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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Terry

How Did I Get Here?

Updated: Jul 16


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. Laying in a hospital gown with my husband within arms reach, I have never felt more alone. My husband did not comfort me nor hold me, he said, “Shhhh! Other people will hear you.” My heart shattered. I shamefully wept in the cold hospital bed utterly depleted. I started counting the stripes on my socks to calm down. We left the clinic in separate cars

and I checked into a hotel alone….

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. When we first got together I lived in a garage for goodness sake, there wasn’t even a real bathroom! He was my adventure soulmate. We hiked fourteeners, fly fished, rafted rivers I had never heard of, 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. 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.

After years of trying, 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 our kids second birthday, Kevin walked into our bedroom and asked if I still loved him. He asked if I wanted a divorce.

I realized at that moment, laying on our bed, that I was lost. I was a ghost of the free-spirited woman I had been. I was 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, 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 started with one phrase.

Kevin and I were in the kitchen mapping out holiday plans. He asked if we should go to my parent’s house, his parent’s house, or stay home. 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 was changing the dance. What a relief.

I dipped my toe into the Laura Doyle community 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. The women in our group have become sisters. These inspiring, like-minded women embraced me. My struggle was real. I was not alone on top of a jagged mountain anymore. I had no idea I was allowed to want more. The one-on-one coaching uncovered so many gigantic and also very subtle blind spots. Then we were able to dig deep, figure out what was REALLY going on in my challenges. I also love sharing what is working in my life. What I focus on increases, and there is plenty to celebrate.

The immersion into this program has taken my marriage to a level beyond my dreams. I express gratitude to my husband and my soulmate and hero has returned. I fill my cup with self-care and show up with dignity. My prickly porcupine exterior has crumbled away and I receive anything and everything! Yummy baked goods from my neighbor, a friend’s help doing dishes after a BBQ, my husband’s hand slipping dangerously low on my back. I am becoming my best me on this adventure.

I absolutely hit road bumps because I am a mere mortal woman after all. The icy cold wars that could last for days, weeks, even months in our marriage are resolved faster and appear rarely nowadays. When I start slipping to the bad old days my awareness and my coach guide me back to the skills. It’s a choice for me. Why would I choose autopilot when I could fly with Peter Pan?

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