like the priority right now was for me to just do everything I could do on my end to make sure that I was good. And then, you know, I knew that.
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Anna: If we really needed it. He could also do that and I think, you know, there were moments of resentment, where I was like, Oh, I’m doing all these things, you know, I did start going acupuncture and changing my diet and
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Anna: I did like daily monitoring of my fertility and ovulation schedules and temperatures and things, and there were moments where I was like, you know, I’m doing all this stuff and he’s not
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Anna: But at the same time he just felt so strongly that he would be okay. And I felt like I needed to trust him that that was true that he was
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Anna: You know, he was good. That’s impressive.
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Laura Doyle: And I will say hearing
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Laura Doyle: How you kept that focus
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Laura Doyle: Because I think be pretty easy.
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Laura Doyle: To choose a different focus, but you chose your focus very carefully and productively so that you got this kitten in this trip to Scotland and
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Anna: Stuff. So, so, yeah.
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Anna: Yeah, yeah. Well, um, you know, I did want to mention with all the monitoring, you know, you can hear that there is like stress in the process and that
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Anna: Another thing that you have suggested in the past is really leaning on your female friends.
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Anna: And so they were my outlet for a lot of that you know they were the ones that I would look at my graphs with and discuss different techniques and stuff so that with my husband, things could stay fun and spontaneous.
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Anna: And light hearted and it you know I think for a lot of my friends who dealt with infertility sex really became a chore, and intimacy became a chore, and
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Anna: I was really grateful that I had, you know, these friends that could take the burden of that. And then my relationships and my husband could stay fun
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Laura Doyle: Wow.
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Laura Doyle: I love that. So it didn’t, it didn’t get to become a chore your house.
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Anna: Right, yeah. So, so that was good. I think having him still feel like everything is fun and light hearted also made me genuinely feel like it was to
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Anna: You know, because, yeah, he didn’t have that energy. I could come home and it could be like a workout. And besides, I was doing all these fun things
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Anna: So, you know, when we would talk, we would talk about the different things. Or, you know, for a while. Our focus was on acclimating the kitten to our home.
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Anna: Or planning our trip to Scotland we had never traveled internationally, like all those these things were on my bucket list. They weren’t you know just normal things they were a big deal for us. And so
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Anna: When we came back from Scotland. It turned out I was pregnant.
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Laura Doyle: No way.
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Laura Doyle: so.. what wait. So you didn’t
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Laura Doyle: So you were doing the
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Laura Doyle: The temperature taking you were doing. And then you did the diet.
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Laura Doyle: But
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You never did get tested.
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Anna: No, we didn’t have to, I think,
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Anna: You know, I can’t really say, you know, scientifically, what, but I can only feel that all of this positive energy
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Anna: Helped you know I think my body was relaxed. We were relaxed. We were having fun.
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Anna: And then I think acupuncture. You know, there’s a lot of research that it really helps. So I’m really glad that my husband, let me kind of indulge that
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Anna: And I don’t know but you know I mean part of it. I did start thinking with all of this that if I had to go through the testing the IVF. I think we would have been fine because at that point we had such a good foundation
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Anna: You know, and such a good start to this journey but gosh yeah I couldn’t believe it. I mean, we were absolutely shocked.
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Anna: He saw that pregnancy tests that we were shocked. that must have been magical moment it was it was it was absolutely amazing. Yeah. Yeah, I was just shaking. We were crying. We couldn’t believe it, and
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Anna: You know, we’re just so grateful.
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Laura Doyle: Wow. Well, so, and what is your relationship like now.
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Anna: Well, it’s good. And, you know, we have a seven week old baby so everything is pretty busy. I bet it is congratulation. Yes, thank you, but I think my next time I talk to you will be on using the skills with an infant.
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Anna: You know in your marriage because I have also now really started implementing them, you know, expressing some a gratitude to my husband.
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Anna: When he does something with the baby, you know, trusting him to do things with the baby because I think having a young child is another really
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Anna: Difficult point in a lot of marriages and I think, you know, using the skills, we’re going to be able to make it be another positive part of our journey which is amazing.
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Anna: So this is the next level of
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Anna: The video game that you’re playing
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Anna: And it sounds like you are able to
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Laura Doyle: Find the ways that he’s showing up as a good dad and focus on that.
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Anna: Yeah yeah
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Laura Doyle: All right. And so all this from a man who wouldn’t even look up at you when you didn’t ever want
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Anna: To on the phone.
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Anna: You guys talk on the phone now now. Oh my gosh. He’ll call me on his way home from work and just talk to me for the 45 minutes before he arrived arrived at home.
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Laura Doyle: He wants to talk to you all.
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Laura Doyle: The time, it sounds like. Yeah.
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Anna: What transformation Anna so impressive.
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Laura Doyle: So there’s a woman listening, who’s maybe she’s dealing with infertility or she’s got it. She’s in that kind of a cold war where her husband doesn’t talk to her. So what
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Laura Doyle: What’s a tip for her if she wants to create this beautiful happy family where I can just hear the joy emanating from you what
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Laura Doyle: Would you suggest you start
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Anna: What should she do
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Anna: Well, I really feel like the most important thing is writing daily gratitude, just as many as you can as many as you can specifically about your husband. I mean, even if they are kind of ridiculous like
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Anna: You know, just that he’s there. He likes a TV show that you like or you know that he came home in the evening or
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Anna: That you know i just anything. You know, they don’t have to be like, oh, he brought me flowers or he did this, or he did that just something like
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Anna: You know, I like his eyebrows just any gratitude. You can think of anything that you feel good about about your husband about your life because I think that it really does change the way that you see the world.
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Anna: Because I think I remember saying to you earlier in my journey that I wish that I had a brain scan from before I did the skills and then after I implemented the skills because I just feel like
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Anna: It’s changed the whole way that my brain interacts with the world and that I just see things a lot more positively. So I think that’s just such an important first step.
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Laura Doyle: Well, and I love that.
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Laura Doyle: So much. And I want to just ask you because I you’ve shared some really personal things with us and
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Laura Doyle: I want to let the listeners know Anna is not your real name because we just really value privacy around here so much, but you’ve shared very, very personally very vulnerably.
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Laura Doyle: About the challenges in your marriage and how you overcame them. And I just wonder what makes you willing to share this kind of thing.
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Anna: I just really want other women in this position to see that there is hope that there can be joy in your life. Again, that you can have a positive relationship with your husband.
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Anna: That you don’t need to go back out on the dating scene and deal with, you know, all these apps. And, you know, different people that you know the person
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Anna: That you love and that you love before can be the person that you still love in the future and that you can really create a wonderful life together. I just want to give them hope well
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Laura Doyle: Anna you are certainly proof of that. It’s very inspiring to hear all that you’ve created. It sounds like you have a just a beautiful family.
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Laura Doyle: That is such a source of strength in the whole world. Right. We all depend on strong families. And that’s something that you have you’ve made.
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Anna: So congratulations to you.
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Anna: Thank you so much.
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Anna: It’s been a pleasure to get to hear your
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Anna: Thank you.