Commitment: What motivated you to write this book?
Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile: After we published our first book, "I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had KIds," the chapter on husbands really resonated. We heard from more than one mom that they'd trade their husbands for a housekeeper...and we knew that we had the idea for another book!
Commitment: How does having children change and impact many marriage? (or as you write, "Kids, god bless 'em, are a marriage bomb") Are couples still having sex--or is everybody too tired and exhausted at the end of the day?
Trisha and Amy: Pretty much everyone we talked to moaned and groaned about their sex lives. No one seems satisfied or even on the same page about it with their partner.
But what we do know, is that it is important to make sex a true investment in our marriages. Having children affects not only our sex lives but how we prioritize each other, how we communicate, and how we look at what the definition of 'happy' is.
Commitment: Are more women unhappy and dissatisfied in their marriages than they will admit? What did you discover about the state of couples with children through your interviews with hundreds of women?
Trisha and Amy: When we asked women to rate their happiness on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the happiest) we got mostly 5's and 6's. Of 300 women, 240 said they could be happier, but had no real idea of how to get there.
Many women told us they just assumed happiness would happen once the kids got older, got more independent, or were out of the house!
Commitment: How does the drive to be "the perfect mother" affect marriages? How have things changed for women so that we now have nothing leftover for our husbands?
Trisha and Amy: The pressures of being modern mothers -- and the drive to 'do it all' and 'do it all perfectly definitely affects our marriages. Nurturing and prioritizing our marriages unfortunately isn't in the 'good mom' handbook. To be a good mom, we feel we need to put our children first
almost all of the time, and with all of the insane expectations we have, there is little time left for our husbands.
Commitment: What advice do you have for women who want to give their children their best, but still want their marriage to thrive in the process? Is this possible when there is only so much time and energy in a day?
Trisha and Amy: We need to take a step back and realize that a good marriage is the foundation for a good family. We have got to start prioritizing our marriages if we want them to thrive, and - surprise! - SHOW our children that we're doing this. Not only is it 'ok' to take a night out for a date with our husbands, it's imperative, and we should tell the children
why we're doing it. It's true that we are all so busy and there's
barely time in a day to take care of ourselves let alone our spouses --but if we don't shift our mindsets and make some time for each other, we'll regret it in later years.
Commitment: If a woman feels her marriage is becoming more like two roommates, how can she begin to get her marriage back on track? What attitudes and expectations need to change?
Trisha and Amy: We heard that a lot -- "I feel like we're just rooomies' or that the marriage feels transactional -- like a business. We call this the 'business of marriage' - it's a phenomenon that is happening to many couples in this generation.
We get into routines that are very robotic and that can whittle away at the preciousness of the relationship over
time. What we really need to start doing is first, sitting down with each other and talking about the relationship, and sharing what expectations we each have in the marriage.
This can be a real eye-opener, since we tend to assume we know what the other person wants or expects. Two, we need to stop expecting that the other person will make us happy - or that the marriage and family will make us happy.
Happiness is something that we choose, every single day. Making the choice to be happy is one of the biggest steps we can take to learning to love your marriage as much as you love your husband.
Commitment: What are the four ingredients to a happy married life?
Trisha and Amy: First, we need to embrace the concept that noone else can make us happy; it's something we make for ourselves.
Second, know that it's ok if our spouses have different priorities than us - we are built differently. When men and women list their needs, often they are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Knowing this and tuning in to our spouses needs is important.
Third, we need to create a shared vision for our marriages that set us up for success. We each go into marriage with a load of expectations that our spouse may or may not share.
Pulling those expectations apart and redefining them together can create a great foundation.
Fourth, forgiveness is something that, if practices regularly for things big and small, can pave the way for success.
Commitment: What are eight steps to a woman feeling more happy in her marriage?
Trisha and Amy: See page 84-85)
Commitment: What advice do you have for a woman who says, "My husband wants sex all the time, but since I had kids, I just don't have the interest. I'm too tired!"
Trisha and Amy: Well, the first thing we'd say is 'sister, you are not alone!' We heard this over and over - why does my husband still paw at me and doesn't understand how tired I am? The bottom line is that men and women are just built differently. To communicate, our husbands need sex, and to have sex, we need communication. Again, sitting down and chatting about expectations around sex can be helpful - you may think he HAS to have it every night and he may be satisfied -- for now -- with once a week.
It's really important to look at sex as not a nuisance but a true
investment in the marriage. We each need to make certain compromises for each other for it to work.
Commitment: Chapter 4 is titled, "Sister, he ain't your Girlfriend." Do you think many women secretly want their husband to provide them with the
communication and bonding that a close girlfriend provides? If so, is there a lack of female support systems in our time that is at the root of this longing? How do we stop needing him to be like a girlfriend?
Trisha and Amy: It's true that many times we expect our spouses to be more like girlfriends, wanting to chat about every issue and listen to our every thought. In reality, men aren't wired that way!
We do put unrealistic expectations on them sometimes, and feel disappointed when they don't want to rehash the mommy politics we encountered this morning. It's important to realize how men and women communicate differently and not take it personally. However, there are things we can do to improve our communication.
First, tell each other what your specific needs are, whether it's better listening at the end of the day, a date night or help around the house.
Second, practicing appreciation is really important - even a quick 'thanks for emptying the dishwasher' can go a long way. Third, set up regular 'check in' times to chat even for a few minutes about your day. This will help you feel more tuned in to each other.
Commitment: How can wives be more proactive about the moods that permeate our homes? Is it really possible to create our own happiness in a marriage?
Trisha and Amy: We feel really strongly that we have the power to shift the energy and mood in our homes. So often, if we take a step back, we see that we're following a mood instead of creating one. Again, it goes back to expectations -- if we expect that other people will make us happy, we're going to feel disappointed. We can make the choice to be happy in small ways every single day - and that can end up shifting the entire
direction of the relationship.
About The Authors: Trisha Ashworth has produced advertising for American Express, PepsiCo, and Levi Strauss & Co. She lives in Northern California with her husband and three children.
Amy Nobile has led public relations programs for Visa, Frito-Lay, and Mattel. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children.
To purchase, I'd Trade My Husband for A Housekeeper click here.