Episode 149 – The Hard Work of Marriage


We have all heard or lived through the phrase that marriage is hard work.  Today I am digging into why it is hard, why it requires so much work.  The answers may surprise you.  I am also discussing how to be more at peace with yourself and others.  I will talk about how to truly love yourself more.  This one act alone will help you love others more and help you achieve your “happily ever after.”


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Show Summary:

Have you ever noticed that in almost all of the movies and the books the story ends when they get married?  They are all about the love story. The falling in love.  The struggles they had along the way, but ultimately bringing them to that place where they finally get married.  And then the story ends. We are left with “And they lived happily ever after.”  But we don’t actually see what that “happily ever after is.”  We don’t actually see what a good marriage looks like. On the other hand, there are also lots of books and movies that show marriage, but they are usually about them falling apart.  Those books and movies aren’t about them surviving and finding joy and happiness and working through all of the hard times. No, we don’t see that in the movies. So how do we know how we are supposed to know what marriage, a good marriage, actually looks like?

We’ve all been told that marriage is hard. And in some ways, I agree that marriage IS hard. But how is it hard? We also say that marriage is a lot of work. But what is that work?

Marriage is hard and is a lot of work because it pressures our own self-development. It shows us all of our weaknesses. It holds up a clear picture of where we are not enough.  Where we are lacking.  Where all of our flaws are.  It holds up a brutal mirror to everything we have tried to repress and shoved down into ourselves.  It shows everything we don’t like about ourselves.  And as humans, we don’t like to confront our weaknesses.  We don’t like to see all of our issues.  We don’t want to see all the ways we are not living up to who we could be or how we are insufficient.  We tend to want to run and hide from them, or blame others for them, or repress them.  A good marriage doesn’t allow for that.  In a good marriage, we have to be willing to look at our weaknesses.  To look at the ways we are not contributing.  That is not fun.  It is not easy work.  That is why marriage is hard; and that is the work of marriage.  I think that learning to confront ourselves and seeing all of the flaws is one of the main reasons why Heavenly Father commanded us to marry. Why marriage is the ultimate and highest state. Because it pressures us to grow to become better to become more like our heavenly parents. 

When marriages fall apart, most of the time, it’s because someone doesn’t want to do that work on themselves. They want the other person to do all of the work, so that they can stay comfortable, right where they are.  They refuse to see themselves as part of the problem and blame everything on their spouse.  And this, by itself, is uncomfortable.  Being stuck and stagnant is uncomfortable.  But so is growth. Growth is also uncomfortable.  And so then we have to make a choice. We have to make a choice of whether we are going to stay stuck and be uncomfortable. Or, we are going to grow and change become better and higher versions of ourselves…and be uncomfortable as we do so.

And this is primarily the work that I do with women. I am helping them learn “the how.”  I am teaching them the skills that they need to learn to change and grow and become better and confront themselves. And we do this from the perspective of their sexuality, because often this is a point of contention and a part of themselves that they have been unwilling to confront on their own.  And not that they even see it like that.  Many of the women see it as “their husband’s problem” or that their sexuality isn’t essential.  But it is.   Helping women see that their sexuality is an essential part of who they are and it needs to be confronted is a big part of the work.  But it’s not all of it.  It’s just part of it.   

The work that I do with women is about self-development.  Development in every way.  So we work on your relationship with yourself; becoming aware of the parts of you that maybe need to mature and change and grow up to serve you and your marriage better. To become that higher version of yourself and more like your heavenly parents. When I think about our heavenly parents, I don’t think they have a lot of mind drama. I think they are very intentional about the way that they use their agency. They’re very intentional about every thought, feeling, and action. And this, this is precisely what I teach women to do, is how to be more intentional with what they think, feel, and how they act. It’s a very simple process, but that doesn’t mean it is easy.  But it is worth the effort. I can attest to this in my own life and in the life of my clients.

When I was in my first marriage, my daily mantra for many, many years was “I can’t change him. I can only change how I react.” And yet, I didn’t quite understand how to actually do that. 

In the Gospel, we are taught that we need to become more like our Savior. We need to forgive. We need to love unconditionally. We need to not judge each other. But how can you do that? One of the most amazing things that I have learned through coaching is the how.  How to actually become more like my Savior.  How to think more intentionally.  Feel intentionally.  Act intentionally.  How to live the gospel to the fullest.  Now, am I perfect at it? Absolutely not. I am still human. But I know the how. And I work to do that on a daily basis.

And this is also what my clients learn how to do. And they learn how to do it in every aspect of their life, including their sexuality. One of my clients in a testimonial she gave me, said that she feels so much more at peace in her marriage, her sexual relationship, and her life in general. And when she doesn’t feel peace, she knows how to get there if she wants to.  That is huge.  

We all want peace. We all want love.  We want to love others and we want to feel loved and be loved. And yet we often don’t understand how to do this. Instead we try to pressure other people to change, so that we can feel better when truly, it’s us that needs to make the changes.  Because in order for us to feel better, it has to come from within. It has to come from the way that we are choosing to think about ourselves, and those around us and our life and our marriage, and our sexual relationship. We have to be intentional. We have to move forward with purpose. 

Now, if this sounds like something that you might want to do. I encourage you to sign up for my group coaching program. My clients get phenomenal results. And I would love that for you too. 

Coaching is definitely an investment. It is an investment in you. It is investment in your marriage. It’s an investment that will pay off eternally. We spend all kinds of money on things we think matter, but really don’t in the long run.  We are usually willing to spend good money on our kids, hiring them teachers and coaches to help them better themselves and develop themselves in the ways that they want to, and the ways that we think are necessary. Why don’t we do that for ourselves? 

Most of us didn’t learn these skills when we were growing up.  How to be intentional.  How to think clearly.  How to have emotional resiliency and emotional independence.  We didn’t learn them in school or in church, and most of the time we didn’t learn them in our families either. Instead, we learned that we are responsible for other people’s emotions and other people are responsible for our emotions. And so in order to feel better, we have to change or manipulate other people so that we can feel better.  So that we can feel at peace.  And that’s just not true.

We can feel good and we can feel at peace anytime we want to.  No matter what our circumstances are.  We can choose the ways that we think about our life, about our relationship, about our husband, about our kids. We can choose what we want to think about it all. Now, this isn’t just some, you know, think better thoughts and all of a sudden feel better. When we try to think new things that we know aren’t true, it doesn’t work.  That’s why affirmations, most of the time, don’t work, because you’re trying to believe something you know isn’t true. But when we can believe what we’re thinking, that is when we can start making changes.  And I have a step by step process that teaches you how to do this. How to make those changes in any area of your life that you want to make changes in. And changes that are true and authentic to you and who you want to become.

So, what are you waiting for?  This is how you become the best version of yourself. I can honestly say I am living my best life. I love my life. I love my marriage, I love my husband. I love my children. I love my family, I love my friends. I love my ward members. I love perfect strangers on the street. I have found ways to love everyone in my life. And it feels so good. But most important, I’ve learned to love myself. My whole self. I’ve learned to embrace my weaknesses. And that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to change them. Of course I’m constantly working to become better. But it doesn’t mean that I choose not to love myself because of that. And I want this for you too. If you are ready to make these changes to find happiness and peace in every area of your life, including your sex life, sign up for some group coaching.

You can go to amandalouder.com/groups to get all the information.  I have a new group starting Thursday, March 4 at 10am Mountain Time and I would love to have you.

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