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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Terry

How Did I Get Here?

Updated: Jan 23


I was crying in a fertility clinic when it dawned on me, I married the wrong person. I married Peter Pan and he would never grow up. After our fifth insemination procedure (IUI), my doctor tilted the bed so my feet were up in the air and my head was tipped downward. Vulnerable in a hospital gown with my husband within arms reach, I have never felt more alone in my life. Somewhere along our fertility journey the connection in my marriage vanished.

My husband did not comfort me nor hold me. He said, “Shhhh! Steph other people will hear you.” My heart shattered. I started counting the orange, blue and brown stripes on my smart wool socks to calm down. When the procedure was complete and we were cleared to leave, my husband sped home in his truck and I slid into my Subaru and checked into a hotel room.

But wait, I used to be so fun, I used to be so confident, I totally kicked butt! How did I get here?

Like so many great love stories Kevin and I met in a bar. We fell in love hard, fast and unapologetically. For five years we stayed strong through college graduations, long distance, job changes and moves. He had the work-hard to play-hard mentality that was oh so attractive. Together we hiked fourteeners, rafted rivers I had only read about, slept under the stars in the bed of his truck and could not keep our hands off of each other. I knew exactly what I wanted. And I had him.

I held onto these precious memories after my collapse in the fertility clinic. I still loved this man and wasn't ready to give up on our relationship or having a baby together. So I followed the advice of my wise and of course well-intentioned mentors. I pulled up my bootstraps and soldiered on. I could sweep my resentment under the rug. I could plan everything out in advance to avoid further disappointment. I could make all the decisions big and small and we could stay afloat. I totally knew what I was doing.

And finally, we got pregnant! On a sunny December day, Kevin and I brought home our newborn twins. A round faced baby girl and a fist pumping baby boy. Perfection, right?

Queue the Control!

I didn’t trust my husband to warm or sanitize the bottles. I corrected the way he held our children. I vetoed dinners he made because they were too spicy for my breast milk. When we ate together I hated the way he chewed his food. I hated the way he breathed sleeping next to me. I was so critical and prickly I flinched when Kevin, my soulmate attempted to touch me.

I also rejected any help he offered. If I explained how to load the dishwasher it took too long and it was just more efficient to do it myself. I kicked a hole in my daughter’s bedroom door. I threw a water bottle into the kitchen and dented the stainless-steel dishwasher. That resentment had an interesting way of exploding out from that rug I swept it under.

After I cleaned up our kids second birthday party, and gave myself a pat on the back for getting the perfect pictures of my daughter with pink frosting on her nose and my son with blue cupcake all over his cheeks, Kevin walked into our bedroom and asked if I wanted a divorce. He asked if that would make me happy. I'm doing everything anyways, what difference would it make? I thought to myself. At the time I had no idea that was the problem. I was doing everything.

Instead of the free-spirited woman I had been, I was lost on autopilot. It felt like I hiked up a mountain with my soulmate and never even noticed he stopped to tie his shoe. I just forged ahead without him. And now I was alone on a very high steep mountain, scared and broken. I started counting the blue stripes on my duvet cover to calm down.

And then it happened. After months of failed marriage counseling, several relationship blogs, podcasts and books, The Empowered Wife by, Laura Doyle came through my ear buds while walking my dog. This woman got me. She embraced me. She gave me hope. She gave me grace.

Although Laura Doyle got me, The Six Intimacy Skills did not have me at “Hello.” To actually implement the skills felt daunting. I had gotten comfortable at my resentful, controlling table for one. However, I knew I had nothing to lose so I experimented with a cheat phrase...

Kevin and I were standing at the kitchen island mapping out holiday plans. He asked if our four pack should travel to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, his parent’s house Christmas, or stay home for everything and host. I hesitantly said, “Whatever you think.” He gave me a confused look and walked right into our sliding glass door, BAM! I still don’t know what surprised him more, my response or the glass door. I surprised myself too. By relinquishing control of our holiday plans I felt 1,000 lbs lighter. It was no longer my burden. And my husband actually had a say. Imagine that?!? I was changing the dance. What a relief...

I dipped my toe into The Six Intimacy Skills by reading the books, listening to the podcast and joining challenges. The successes I experienced were so motivating I wanted to study the skills at the deepest level. I dove into Relationship Coach Training. I'm not a relationship coach because my marriage has always been perfect. I've chosen to pay it forward as a coach because I've been there and achieved success beyond my dreams.

Why would I choose autopilot when I could fly with Peter Pan?

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