Laura Doyle Certified Relationship Coach
I was on the phone with a member of Laura Doyle Connect, exploring the possibility of training to become an LDC coach.
“How is your marriage,” she asked.
“Oh, it’s great,” I exclaimed. “We have a great relationship.”
I thought about the days when I questioned my marriage, the emptiness that cropped up from time to time, and the question that haunted me after every heated argument: “Are we too incompatible to be happy together?” But I pushed those thoughts from my mind. We had great times together. We could figure this out. I could figure this out. I didn’t need help!
“I love reading all the success stories on the LDC website, and I want to be a part of them,” I explained on my call. This wasn’t about me. This was just about my burning desire to be a relationship coach.
Or, at least, that’s what I was saying to others. But deep inside, I knew I was signing up for myself. I wanted to know what I could do to feel more confident about my marriage.
I often felt like marriage was a gamble. And that, in this gamble, I had been dealt an unfair hand.
We had different ideas about parenting, religion, family, and even marriage itself. We differed in the way we communicated and the way we navigated our relationships. But, of course, “different” was only a euphemism. My husband’s “different” ideas came as a big disappointment to me, as the growing number of self-help books on my bookshelf convinced me that I knew exactly what I was doing–any other way could only be wrong.
I explained to him the right way to talk to and play with our kids. I gave him advice on communicating with his family members. I reminded him to watch his speech and his manners, to be a more pious man.
The more time I spent with him, the more I noticed his shortcomings. I did what I could to help him, even going the extra mile to manage his relationship with my family. For if they were to like him, as I desperately wanted them to, then I had to be the middlewoman and make sure they never saw his faults.
I imagined that with time, he would learn from my example and become my dream man. But alas, the opposite was true. The more I kept up the reminders, help and advice, the less he responded to them.
When he became less involved with parenting, I was relieved, as I didn’t appreciate his methods much to begin with. But gradually, I found myself alone with a growing number of responsibilities.
I grew frustrated, resentful, and exhausted. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t cooperating with me. I complained more, criticized more. But my dream man remained just that–a distant dream.
The Laura Doyle Relationship Coach Training program seemed like my one chance to turn things around. And yet, afraid of disappointment, I didn’t let myself get too hopeful.
The first assignment we got was to prioritize self-care, and the first jaw dropper came soon after. As my husband and I were sitting together in the car, driving back from our morning walk, a song came on the radio. “Pretty woman, pretty woman…,” the singer crooned. My husband turned to me and said, “He’s calling you.” I was so shocked, I wasn’t even sure he was referring to the song. When the lyrics changed a little later, my husband confirmed, “Oh, he stopped!”
I sat there, barely able to believe what I’d just heard. My husband hadn’t said anything like that to me in years! What had come over this guy?!
With every Intimacy Skill that I decided to experiment with, I got more surprises.
As I stepped back and let my husband manage his own relationship with my family, they got along better than I thought they would!
When I decided to respect my husband’s parenting even though I strongly disagreed with his methods, he changed his approach towards our kids. They began sharing tender, loving moments that melted my heart.
And when I stopped trying to be the perfect wife and began to do less, my husband stepped up to take on the extra load. What’s more, he was happy to do it!
Gratitude was the one Skill I thought I didn’t need any help with. It took me a long time to realize how superficial my thank you’s were. After all, everything I saw about him, I saw through the unflattering lens of what I perceived to be his shortcomings. And when I finally took that lens off and realized how much it had colored his virtues, I also realized how lucky I’d been all along.
Instead of trying to “protect” my kids from his disciplining, I started to appreciate how wonderful he was at getting them to follow rules. Instead of fretting every time he got into a disagreement with others, I noticed how good he was at building strong and meaningful relationships without compromising his own needs.
Slowly, very slowly, it began to sink in that different wasn’t the equivalent of wrong–just different. And maybe, just maybe, it could also be right.
Today, my husband supplements my self-help books as a source of wisdom about parenting, life and relationships. The differences I lamented in the past now teach me new perspectives. Dare I admit, they even make up for my shortcomings.
Not to say that I no longer think marriage is a gamble; I do. Not everyone is dealt the same hand. But I understand now that how I play my cards makes all the difference. And when the game gets tough, I’ve got the Intimacy Skills up my sleeve.
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.