Becoming An Empowered Wife: No. 1
So... a lot has happened since I've consistently kept up on my blog. For starters, I had my SECOND baby! Yep. I'm a mum to two beautiful sons now: Bodie and Troy. They are keeping me busy, busy, busy and life is great.
Also for the first time in what feels like 2 years, I am not pregnant anymore LOL!
I knew I felt tired and worn out during pregnancy, but I guess I didn't really realize HOW tired it made me until after birth. It has been easier taking care of two babies while healing from birth than it was taking care of just Bodie while third trimester pregnant. Exhaustion doesn't even begin to cover how tired I felt during my pregnancy with Troy; my body was wrecked, my mind was exhausted, and I had ZERO inspiration to come online and share my life.
But now we are on the other side and I am SO excited to share with you all the best thing that has happened to me and my marriage in the past few years: The Empowered Wife.
So what is The Empowered Wife?
Well, I would argue that it is the best marriage book you could ever get your hands on in this lifetime.
The lovely author Laura Doyle has a blog, a podcast, a coaching academy, a Facebook group, and of course... books. Specifically the book, The Empowered Wife.
I began reading this book in my third trimester, which kind of felt like a weird time to overhaul my personal habits and change dynamics in my marriage. I was so exhausted and we were about to have a massive life change: a newborn baby, sleep deprivation, and just postpartum time in general! But I decided that all of the upcoming pressure meant that it was the PERFECT time to polish up my personal habits and my marriage. Postpartum is difficult and I wanted all of the tools and skills I needed in order to enjoy what COULD be a really stressful time.
So... why this book?
Well, I fell into the rabbit hole of Laura Doyle's podcast by the same name as the book. She interviews women from marriages that were absolutely crumbling who all managed to piece their lives back together using the "Six Intimacy Skills" outlined in her book. I was addicted to this podcast and even though my marriage wasn't on the brink of collapse, I desired the peace, happiness, and overall light-hearted joy that these women seemed to possess.
I did not have a good marriage to look up to growing up. I never really learned the skills it takes to be a good wife! No one taught me and I certainly didn't want to copy the chaos and insanity I witnessed growing up. Sure, I've pieced together a lovely relationship with my husband through following Biblical principles, copying women I admire, and generally trying to be as selfless as possible, but I wanted tangible skills to put into action. After listening to the podcast and hearing the testimonials of these Empowered Wives, I felt like they were on the next level of marriage, and I wanted to join them. I wanted to become an Empowered Wife too! So I read the book.
In short, I will just say that IT WORKS.
Wow does it work.
After applying just a few of Laura Doyle's Intimacy Skills to my marriage and myself, I can say that I am happier, my husband is happier, and there is a way lighter atmosphere in our home. It didn't even matter that I was third trimester pregnant exhausted, or postpartum from Troys birth... these intimacy skills have brought us closer than ever, and I can't wait to share with you all some of the ways things have changed.
But for today?
For today I will just share one story to get you excited.
So the Six Intimacy Skills taught in the book cover a wide range of issues that plague women and their husbands in marriage. Communication issues, how to respect your man... the list is large. But the thing I like most about the skills is that they are extremely simple to apply. In fact, as soon as you read the chapter, you can go back into the real world and experiment!
Which is exactly what I did.
For example, one of the skills Laura teaches is how to express a "pure desire."
There is a lot I could say about this, but essentially, this covers how to approach your husband about things you want. And as any married person knows, there is a LOT of needs and desires you need to communicate about within a marriage. Do you want to buy a home instead of renting? Well.. you have to communicate that to your husband. Do you want to try for a baby? Do you want to stay home and quit your job? Time to talk to hubby! Or maybe you need a larger budget for your beauty supplies, you want him to take you on a vacation or you want him to say yes to buying a new puppy!
Whatever it is, as wives we encounter these situations all the time. We have desires that we need to collaborate on with our husbands, but for some reason, they will not work with us no matter how many times we ask! You just can't seem to get him to see your point of view when it comes to having a new baby, or maybe he won't relent about spending vacation with just you two instead of his extended family. It's frustrating!
Have you ever been in this situation? I definitely have! And I was stuck in it until I applied the skills. Here's the story.
So I have a ratty couch from college. It's covered in a slipcover and dominates our living room in a shabby-chic style (emphasis on the shabby.) It has been my dream to get a new sofa ever since we moved into our house, but it never felt like a priority to Husbear.
I mean, I can't blame him... it's a cute couch, and it's not as important as medical bills, the mortgage, or groceries, but still! It was a desire I had... I wanted to leave my college furniture in the dust and move on to greener pastures. I wanted him to want a new sofa as much as I did. Didn't he see how frustrating it was to retuck the slipcover all the time? Didn't he realize that the stuffing was literally falling out of the sides?
But it felt like no matter how many times I brought it up, or in what way, it felt like he would not be enthusiastic about buying a new sofa! I took different tactics from nagging to showing him the stuffing falling out of the back, and even making a big show of complaining (embarrassing I know) when I had to fix the slipcover. But nothing worked. He just never brought it up when we would have our "what big things do we need to buy" conversations.
Enter Laura Doyle.
Did I go into this book expecting a new couch? HARDLY! I didn't even know that "pure desires" were a thing she covered. But when I was reading her chapter on that skill, Laura encouraged the reader to test out her suggestions. Try sharing a "pure desire" with your husband in a no-strings-attached kind of way, and see what he does. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't... well... you get the rest.
So I decided to try her method in regards to the great-sofa-debacle. I mean, I already felt like my new sofa was years away from ever happening, so why not try the Laura Doyle way. Nothing else had worked right?
So, during one of our dream and chat sessions (yes, we like to talk about the future a lot,) I simply said "it would make me so happy to have a new sofa." No timeline (by the end of this year!!), no threats, (if you don't approve this purchase, I'll buy it behind your back!), and no guilt-trip (don't you see me breaking my back tucking in the slipcover every single day!?) I didn't add a little tag-on of "can't you see how embarrassing this sofa is?" or "why do you get to buy X, Y, and Z, while all I want is a sofa!?"
Nope. Just a pure desire. A new sofa would make me happy. The end. I decided then and there to release it to the wild: if I got my sofa, great, and if I didn't, well... shabby chic and me would be spending more time together than I wanted, but whatever. It wasn't worth nagging my husband about it anymore or sacrificing intimacy with him over something so silly. Which is another piece of Laura's teaching: learning when and when NOT to sacrifice intimacy. (Spoiler alert, it's never really worth it to sacrifice intimacy, even for new sofas LOL.)
Well, friends, I have to give credit to Laura because two weeks after my little statement, Husbear turns to me and says "Hey babe, I think when we get our tax return, one of the things we should get is a new sofa."
You should have seen the shock and joy on my face. I mean seriously... I'd been asking about the couch for years with zero success. I'd nagged, pleaded, guilted, and done everything under the sun except actually begging for one. It was incredible. And no, he wasn't bluffing because I pulled up a couch online a few days later that I was interested in and he happily looked it over with me, discussed the dimensions and price, and happily said he was excited to buy one.
And that's on the intimacy skills. Phew!
Can I promise that if you read this book you will have new sofas and fancy vacations flying through your living room windows courtesy of your sweet husband?
But I can testify that I've put her book into action, and I am happier, my husband is happier, and it seems like we are both getting MORE of what we want and need from our relationship.
I'll share more of how I've changed things in my marriage from her book in future blog posts, but I hope you are intrigued enough to at least check out her podcast! Women in absolutely crumbling marriages have put their lives back on track just by following her coaching advice, and it is truly inspiring.
I will link both below, and stay tuned for more of this content!