028: Laura Doyle On The Mission To End World Divorce
Laura Doyle wrote a book on how to create successful marriages which became a New York Times Best Seller, the book was translated into 19 languages and is available in 30 countries. As a result, she “accidentally” started a worldwide movement of women who practice the 6 intimacy skills she discovered that creates that lead to have amazing vibrant relationships. She’s the creator of an international relationship coaching company and over the years, she has appeared on Today Show, Good Morning America and The View. Laura has been married for 27 years and now she is on the mission to end world divorce.
Laura Doyle On The Mission To End World Divorce
Human relationships are one of the most powerful forms of transformation particularly between couples. Our guest wrote the book on how to create successful marriages and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills that lead to have amazing, vibrant relationships. She is a New York Times bestselling author whose books have been translated into seventeen languages and helped over a 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 is most proud of is her gratifying 27-year marriage with her hilarious husband, John. It’s so great to have you on the show, Laura Doyle.
Thank you so much. It’s great to be here, Mitch.
Your story is so powerful. It actually drives your whole business. What I’d like to do Laura is let’s start from the beginning and see how this incredible accidental movement that you’ve built really was created. Tell me about exactly how this whole thing started.
I was the perfect wife. Then I actually got married. When I was trying to improve my husband, trying to tell him how to dress better and how to eat healthier and how to make a resume and how to make a budget, he avoided me and it was really heartbreaking. I was very lonely and I couldn’t understand why he was more interested in watching reruns on TV than he was in spending time with me or even in making love to me. I knew that there was something wrong with him. I knew that I should just take him to marriage counseling and then the counselor would fix him and I could finally be happy because I thought that was how it works. Counseling, it didn’t help actually. That’s when I became the most hopeless. I realized he was never going to change and I either needed to get divorced or I was going to spend the rest of my life in a loveless marriage. That just was too daunting.
I decided to divorce him but there was just one problem. I was too embarrassed to get divorced and people had been to the wedding just not that many years before. As a last-ditch effort, I decided to ask women who had been married for what seemed like an eternity, which was fifteen years, how they had stayed married, “How do you have a happy marriage?” I asked for their secrets. What they said didn’t even make sense to me. I remember one woman said, “I try never to criticize my husband no matter how much it seems like he deserves it.” “Have you got anything else?” I didn’t really think I could do that. Over time, my desperation won out. I made my marriage like a laboratory and I just did experiments in it and I tried everything that I heard and if it worked, I kept it. If it didn’t, I threw it out. What emerged were what I now call The Six Intimacy Skills. I remember I’ve been doing them for a little while and I came through the door and his face lit up. He was happy to see me again and that had been gone. I thought, “This is working.” It was so amazing to me that I had so much power in my relationship. I thought, “He was the one that needed to change,” but it was amazing to see how he responded to me so much better when I made changes.
That’s an amazing story and I am sure that when you look back and when you think about what you had to go through, that your instinct would be to save other women from having to go through that as well, right?
Exactly right, Mitch. In fact, since one of the things that I learned was controlling my husband was damaging the intimacy, so I couldn’t control him anymore. I thought, “I’m just going to control my girl friends and they would complain about their relationships,” and I’d say, “Say this or do that and try this.” The next thing you know, I had a little support group in my living room. There are five of us. We were all focused on making our marriages magical again. They had been turning the clock back to the beginning of the relationship when we felt so excited and exhilarated to be with our husbands and thought they were smart and funny and handsome. We started to see these incredible miracles in this circle.
I remember one woman came and said, “My husband won the sales contest at work and he took me on the most romantic trip of our lives.” Another woman said, “My husband just decided to paint the family room. We’ve been bickering about it. I’ve been trying to get him to do it for months and he just decided to do it.” We knew that we were on to something. Then one woman said, “Could you write down what we’re doing so I can send it to my cousin in Florida? She wants to know too.” I said, “Sure. I’ll do that.” That became my first book, The Surrendered Wife, which is a controversial title. A lot of women hear surrendered wife and they go, “Subservient or submissive or obedient,” but that’s not it at all. A surrendered wife just knows she can’t change anyone besides herself so she doesn’t try. She doesn’t tell her husband what to wear or what to eat for lunch or what to do at work. Instead, she focuses on her own happiness and that in turn improves the intimacy.
Once this book came out, Dateline NBC came and did an investigative report on the methods. When it aired, the book went to number one on Amazon and became a New York Times bestseller. It’s now in nineteen languages in 30 countries. It’s just been an incredible ride; a platform I never imagined that I would have. Now, I’m on a mission to end world divorce by making sure that every woman has access to these Six Intimacy Skills. I’m from a broken home. I was following a failed recipe and I was about to get the same result. There was no Relationships 101 at my school and there probably wasn’t at yours either. I just want to make sure that this information gets into all the hands of the women who want to feel desired and feel cherished and also adored.
You and I have worked together and I was thrilled to be a small part of a tiny bit of your success early on by giving you a little bit of help and guidance. One of the first things I remember is hearing the name of your book, The Surrendered Wife, and I kept thinking, “How can I possibly give this book to my wife? She’s probably going to hit me with it if I do,” because of that title.
That’s been the challenge. First of all, Mitch, you were more than just a small part. You were amazingly insightful and saved us a lot of time and energy with your contributions to me growing this business to what it’s become. I get emails from men all the time, “This is right on. This really resonates. This is exactly how I feel and how in the world do I give my wife a book called The Surrendered Wife? I can’t. I’m going to have it surgically removed later,” and it’s absolutely true. My new book is called The Empowered Wife and it’s now been made into an Amazon series. We have nineteen episodes called the Empowered Wives and that’s a much easier title to give your wife. One of the things that I was mindful of as I was making this new book is, “How can I give it a title that’s going to be a lot more appealing if a husband gives it to a wife?” I will say that there actually are many stories of women where the husband did give them the book, The Surrendered Wife, and it’s amazing to me. I just admire the humility and courage of a woman who’s willing to open a book like that from anybody but much as from her husband. I have one coach in particular in the UK whose husband was pretty persistent, “Please read this book,” and when she finally did. It really resonated with her. It really spoke to her.
I want to go back to something you said. Did I hear you say that you have an Amazon television series?
Yes. It’s come out and there are nineteen episodes. What we do is take the intimacy skills and apply them to a variety of situations. Some marriages were maybe that the sizzle is gone and she is looking to get that back and other ones that seem way beyond repair. There’s a mistress. They have been separated. There’s a divorce already filed and we apply the intimacy skills and just see what happens and it’s just remarkable. You can really see the transformation, the a-ha moments, that these women have and then recognizing their own power and their feminine gifts and how to employ them to make their relationships magical again. I’m really excited about it. It’s got a ton of five-star reviews. People seem to be really enjoying it. You can go and watch the first episode. It’s free for Prime members and it’s free if you get a free trial of Prime for a month as well.
I’d love to see this. This sounds so exciting. Enough about relationships, Laura, we know you’re the expert. The real question here is the business. Everyone has already been convinced that they’ve got to have your book and they already know that if they are male, they somehow have to find a way to get their wife to watch this incredible series. Let’s go back to the business because our listeners are business people and they are trying to get to the point where you are at today. How did you go from coffee klatches in the living room, a couple of friends sitting around and chatting, to a book, to a worldwide phenomenon, to a television series? Could you walk us through some of what actually happened? I know that there is a lot of luck. I’ll call it for the sake of conversation, chance but you and I both know there is no such thing. It’s all about being prepared and having the mindset open to letting this happen. Tell us the steps you took so that the universe was able to empower you to have all of these successes?
As you heard in my story about writing the book, there was definitely I would say a lack of preparedness. I remember telling my husband that I thought there would be at least 2,000 women who would be interested in my book. We had originally self-published it actually. It immediately sold out I remember and then I was getting calls from all over the world and media in the United Kingdom and other countries and then Dateline and lots of other places, big media outlets here. I was super excited and I was so passionate about my message I just said, “Yes,” to everything and Simon & Schuster re-released the book. It just really hit big. Then there was this avalanche of women writing to me and I didn’t have anything set up for it. It was so sad.
I was really literally just trying to support thousands of women one-on-one through email and phone. I put my phone and email right in the book. I was so passionate. I really want to help them and yet, it was just more than one mere mortal woman could do. I got absolutely, completely, totally overwhelmed. I didn’t have any systems or structure. I just couldn’t see how it was possible and I ended up saying to myself, “Everything is in the book. If you want to have a better relationship, just read the book.” I metaphorically put my feet up on the desk and said, “I’m going to go use the restroom and just kept going.” I just walked away from the whole thing because of the overwhelm for a time. I’m embarrassed to say it, I’m sad to say it because I feel like I missed some years that I could have been working on my mission that I love so much.
If I’m honest, I really was just so scared. I was like, “Who am I?” People were writing and asking me to come speak at their events with 5,000 people and I’ve never done that before. I had no idea and that seemed really terrifying. It really became clear too like, “This is why I want to be the armchair quarterback of my husband’s life.” It was a lot less terrifying than writing a controversial book where I had haters and having to go on national TV for the first time and speaking live in front of audience. That was really scary stuff. It seemed safer to just take potshots of what my husband was doing. It was like my life emerged as I relinquished inappropriate control of his life. Then my desires led me back. I couldn’t not talk about what I had learned in relationships. When I circled back, I decided that what I needed to do was train other women to be coaches on The Six Intimacy Skills. That was the first thing I did. I started a coach training school and I started with ten women and some of those coaches are still with me now. They are my old time best coaches and it’s so wonderful to have them.
Instead of coaching people myself directly, I just took all the requests that came in and I connected them to my experts on The Six Intimacy Skills and that worked. It was a miracle. I couldn’t believe it. The coaches loved it and the clients were being really well-served and they love their coaches. That was exciting. It brought up a bunch of new problems. There were so many new problems. Now I needed to provide structures and support and systems for these coaches. I knew that I was not a good structure and support person and I decided I needed to hire somebody to do that. I read this article online where they said, “If you need to hire a chief operating officer, someone to run your company, then it’s probably somebody you already know.” As soon as I read that, this name came to mind. I thought, “Kathy Murray,” and she had come to me right when the book first came out and said, “I need this work. I used one of your cheat phrases in my relationship and I got a great result and I know this is right. I want to learn how to do this and train other women to do it too so that I can keep it alive in my marriage.” She had been running private schools.
I offered her the job. I said, “Kathy, how about if you come and run my non-existent company?” I had ten coaches and a few clients and things but really just a nothing company. At the time, she said, “No. That’s okay. I’ve just been offered this really big job with big pay and benefits and a lot of prestige. I’m going to run this really prestigious private school.” I said, “All right,” and I hired somebody else. I hired the wrong person. It wasn’t a good fit at all and she hated the job. A couple of months later, she called me back and said, “Do you still have that opening?” I said, “No. I don’t. I hired somebody else but I’ll tell you what, I need somebody to make these phone calls for me. I’ve got a whole bunch of people reaching out and we haven’t been able to call them back. Can you call them back?” She started doing that and that’s when she realized she was home. She gave up the big job and started running the company and she is so passionate. She’s just been a ridiculous boon to the business and it felt like a big risk for me because I had to make a substantial investment in her. She had to live and she was used to making a lot more money than I was paying her so she settled for a little bit less. I remember just thinking, “What if I can’t meet this kind of payroll? How is this going to work?” I set out to do it and I remember there were definitely months when I would be saying, “Kathy, make another sale so I can pay you this month.”
What I love most about it is not that you had assembled fifteen years of experience and skill, what you did was you followed your passion. What you did was you discovered something and intuitively knew that there was a huge need for it, then just followed the path, the breadcrumbs that were laid out in front of you. You might say it was lucky that all of a sudden that book became a New York Times bestseller but it didn’t. It wasn’t luck. It was the fact that you found this hole in society that needed to be filled and you found it through your own self-journey. That’s the part that a lot of entrepreneurs I think really, really need to hear because it’s not coming up with a new idea or it’s not a coming up with the next gizmo to launch on the internet. It’s filling that need. It’s finding and filling that need and then finding the best possible way to do it, which is exactly why you created your Six Intimacy Skills which now are the basis of your entire coaching program. I’m an admirer of the process of what you’ve done, but I want to hear about it evolved. Once the book came out, once you had your little group of coaches, once you hired Kathy, it seems like you are pretty well setup, but it didn’t stop there. Keep telling the story. What else happened next?
Kathy and I had this mentality in the beginning that we needed to do everything ourselves. There was just the two of us. We had the coaches and they were great, but when it came to running the business, we just thought we had to do everything ourselves because we were on a shoestring budget frankly. It just didn’t seem like we had the resources to go and get some of the things that we later decided to invest in. I just remember I created a program and I made the logo myself and we called it The Company Logos for Less, “Here’s another logo from the Logos for Less,” and they were terrible logos, Mitch. It’s very homespun at first. When I look back, I think that was largely fear. I was just afraid to invest further and I really love how the whole process just stretched my mindset so much. The success of the book was a huge lift, but I needed just baby steps to grow into the entrepreneur that I am now. I think there were a lot of times when I was impatient but now I’m really grateful. I remember there was a day when I got introduced to an agency. I had been invested in various mentors. You and I met because I had invested on a mentor. We met at Jack Canfield’s house. The Harrison brothers were great mentors and many others.
This was the first time I invested in somebody where it wasn’t do-it-yourself, it was done-for-you. One of the things I had been trying to do was I created this program called The Surrendered Wife Empowered Woman and it was really a self-study program for The Six Intimacy Skills. I launched it by doing a live webinar where I gave away valuable content and I showed women some of my best tips for making their relationships amazing and magical. Then at the end I said, “If this resonates with you, if you want some more, then I have this wonderful program and here’s a special price for it.” We so overestimated. We said, “Everyone is going to want this. We’re going to sell a thousand of these.” I think only 23 people came to that first webinar and two of them bought, which is not a bad conversion. We just had this really unrealistic expectation and we did that again and again and again. I forget how many times we tried to launch that webinar. We tweaked it each time.
It wasn’t until I got this agency and Chad Cannon actually made a big difference in our business too who and said, “You’ve got to do Facebook Ads. I’ll show you how to do them,” and he did. Now, I spend over $20,000 a month on Facebook Ads and it’s just the lifeblood of my business. It’s at the top of the funnel where people come in and get indoctrinated to The Six Intimacy Skills and that’s a big a-ha. I think it’s a big awakening for them and then from there, they want to get some private coaching and from there they want to come to my Cherished for Life Weekend, my live weekend. From there, they want to train to be coaches and impart this wisdom to other women and make a difference in the lives of women who are struggling in their marriages. That was a big deal for us to stop doing things ourselves and really invest in experts who have been there and done that and can save us a lot of heartache. I remember working with this agency, a lot of times he would save us from ourselves. We’d say, “We thought of this program we want to make,” and he would say, “No. That’s a big waste of time.” I’m looking back, he was right. He had some perspective that I really needed. It was a humbling experience to just recognize we don’t know everything. We’ve got to bring in some other people that are smart.
You mentioned something that I want to focus on. You mentioned that there was a point in time where you were afraid to extend yourself because you didn’t trust that the business would take off the way it has. This is a very important element of going to the next step for many people. It’s having done enough work in your business to know what you have. To understand that there is a demand, that there is a product that it is fulfilling that demand and that people love the product. Now, there’s the element where you need to hold your nose and jump off the diving board and make that first investments. Today, you said you’re spending $20,000 a month on Facebook and it’s worth every penny and double or triple that I’m sure. You could have never done that without having gotten to that point. This is exactly where many entrepreneurs get stuck. They get tripped up and they can’t get past the fear. Can you give us some tips for really what that looks like and maybe what you did or what you would advice others to do?
Going back to my marriage, I was on a spiritual journey in a way. What I mean by that, a journey of the spirit. Not in a religious sense but I had been exhausting myself trying to control someone I couldn’t control, trying to focus on things that were out of my power. Relinquishing inappropriate control meant looking at my fear, feeling that fear come up. One of the skills in relinquishing inappropriate control is that control is always based in fear. You wouldn’t have to try to control your husband if you weren’t afraid he was going to make you late or make you have to work harder or spend more or be lonely. We’re always trying to control because we’re afraid of something.
For me, the process of surrendering, not trying to change someone else was about building up my courage muscles. I became much more courageous as a person. That was training grounds for what ended up happening in my business. The more I trusted, the more my husband stepped up and became that amazing man that I had married and the less he felt defensive and protective and trying to declare his own autonomy, I was pretty well-prepared from my marriage to do the same thing with the universe. As the next indicated step presented itself, I would feel that terror rise up and it would feel familiar and I developed fearlessness. I feel that a lot of my success is based on making those courageous decisions when they were in front of me. Sometimes, they just felt like wild bets but they were based on that conviction that the world needs to get these intimacy skills. It’s so important. It’s so vital. It means so much to me. It’s so gratifying to do this work and I had to do it. I couldn’t let my fear stop me.
What I’m hearing and this is a super important point is the word conviction. The other part of this is that once you realized the true value of your work, I believe you understood whether you articulated it this way or not, that you had a moral obligation, Laura Doyle, to get that out there. Make sure that you help all these other women who without this amazing work would never receive that kind of help and maybe end up in a horrible marriage or divorce or just plain miserable for the rest of their lives. It isn’t until that point, listeners, when you decide that what you’re doing is so important that you have this moral obligation to put it into the hands of your clients. That’s exactly what Laura did and that’s exactly what her company does now. Laura, you are the consummate entrepreneur. You operate on a spiritual level. You follow your heart. You let courageous decisions lead you. Your fear doesn’t push you backwards, it pushes you forward. This is exactly what everybody needs to understand. This is what I coach in my own practice. This is what the most successful people in the world do when they feel the fear. They see it as an indicator of now it’s time to stretch.
That is now my barometer. I’m like, “Am I going in the right direction? This is terrifying. Good. Let’s do that.” I’m terrified all the time. Still, I’m terrified all the time.
That means you’re still growing, that’s great.
I wouldn’t have it any other way because I want an exciting life. I want to live in adventure and I want to do things that are meaningful. It’s just what you said, “I have a moral obligation.” I get these amazing letters almost everyday. I get a letter from a woman saying, “You saved my marriage. After twenty years, I finally understand how to communicate with my husband. It’s like having the Rosetta Stone. We were about to get divorced and I can’t thank you enough.” There’s nothing more gratifying in the world than that. It does propel me on. Everyday, I just want to save one more marriage, one more marriage, “What can I do today to serve my mission of ending world divorce?” That’s what I ask myself everyday.
It’s an incredible mission and it’s a mission that I could stand behind. I want to make sure that everybody who is listening gets a chance to work with Laura’s material. Laura, would you do me a favor please and share with the listeners exactly how they could either get a hold of you or get in touch with your material and understand what it is you’re offering?
I actually have something really fun going on right now. It’s called The Get Cherished Challenge. You go to GetCherished.com then what I’ll do is if you log in, I’ll email you five simple experiments that you can try in your marriage to see how they work for you. That was how I started. Just experimenting and seeing how my husband responded. That’s fun; you can make his head explode in a good way. Also you can read a free chapter of The Empowered Wife or you could go to Amazon and watch the Empowered Wives series. I also have a blog where I want everyone to get this information. Every week, I’m taking a new stab at communicating the skills and empowering women and inspiring them to really take a look at their power. All the power they have in their relationships. You can read that blog at LauraDoyle.org.
Now, Laura, I’m going to ask you a question that you’ve already answered. I know what it is you’re going to say, but it’s called the change the world question. The reason I ask you this is because I think all of us in business have an element of what we do or an element of what we want to do that is really there to change the world. I’ll ask you so that you could state it succinctly. What is it, Laura Doyle, that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
I would like to get as many women The Six Intimacy Skills in their hands so that they can practice them and make their marriages not just okay, but make them magical. Make them amazing. Make them exhilarating, passionate and playful so that we can finally end world divorce. There’s an expression that, “In order to put the world right, we had to first put our own country right. In order to put our own country right, we have to first put our own families right. In order to put our own families right, we have to first put our own hearts right.” That’s what these skills do. They are the best self-improvement program I’ve ever been on. I am on a mission to make sure every woman gets them.
If you had the ability to go back in time and have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park or a quick lunch or an intense conversation with anyone in living or present or past history, who would that person be?
It’s going to sound a little trite but it absolutely would be Abraham Lincoln. In fact just recently, I was re-reading The Gettysburg Address. One of the things that really impressed me about Lincoln is he had such a vision from such an early point of a united country without slavery. It must have looked ridiculously hard from where he started out, but he just was so steadfast with that vision. I’m so impressed with him. I’m so inspired by him. When I read The Gettysburg Address, it moves me all over again. I would love to spend an hour with that man and understand where he got that incredible conviction and wisdom.
I believe you are the first person to say Abraham Lincoln and I happen to agree with you. He is an amazing individual. I have read The Gettysburg Address and I have marveled in its wisdom back when it was written so long ago. We are here with Laura Doyle. She is here to change the world. She wants to make magical marriages. Go to LauraDoyle.org or go to GetCherished.com. Log in, get your simple experiments, read the free chapter and watch her show because I can’t wait to see how it works. Laura, thank you again for this time together. I loved it. I wish you all the luck in the world.
Thank you so much, Mitch. I loved it too.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Get Cherished Challenge
- Laura’s Blog
- The Surrendered Wife book
- The New Amazon Prime Show, Empowered Wives
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