6 Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband's TIME, ATTENTION, and AFFECTION (& Giveaway) | Enduring All Things

Monday, April 10, 2017

6 Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband's TIME, ATTENTION, and AFFECTION (& Giveaway)

*I received a digital copy, a final copy, and another giveaway copy of the book in exchange for this post. Also, this post contains Amazon affiliate links.

A while ago, I received an email asking if I would be interested in reading the book The Empowered Wife: Six Surprising Secrets for Attracting Your Husband’s Time, Attention, and Affection by Laura Doyal and posting about it on my blog as part of a blog tour.

I said sure. I like reading about marriage. Let's see what this is all about. You guys, I finished the book last night and our relationship has already improved so much! In fact, I'm seriously thinking about becoming a certified relationship coach through Laura's program.
As I thought about what to write, I realized I couldn't not write an entire summary. There's just too much goodness in here. I think I might continue taking nuggets of wisdom from this book as inspiration for more specific and detailed blog posts in the future, too!

So Laura's training, couching, and books all center around these six intimacy skills that she claims will attract your husband's time, attention, and affection. By practicing these with your husband, you'll connect and have the intimacy you've always wanted in your marriage.

Pretty much the whole book and the six skills are based on the premise that your husband wants to please you. He really does. But sometimes he doesn't know how or he feels disrespected and unsuccessful when he tries, so he stops. But by using these skills, you learn to express your desires in a way so that he will want to do everything he can to make you happy.

Counseling vs. Coaching

Laura says that marriage counseling does not usually help struggling marriages. In fact, counseling can do more harm than good. Statistics show that most people who go to marriage counseling still end up in divorce. Counseling often focuses on the problem. It can also become a forum where you can go and "hash it out." And worst of all, forcing your spouse to go to counseling is a terrible way to try to control him or her and could make them even more resistant to working on the relationship.

What you focus on expands, right? And while I'm not saying you should let big conflicts go, I don't think you should pay someone a lot of money to bring those conflicts back up every week either.

At the beginning of each chapter, Laura has a little excerpt about what a marriage counselor might say on the topic of the chapter vs. what the six intimacy skills say.

For example:
"Marriage Counseling invites you to focus on what your husband is doing, what he's thinking, and what he wants, taking the focus away from  your own actions, thoughts, and desires. It's a forum for criticism, blame, and shame. It perpetuates the myth, "If only he would change, I would finally be happy."
Intimacy skills train you to stay focused on your own paper. Instead of trying to control others, you pay attention to how you feel and what you want. That's the critical date you need to inform your decisions and actions for the relationship - not what he's doing or thinking."
-Laura Doyle, The Empowered Wife Chapter 13, Stay on Your Own Paper (pg. 111) 

Focusing only on yourself and what you can control

As that previous quote mentioned, a big part of practicing the six intimacy skills is focusing only on yourself. You can't make your husband do anything. That's just a fact. So work on yourself and how you act and react toward him. You can control that.

By using the six intimacy skills in her marriage, Laura became a better sister, friend, daughter, and coworker too!*  I love that this whole concept is all about focusing on and bettering yourself!

*Laura Doyle, The Empowered Wife Chapter 13, Stay on Your Own Paper (pg. 112)

Finally, the six skills

Fair warning, some of the skills in this book seem a little, um... Let's say outdated. While reading almost every chapter I thought "I don't know about that" or "that sounds stupid and counter-productive or even oppressive." But by the end of the chapter, I thought "Okay maybe that does work. And it actually sounds empowering. I'm gonna try it."

Skill #1: Replenish your Spirit with Self Care

Disclaimer: This was my favorite skill and the part of the book where I felt like I learned the most. So this section of my blog post will probably be the longest.

Right off the bat, the first skill is self-care. How awesome is that? This skill is about realizing that only you can make yourself happy. And you should stop relying on your husband to do that. If you take the time to take care of yourself, you'll be much more pleasant to be around and people (namely your husband) will be more inclined to take care of you too.

This section emphasizes making time for self care even when that seems like the last thing you should be doing. This section also teaches us how to honor our desires. Our deepest desires. Even if they don't seem possible. Often we don't even allow ourselves to desire something before dismissing it. But part of self care is giving thought and honor to your desires. You are important. Your wants and needs are important.

One thing that stood out to me in this section is that a lot of times when we think we're simply expressing desires, it might not sound like that to our husbands. Laura used an example where she saw an add for dancing lessons and she said "We should take a ballroom dancing class again." And her husband groaned and showed no interest. "We should..." also means "you should" which implies that there is something wrong with the current situation and he and should make a change.

However, if she had said "I would love to take ballroom dance again." (expressing her true, pure desire without expectation), he might jump on the chance to make his wife happy! This gives him the freedom and power to please her.

My first thought when I read this example was that I usually feel bad if I know Pearson is just going along with something because he knows it's what I want. Whenever we're in that situation we end up not doing whatever it was because I insist I don't want to anymore. But this book helped me realize that maybe that's worse than letting him make me happy in this way. In those situations I feel like such an inconvenience, but maybe he really just wants to make me happy and that would make him happy too.

Laura suggest if you're having a hard time expressing your pure desire, then try to get to the why. Maybe you're trying to get your husband to save more money. Why? Because you want to travel. Where do you want to travel to? To Disneyworld! Ok so try "I would love to go to Disneyworld afte you graduate!" He will be more inclined to want to save up for Disneyworld than if you just say "I want to save more money." Or worse, "We should be saving more money." See the difference?

And one last thought in this section, express desires instead of complaining. The phrase, "I am so sick of this heat" sounds so negative and whiny. But if you rephrase it "I would love to cool off," you're more likely to get a response, right? I bet when you read it you already started thinking of ways to cool off; go to the pool, find a place with air conditioning, get some ice cream etc. Much better than sitting around complaining about the situation, right?

Skill #2: Restore Respect

This section was a little hard to swallow. I've always heard that men need respect etc. And I have seen it to be true in our relationship but when Laura told me to practice saying "Whatever you think" when Pearson brings things up, I was like nope. Even if I disagree with something he's saying I have to say "I hear you" instead of telling him the right way to do it? I don't think so!

But when you think about it, your husband knows what's best for his own life. Yes you are part of that and you are invested, but you only know so much about what's best for him. And remember, as I mentioned earlier, you can't make your husband do anything. Getting to really listen to his wants, needs, and fears while making him feel respected is far more rewarding than always "being right" and inserting your opinions.

It's hard to let go of our control (or our perceived control) but when we fully trust our husband's opinions and decisions, it's truly empowering. After all, he is an adult human. He's made it this far in life. I think he'd me making it just fine without you. So why not trust his judgement and let him make decisions for himself?

And one way to get there is to fake it till you make it. So the next time your husband asks you what he should do, say "Whatever you think" and when he tells you something you don't agree with, you don't have to voice that you don't agree. A simple "I hear you" will suffice. This tells him that you trust his judgement.

Now that doesn't mean you can't have opinions. You should respect him and use these phrases on things that effect him (i.e. his job). And maybe even things that effect both of you (i.e. how you pay the bills). But if he is truly asking your opinion (i.e. where do you want to eat?), answer him. If you truly don't care, don't say "Whatever you want" (remember, he wants to please you). Instead, say "Why don't you surprise me?" It always comes back to him wanting to please you, but he needs to do that with his pride in tact and feel respected in the process.

Skill # 3: Relinquish Control of Your Man

This section sort of goes along with what I've already mentioned a couple times; you cannot make your husband do anything and you can only control yourself. The sooner we wives realize this, the less miserable we'll be.

Laura suggests asking yourself these four questions whenever you find yourself trying to control a situation:

  1. What am I afraid of?
  2. Is my fear realistic?
  3. Can I actually control the situation?
  4. Is it worth the intimacy it would cost me to control?
Sometimes the answer is yes. But usually, once you've stepped back and asked yourself these questions, you don't really feel the need to control the situation anymore.

This section talks about staying on your own paper. You can only control what's on your paper. Not your husband's. 

Things not on your paper: How your husband dresses. He's very capable of dressing himself and your fear of him embarrassing you with his clothes is probably irrational. You are not the expert on his life. He is. So he knows how to dress himself. Trust that.

Things that are on your paper: how you dress, what you say, what tone of voice you use, your attitude, whivh websited you visit, who you talk to, where you go to eat, how much sleep you get, and whether or not you floss.

As for things on your husbands paper that do effect you, ask yourself the four questions above. And also try to get to your true desire beneath whatever you're trying to control.

Again, it basically all comes down to trusting your husband to know what's best for his own life. And convincing yourself that you cannot control him so you might as well stop trying.

Skill #4: Receive, Receive, Receive

This was sort of a fun section. And a part of life where I can definitely use some work. That is receptivity. "The more you're willing to receive gifts, compliments, and help from your husband,m the more feminine and attractive you'll be to him and the more special treatment you'll get." -Laura Doyle, The Empowered Wife Skill #4, Receive, Receive, Receive (pg. 159).

Think about it, if you put a lot of thought and effort into a gift for someone and they simply dismiss it, are you going to want to spend the time, money, and energy to get them a thoughtful gift in the future? No. But if they received it with grace, excitement, and gratitude, you'll likely look for more excuses to give to that person in the future.

It's easier said than done though, right? For me, it's hard to accept a compliment. If someone tells me they like my dress, I either immediately tell them I got it on sale or I look for something to compliment them on to sort of "even the playing field." But that's not how it works. Simply accepting the compliment makes you seem more confident and also validates what the person said. This goes against everything I've ever thought I knew.

Another thing I'm very guilty of is not accepting help. Even from my husband! How terrible is that?

But what about when you receive a gift you hate? What if your husband buys you something hideous or simply not very romantic or it's the wrong size?

Well, first of all, if a friend or acquaintance did this, you would find something nice to say "I've never seen one of these before! Thanks" or "What a beautiful color!" Those sound cheesy, but you get the picture. Why should your husband be any different? You're not lying. You're just being kind and grateful. You do appreciate the gesture, right?

And secondly, consider the thought your husband put into the gift. Maybe it's not the romantic piece of jewelry you were expecting, but rather something practical that he noticed you could use to make your life easier. You deserve those things too. Appreciate them!

I have a personal story about this section. And it still makes me sad to remember how I handled the situation...

This past Christmas, Pearson bought me a new Chromebook. Mine was almost 3 years old and running super slow. I had complained about it a lot and he decided I deserved a new one for Christmas. Well when I found out he spent $300 on a gift for me I got mad and told him to cancel the order. We can't afford to spend that much money on a stupid Chromebook right now when we're trying to buy Christmas presents for our families and have enough for our holiday travels!

I'll give you one guess what happened next. Well, he cancelled the order and we fought. It was a huge thing and I handled it completely wrong! I should have trusted that Pearson knew how to handle our finances and would make it work. I should have graciously accepted this gift from my thoughtful husband.

Where would we be now if I had done that? Well we'd have $300 less in or bank account. But we wouldn't have fought and "lost intimacy" as Laura would say. And I'd be typing this on a much faster, nicer, and newer Chromebook. Sigh.

Skill #5: Reveal Your Heart with Vulnerability

Ah vulnerability. It's scary, right? But it's empowering to be vulnerable. To not always have your defenses up. And who better to do that with than your husband?

Some examples Laura uses at the beginning of this section are:
Start by admitting when you're hurt instead of defending yourself.
Instead of saying "You hurt my feelings," try saying nothing but, "Ouch!" [It not so blaming] 
Instead of saying "You're never home," try saying "I miss you." 
Instead of trying to do it all, when you're overwhelmed, say "I can't" or "I need help." 
Instead of trying to figure everything out yourself, ask for advice when you're not sure what to do. 
-Laura Doyle, The Empowered Wife Skill #5, Reveal Your Heart with Vulerability (pg. 173).
See? It is scary. It's easier and feels more safe to blame others and make things about them. It feels more safe to do things for yourself and not admit you need help. But that's a great way to crush intimacy in your relationship. Your husband wants to help you. Let him. 

Skill #6: Refocus Your View with Gratitude

The last and possibly most powerful skill is gratitude. Gratitude seems pretty straightforward and obvious. At least it did for me. But somehow we all seem to have trouble remembering to be grateful. We get caught up in our own problems and forget to thank others for what they do for us. Often our spouses get the worst of this don't they?

Confession, I have certainly fallen into the trap of thinking there is nothing to thank Pearson for because all he did was his job or his chores or something else expected. But that doesn't matter! We should be thankful for those things too! I am very appreciative for all Pearson does. I just need to remember to express that to him!

Laura suggests writing down three things about your spouse every day that you're thankful for. This helps for getting into a thankful mindset. I've read other books that suggest writing down things you're thankful for. Having an attitude of thanksgiving makes us so much more pleasant to be around!

In conclusion...

As I said before, this book opened my eyes. The sooner I learn that I can only control myself and to keep my eyes on my own paper, the better. And as long as I express my desires respectfully and receive gifts and compliments gracefully, Pearson will want to continue making me happy!

I realize that sounds like I don't care about Pearson's happiness but that's not the case at all. It's just that this book was written for wives specifically and how we have power in our relationships that we often don't realize we have.

Have you read The Empowered Wife or any of Laura's books? I highly recommend this one. In fact, I'm giving away a copy! Enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win! (Must be a resident of the US or Canada to enter)
Thanks for reading!
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