Laura Doyle Relationship Coach
My Marriage Is an Open Book
My dating process was very goal oriented. I wanted a man who shared my values and with whom I could build a family.
When I met my husband, I was happy that he fit my criteria. I was also very nervous because I didn’t have deep feelings for him. I told myself that the love and connection would grow after we married.
But my husband remained like a closed book to me. I couldn’t figure out why he kept saying that I didn’t respect him or why he was so moody around me. I didn’t understand why he would shut down when all I’d done was share my opinion. What was the big deal?
We had good times too, of course. As a newlywed, he was very eager to please me. I often felt lucky to be married to him. But somehow his efforts tended to fall short, and eventually I decided he was not particularly responsible.
For instance, he used to buy me beautiful big bouquets every week. Flowers are expensive, and we were on a tight budget. He was still studying, I was job hopping to make ends meet, and my parents were paying our rent! I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more aware.
“I don’t need flowers every week,” I told him. “We can use the money for other things.”
Another time, he got together with some friends, promising to be home by 10 p.m. I was looking forward to spending the evening together. Ten o’clock came and went. Disappointed and angry, I marched down the block to his friend’s house, stood in the doorway, and, rather than intrude on the male-only gathering, glared in his direction.
One of his friends noticed me standing there and nudged him to look up. I still remember the look on their faces: his friends’ surprise, like uh oh, you’re in trouble, and the humiliation on my husband’s face.
He came home, but for some reason the evening did not end up very intimate. Not that I was interested by this point anyway.
Come morning, my husband would often be on his knees searching for his glasses. I always put my glasses on the night table, where they could be easily found. It was up to me to help my groping husband find his.
“What would you do without me,” I smiled sweetly. “Aren’t you glad you married me,” I quipped as I handed him his glasses from underneath the bed. (Why didn’t he find that charming? I was so helpful!)
My negative view of him solidified as we had children in quick succession. I handled all the responsibility when it came to raising our growing family and managing our home. After all, I had grown up in a big, warm family, so naturally I was the one to show my husband how to hold our babies, diaper them, and what they should eat. And I never trusted him to put them to bed.
So I did it myself, along with most everything in our home. I quickly grew exhausted and felt very unsupported. I also struggled with not feeling attracted to my husband. Even when we were intimate, I felt unseen and irrelevant.
Things peaked after the birth of our fifth child. I was downstairs in the kitchen cleaning up yet again. I was exhausted, lonely, and resentful that my dream of a beautiful marriage and a vibrant, healthy family had gone up in a haze of messy rooms, bedtimes, and an often absent husband.
I grabbed hold of the stovetop grates and slammed them against each other, howling at the top of my lungs. I didn’t stop until my throat was raw and my hands were sore. My husband came running downstairs. It was obvious we needed help.
We started years of expensive marriage therapy, couples’ weekends, and private counseling. We were a model couple. Both of us wanted our marriage; fighting was not our thing. One therapist even dismissed us because we were so good at “conflict resolution,” claiming we didn’t need him anymore.
But nothing changed our core issues.
I longed to genuinely respect my husband. I longed to be attracted to the man I’d married. I wanted him to step up and take initiative in raising our family. I couldn’t figure out what created the ups in our relationship or what triggered the downs. I grasped at glimmers of hope, sparks of connection, and then was disappointed as again and again they wouldn’t hold.
I still laugh (and cringe) at one issue we brought up in therapy.
My husband shared how angry I had gotten when he bought himself a few shirts. I couldn’t understand why the therapist looked so confused as I tried to explain, “I’m the one who buys all his clothes. I know which shirts are wrinkle free and hold up the longest, and besides, I look at prices…”
I knew something was off as I tried to explain, but at the time I felt really justified!
Always looking for ways to better my marriage, I came across the book The Surrendered Wife. But it soon went back on the shelf. I had children to consider, their lives and well-being depending on me.
He wouldn’t take responsibility for brushing their teeth or buckling them properly in the car or feeding them healthy food. I couldn’t just relax or relinquish control long enough to consider surrendering.
Eventually a friend reintroduced me to the 6 Intimacy Skills™ and shared how she was applying them in her own life. She mentioned how relaxed she was at home and how hard her husband was working to please her (and that he was happy to do so!).
I was intrigued. Maybe there was something about how I was relating to my husband that was holding us back from the connection and presence I craved.
I knew I needed more support. My friend and a book were not enough. So I called Laura Doyle and invested in coaching.
Slowly, painfully, I uncovered my lifelong beliefs about my role as a wife. I began to let go of control of my husband’s choices, where he spent money, the way he interacted with others, and how he handled our children. I forced myself to show respect whether or not I felt he was capable of those tasks. Believe me, it felt like walking off a cliff!
It was so worth it. As my respect for my husband solidified, his confidence grew, and oxygen was pumped into our relationship.
The transformation in me and in him has been nothing short of miraculous.
My husband responded immediately. Suddenly he was taking initiative, making changes, and shouldering responsibilities that he had never touched before. He became more and more attractive to me. Things I had assumed were my jobs as the mother, like bedtime, chores, discipline, and issues at school, were being taken care of way more effectively under his care. I began to relax and feel supported–and I started to fall in love.
Best of all, my marriage is now an open book. With the Intimacy Skills, I finally understand my power as a woman. I know exactly how to create the ups–and make them stay! And if I’m starting to slide down, I know how to pinpoint why and restore our intimacy effortlessly.
Nowadays, I genuinely respect my husband; it is not a forced act anymore. We talk and laugh easily, and our kids have blossomed. Intimacy is something I look forward to, and this is just the tip of the iceberg!
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.