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Interviews With Wives: Amy Carroll

Posted on Posted in Wisdom For Wives

Amy, tell us about you!

 

I’m about to have a significant birthday. I’ll be 50 in October, and that fact leaves my head spinning! Can I confess that I still think of myself as 30? I’m smarter, though, and I’ve learned a lot of important things in those 20 years. Younger women, the best is yet to come!

 

I’m a weird mix that I refer to as a Rebel Rule-Follower. There’s part of me that just wants to do everything right and be the good girl. There’s another part of me that wants a leather jacket, a Harley, and the open road.

 

What sort of difficulties have you faced as a wife?

 

The biggest difficulty we faced early in marriage was my lack of trust. I had been through a broken engagement in college that left me wrecked. That man played a lot of games with my heart. I spent over a decade of our marriage believing in my heart -of –hearts that I had to protect myself from Barry to avoid that kind of hurt again. The fact that Barry is so honest and loyal made that whole exercise of maintaining somewhat of a wall between us a total waste of time and was damaging to the deeper oneness available in marriage.

 

Were there any unhealthy expectations you had going into marriage that you later learned were not helpful?

 

Oh mercy. I’ve written a whole book, Breaking Up with Perfect, on this very topic. My leaning toward perfectionism was fed by an unhealthy church I attended in college and reached a fevered pitch as a young mom. Barry definitely got the brunt of all the “pictures of perfect” in my head, and my marriage suffered from a low-level discontent that I carried all the time. Nothing—including me—lived up to those ridiculous pictures of perfection.

 

Barry’s greatest gift to me has been the way he just lets me be. He doesn’t critique me, try to change me or heap expectations on me. About ten years ago, I got determined to return that gift. Appreciating the man I married instead of constantly trying to tweak him has exponentially increased our happiness quotient.

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How did you struggle with housework and/or differences in amount of work each spouse does?

 

We’ve struggled like all couples with this, but I think we’re in a pretty satisfied place. I like things neater than he does, so I am happy to pick up since it’s my expectation.  We’ve met in the middle, but I do the lion’s share of the housework since my work requires far less hours than his.

 

How do you or did you struggle with intimacy?

 

I’ll just say it. I pretty much love sex as much as he does, so it hasn’t been too much of a struggle. There was a period, though, when my libido dropped way off, and it was a struggle. Barry finally pushed me to see a doctor, and I was diagnosed as hypothyroid.

 

My encouragement would be that if you’re not into the intimate part of your relationship, don’t automatically assume that it will always be that way. Visit your doctor. Get some blood tests, and have an honest conversation. There might be a physical solution that really helps.

 

My other big recommendation is to read Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog http://sheilawraygregoire.com/ She comes from a Christian perspective but talks very openly about sex. I read it on a regular basis to keep everything tuned up!

 

How do you struggle with communication with your spouse and what have you learned that helps with communication?

 

I came into the marriage with zero conflict resolution skills. My husband’s biggest strength is communication, so more often than not, I’m the problem. I tend to shut down instead of wanting to talk. We’ve learned to compromise over the years. Barry gives me a little bit of time to process, and I push myself to talk even when I don’t want to.

 

How did you connect with your spouse when you were raising your children?

 

This is the area that’s been the very hardest in our marriage. We were each parented very differently, so we’ve experienced the most conflict here. I have some regrets in this area, because even though we were raising boys, I insisted on my own way too much.

 

They needed their dad to be able to model true manhood for them more without my interference. We talked through a lot of disagreement, though, and I’m tremendously proud of our two young men. They came through our messy parenting amazingly well!

 

What do you see young wives struggling with today? What do you wish they knew?

 

I’m going to say something really hard here based on some of the young women I’ve seen my young men date. Please keep an open heart and know that I want the best for all the women reading this! I’m shocked at how entitled young women are in the generations following me. One day my oldest called me to talk to me about a relationship he was in. My sensitive, giving son (honestly, girls, you would love him!) said, “Mom, I can never do enough to please her.” He was heartbroken, and needless to say the relationship didn’t last. I’ve come to call it the “Disney Princess Syndrome”. I know it makes me a fuddy-duddy, but I see prom-posals and over-the- top lavish weddings as symptoms. You are valuable, and you do deserve to be loved and respected. But our husbands deserve the same. Let’s make it our goal to out-serve each other in our marriages instead of demanding, demanding, demanding.

 

If you were to look back at yourself on your wedding day, what do you wish you would’ve known?

 

I wish I had understood how much Barry is for me so that I wouldn’t have thought for so long that I needed to protect myself. Finding our way and becoming a truly united team has led to the happiest and most fulfilling season of our marriage we’ve known.

 

Oh! And empty nest rocks! Nurture your marriage when those sweet children are in the house so that you can be like newly-weds again when they leave.

 

How did Amy’s story resonate with you? We’d love to hear!

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Amy Carroll is a speaker and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She’s the author of Breaking Up with Perfect as well as the director and coach of Next Step Speaker Services. As a woman who loves a great story and a challenging idea, co-hosting the Grit ‘n’ Grace podcast has become one of her favorite things.

Amy and her husband live in lovely Holly Springs, NC. You can find her on any given day texting her two sons at college, typing at her computer, or trying to figure out one more alternative to cooking dinner. Share life with Amy at www.amycarroll.org and find out more about her speaker coaching services at Next Step Speaker Services!

You can listen to Amy and Cheri here at Grit ‘n’ Grace!

You can also find Amy’s book Breaking Up With Perfect, here: http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Breaking-Up-with-Perfect/Amy-Carroll/9781501102950

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