New York Times Best Selling author Laura Doyle is our guest this week, and I could not be more EXCITED to share this juicy interview with you!
One of Laura’s core teachings is for all of us to stay in our own lane and stop trying control everyone around us – especially our partners. As a Life Coach, I see first hand how powerful it can be when we take our own power back, develop ourselves and give the people we love the mental and emotional space to do the same.
She is also giving away a free copy of her latest book, “The Empowered Wife.” The keys she shares in this book have been used by over 150,000 women to create empowering, thriving marriages, isn’t that awesome? See the details on how to enter at the end of the interview.
Laura has been interviewed on Good Morning America, Dateline, The View, and today she generously and graciously gives us her take on what it’s like to be a ModernMarried Wife. Enjoy!
MM: Tell us about yourself in 5 sentences…
LAURA DOYLE: I was the perfect wife, until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be tidier, more ambitious, and more romantic he avoided me, so I dragged him to marriage counseling so the therapist could fix him and I could finally be happy. I realized the marriage was hopeless and divorce was the only option…but I was too embarrassed to get divorced.
Instead, I asked women who had been happily married for what seemed like an eternity for their advice and what they told me made no sense but I decided to try it anyway because I was desperate. I experimented with their advice and that’s when I got my miracle: The man who wooed me returned. I wrote a book about what I learned and I accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice the Six Intimacy Skills.
MM: Tell us about your latest project…
LAURA DOYLE: I’m excited about my new book, The Empowered Wife: Six Surprising Secrets to Attract Your Man’s Time, Attention and Affection. I lay out the Six Intimacy Skills step-by-step, which are woman-centric practices that I distilled from the experiments in my own marriage that got me the life I dreamed of when I said “I do.” I wish I knew about them when I got married. Thousands of women all over the world have used the Intimacy Skills and restored the playfulness and passion in their broken marriages, and if I can do it and they can do it, then you can do it too. We all thought our husbands were the problem, but we had more power than we realized.
MM: Why do you do what you do?
LAURA DOYLE: I create books and programs to help women revitalize their relationships because when I was struggling and hopeless in my marriage, I had no idea that I was just untrained. I was following the recipe my mom handed down for a happy marriage–and my parents are divorced. So I was following a failed recipe.
I’m on a mission to end world divorce, because I hate to see any woman suffering in her relationship, like I did, just because no one ever taught her the Intimacy Skills. I have the best job in the world because I get to watch women discover their feminine gifts and use them to make their relationships amazing and vibrant again.
There’s nothing more gratifying in the world then to get a message that says, “He reached out to hold my hand in the car for the first time in 10 years,” or “I used to have to make him go on family outings, and he planned a two week family vacation for us.” Miracles not only happen, with the Intimacy Skills, they happen all the time.
MM: One of my favorite management principles is “Stop, Start, Keep” the idea is that there are things we should stop doing, start doing and keep doing that will make us successful. What should we “stop, start, and keep” to make our relationships stronger?
I Stopped Controlling
Giving up trying to control my husband was the start of something amazing for the connection in my marriage. Instead of telling my husband what to do at work, what to eat for lunch, or what to wear, I turned my attention to my own happiness, which in turn improved the intimacy. Intimacy and control are opposites, like light and dark. If I want to be intimate, I have to give up the control. If I want control, the intimacy will vanish.
I didn’t think I could do it at first because my husband John and I were both so used to me running everything. But when I started to act like I trusted him (even though I was still pretty dubious) I saw his initiative and confidence return. Suddenly I’d get butterflies in my stomach again when he looked at me. It seemed like a miracle.
I Started Replenishing My Spirit
In order to do that effectively, I had to focus on myself, on my feelings and desires. I had to figure out how to make myself happy, which I did by making a point of doing at least three things every day that were fun. Just frivolous stuff–meeting a friend for coffee, taking a nap, playing volleyball, listening to music I love. It didn’t have to serve any purpose except that I felt filled up and delighted from it. Whenever I felt tempted to start controlling, this was my go-to practice: What can I do to replenish myself? I always was last on the list before, like any good martyr. These days my priority is to make myself happy.
I Kept Focusing on What I Wanted to Increase
Early on I was afraid to thank my husband for doing things because I thought he would consider them optional and stop doing them. Plus, he didn’t do them the right way–my way. But I found out I was wrong–when I thank my husband for doing something he looks around for something else he can do to make me happy. Not just my husband either–another man was talking about this same dynamic in his marriage and said, “She was so happy when I fixed the cabinet my first thought was, ‘what else can I break around here so I can fix it for her?’”
I started out giving my husband three gratitudes a day for typical things–thanks for taking out the trash, for working so hard to support us, for driving. He started appreciating me more and now we have a continuous state of gratitude at our house. It seems like there’s a lot to be grateful for.
MM: Complete these sentences:
The secret to a happy marriage is…Expressing my desires in a way that inspires instead of complaining about what I don’t like. My husband can’t even hear me when I’m complaining, but when he sees a chance to make me happy by giving me what I want, his hero gene kicks in and he feels inspired. Therefore saying, “This is kitchen is a mess!” will get me nowhere, whereas saying, “I would love a clean kitchen,” got me a man who does the clean up from every meal for over a decade now.
- What I know is true about love is…that I feel most loved when I feel desired and cherished, and my husband feels most loved when he feels respected for his thinking and accomplishments. Every time I said something “helpful” in wife language, he heard it as “critical” in husband language. Once I learned what respect looks like to men and how it’s like oxygen for them…I was shocked! I had no idea.
- The single most important thing we can do for the person we love is…trust him to be the expert on his own life, while also honoring his need to be heard and understood. I feel intimate with my husband when I’m just bearing witness to his life. That can be an unexpectedly moving experience.
- The biggest myth about marriage is…that it’s hard work! It was hard work before I knew what I know now about the Intimacy Skills. Now it’s my soft place to land, to hear that I’m beautiful and wonderful and get hugs and kisses and special treatment.
- I can create a life I love by… honoring my feelings, my desires and my limits, and focusing on what I’m grateful for and receiving graciously. When I make myself happy, my husband piles on and tries to make me even happier. Turns out I’m never more attractive than when I’m laughing, singing, dancing and smiling.
- What is your favorite inspirational quote about love or marriage?
It takes courage to love deeply. When I’m scared I take inspiration from this quote by Ambrose Redmoon: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the decision that something else is more important.”
MM: What is the best piece of advice you ever got? How did you use it?
LAURA DOYLE: One woman told me that she never criticized her husband no matter how much it seemed like he deserved it. I asked her, “Have you got anything else?” I didn’t think I could do that. At all! But wow, what great advice. Finding fault was not serving me because what I focus on increases. She let me know it was possible to make a different choice.
Since then I’ve created a world-famous system for not criticizing your husband no matter how much it seems like he deserves it, so I have to give her props for that advice
MM: What’s the best advice you like to give? How do you apply it (for yourself)?
LAURA DOYLE: I try not to give advice. I have my own experiences to share, and some ridiculously effective Intimacy Skills, but I realize I know only a little about anyone else. You are the expert on your own life. Even when I got that advice that changed my life about not criticizing my husband she didn’t advise me. She told me what she did that worked for her. I appreciate that approach.
I know a powerful phrase that encourages my husband to open up and share what he’s thinking. It’s a way of listening without agreeing or disagreeing. What is this magical phrase?
It’s three words: “I hear you.”
That’s it. Not “I hear you and what I think is…” or “I hear you and have you thought about…” It doesn’t mean I agree. It doesn’t mean I disagree. I’m just listening–just bearing witness when I say, “I hear you.”
Sometimes I’ll just decide that’s all I’m going to say to him for the next hour. I just give him the floor and listen. I think about what an honor it is that he’s talking to me, especially since he wasn’t doing that in the bad old days.
MM: What do you know is true about love?
LAURA DOYLE: That being part of a happy couple really is all it’s cracked up to be, but it doesn’t mean we never hurt each other. Sometimes my husband hurts my feelings. He never intends to, but sometimes that’s what happens when you live so close together. Like kids who bruise each other when they’re playing. They don’t mean to, but it happens.
I used to be embarrassed and ashamed about that, but no relationship is perfect, not even mine. But it is wonderful.
MM: What is your favorite thing about being married?
LAURA DOYLE: The playfulness–having inside jokes and being kooky together. We tease and make each other laugh. Also, when a swing song comes on, we get up and dance in the kitchen or the living room or wherever. So romantic.
MM: What has surprised you the most about marriage?
LAURA DOYLE: Sometimes I’m amazed at how delighted I feel just to be with him, just like I did when we first fell in love. I was brushing crumbs off the kitchen island not long ago and he said, “Wait, don’t move!” and got out his phone to take my picture, like I’m a super model that he’s been married to all this time. I get a lot of inner strength from feeling loved like that every day.
MM: How do you stay connected to your spouse?
LAURA DOYLE: We are together most of the time and we like each other so that feels pretty natural. It’s hard to think of it as something we do–more like something we are. We both work from home so I pop into his office to ask him a question or he pops into mine. We dream and scheme together and spy on the neighbors and act like little kids.
MM: We talk a lot on this blog about re-defining marriage – can you share something you and your spouse do that makes sense for you (but may not make sense to someone else)
LAURA DOYLE: Conventional wisdom says that marriage is 50-50, but for me it makes sense to think of myself as the keeper of the relationship.
I can make things passionate and peaceful or I can pick a fight and make them tense and distant. I have a lot of power! And just like with Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility.
My husband (and thousands of men that I’ve asked) has a strong desire to make me happy and when I am respectful and grateful there’s nothing he won’t do for me. If I’m getting a bad response from him it’s usually a reflection on me, which is great news because that means I have the power to make my marriage better by cleaning up my side of the street. That’s been a big gift to realize that I have so much say over something I care so deeply about. I’m not the victim of my marriage anymore.
MM: What is the most surprising thing you have discovered through your work?
LAURA DOYLE: I was shocked to learn that my husband wasn’t the problem in our relationship–I was! I was SURE it was him. But when I changed, he responded to me better, and once I realized I’d been a controlling shrew for so long, I was so sad and regretful. How could I have wasted all those years like that? But I was doing the best I knew how.
Now, I don’t regret any of it. It all led me to this place where I get to feel cherished and adored every day.
MM: Anything else you would like to add?
LAURA DOYLE: I’m grateful to get to be on this blog, to get to share about my work on this platform. Thanks for the opportunity.
Hey it’s Maggie here, and I am supremely honored, thrilled and delighted to have Laura Doyle’s energy, wisdom and message here in our electronic home at ModernMarried.com, we are ALL ABOUT re-defining marriage and looking at it from a perspective that works – no matter what your situation is, I believe your marriage doesn’t have to be perfect to be awesome and I agree wholeheartedly with Laura that gratitude and where you focus your attention is a total game changer in your relationship.
I am SO EXCITED to CELEBRATE AND SUPPORT Laura in the launch of her newest book, “The Empowered Wife.” Laura has generously given us a FREE BOOK to giveaway to one of our readers.
Here is how to enter the give away:
COMMENT below and tell us ONE thing you want to increase in your relationship and ONE Empowered Action you are going to take this week to help make it happen.
Contest opens 4/9/17 and ends at midnight 4/15/19. I will choose a winner on Sunday April 16th who will be notified by email and will receive the book by mail. Winners must be located in the US or Canada.
Laura Doyle was great wife material–until she actually got married. When she tried to tell her husband how to be tidier, more romantic and more ambitious, he avoided her. She dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced. When she interviewed women who had what she wanted in their marriages she got her miracle: the man who wooed her came back.
She wrote books about what she learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. She is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into 17 languages and helped over 150,000 women revitalize their relationships. She founded an international relationship coaching company and has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America and The View.
The thing she’s most proud of is her gratifying, 27-year marriage with her hilarious husband John, who has been dressing himself since before she was born.