MORE Communication is NOT the Answer!: 6 Tips for a Better Relationship

Kiss lipsOften, when couples come to me, I ask, “What is the obstacle in your marriage?” The husband often says, “I can never seem to make her happy. She just wants to fight and argue.” The wife often says, “He just won’t talk with me and do chores around the house. We don’t communicate.”

The good news is that this is a very “fixable” opportunity for growth for this marriage. The bad news is that I have seen marriages become stale roommate relationships or even end up in divorce over such “fixable” matters.

The couple describes how they try to talk things out, but they just fight all the time…with the husband eventually shutting down and the wife getting more critical. They are often surprised when I ask them, “What would happen if you stopped communicating so much?” (I then hear a deafening silence over the phone.) My next question is, “How could you both enhance the quality of minimal verbal communication?” Discussion regarding what quality communication could look like in their marriage becomes the topic for the next few sessions.

Focus on the QUALITY of how you both communicate verbally/non-verbally vs. how much.

Tips for improving the quality of your communication, and ultimately, the quality of your relationship include:

1. Appreciate male and female differences in communication styles. Asking a man to sit and talk about his feelings is like asking him to poke his eyeballs out! And, women need consistent reassurance that they are loved no matter what. When a couple understands those concepts fully, strategic communication…not necessarily MORE communication can occur.

2. Change your focus. Instead of looking at how your partner is contributing to the problem, focus on how YOU are contributing to the problem and the intentions of your partner’s behavior.

3. Appreciate MORE. Focus on 75% of what comes out of your mouth be words of appreciation, acknowledgement of what your partner has done right, or words of encouragement regarding your partner’s strengths. Also, your partner may have a “nugget of truth” in their perspective of the situation. YOU may not be really “hearing” your partner as well as you could.

3. Avoid relationship poison. Criticism, defensiveness, shutting down, or snarly sarcasm/name calling verbally or non-verbally is like poison to any relationship. Keeping such behaviors to a minimum while working through a challenge

4. Think “same team”…..that you both have each other’s best interest at heart. When relationships hit rough waters, partners often begin taking their partner’s behaviors personally. Realize your partner behaves in certain ways for lots of reasons. Then you will stop over-reacting and making the problem worse. Ask the question, “How can WE make this situation better?”

5. Change your habits. SHOW how much you want this relationship to be a happy one by YOUR actions and habits. When couples begin to understand that the majority of communication is in the habits and actions CHOSEN to give the relationship, more progress toward a better relationship is made.

6. Let go of control. Sometimes one or both partners think communicating “their way” is the best or only way to solve the problem. Often, with the help of a relationship coach or someone more objective, other options can be considered.

So….MORE communication or even BETTER VERBAL communication is not always the answer. What YOU THINK and DO DIFFERENTLY vs. what you say can have the greatest impact on relationship outcomes!

(Other actions are necessary if you are married to a chronic cheater, a person addicted to alcohol/drugs or gambling, or a person who is physically abusive.)

Much joy and peace,


How to Hit Your RESET Button

reset button

Life gets crazy. Sometimes the weeks feel so out of my control that I find myself just wanting to climb into bed and pull the covers over my head. Having goals, to do lists, kids, and bill paying are enough, but when I add my own “stinking thinking” into the mix, I concoct one heck of a scenario for myself! Words like SHOULD, ALWAYS/NEVER, BUT, THEY DO IT BETTER, NOT ENOUGH flood my head like a river after a rainstorm.

So, now when red flags occur, I reach for that big, red shiny button that says RESET!

 I go into the nurturing space of my home, alone.

 I start small….with just me. I choose to do something sensory-driven to re-center from the battle wounds I have inflicted on myself. I paint, putter, read, walk, chop vegetables, drink coffee on the patio as a fire in the chimnea blazes, repot a plant, nap, wash the kitchen floor by hand, drink lots of lemon water, clean a toilet, juice some carrots, journal…but most of all, breathe.

 Then, I find myself calming down and letting go of the world around me. Time becomes more like “flow.” The raging currents of the river in my head slows to a trickling stream. I am able to think…to discern and reconsider decisions I have made during the prior weeks:

  • Obligations that need a NO.
  • Time commitments rescheduled to align with my greatest values of spiritual connection/family/passion-driven work.
  • Refueling self-care routines that have been neglected (like the beautiful blouse that needs ironing, vegetables to wash and chop for delicious salads, fingernails screaming for lotion and an emery board, the purse that now looks like part file cabinet/trash can/ kid tote).

 Once my brain becomes like a trickling brook, something magical happens. I get inspired!

  • I create something that, in the past, has perplexed me.
  • I complete a writing deadline with ease.
  • I decide to connect with someone that proves to be mutually nourishing, and often propels me to participate in an opportunity I didn’t know even existed.
  • I find that “solution” that has eluded me.

Working with the energy that comes from inspiration vs. the negative energy of obligation then becomes more and more a part of my life.

 I am “KIM” again! 🙂

 Tips for hitting YOUR reset button:

1. Avoid COMPARISON with others about how you need to devise your time in order to get “centered.” Comparison is like poison to your self-esteem and soul. 

2. Say NO if you are NOT ABSOLUTELY WANTING to do something. Time is a resource that, if misused, you can only blame yourself. (And, blame is not a good place to go with yourself!) 

3. Create a list of ways you really enjoy refueling. We often forget that true self care is not about indulgence, but fueling our tanks in order to be the person we want to be in this world.

4. Carve out a HUGE chunk of time to RESET. Be daring. Take a day, weekend or an entire WEEK off from work. The crazier you feel your life is, the more time you need. Make it significant and make it count!

5. Write an “I AM” statement.  Click here for instructions. When you are NOT being the person you want to be, your “I AM” statement is a compass….. and helps you see RED FLAGS of when you are getting off track, before life really gets out of hand.

6. Complete the following statement: “When my life is ideal, I AM…..” Describe what you would be doing (not what others would be doing). List at least 10 descriptors. Then highlight your top 5. How is your life currently aligned with those actions? What could you do to further align to those actions?

7. Etch out an ABSOLUTE YES LIST. From your top 5 highlighted statements, create what you most value. Begin to separate from activities, obligations, commitments that do not align with your Absolute YES list.

8. Choose COURAGE when making decisions about how you want to align and “show up” in this life each day. “Stinking Thinking” and limiting beliefs as described here, can trick us into not having the courage to live the amazing life we were DIVINELY given.

9. Practice GRACE with yourself and others. No one is perfect, nor should they be. See the GIFT despite your imperfections. See the GIFT within your imperfections.

10. Reach out and get perspective from someone who has your best interest at heart. This is not always family or the closest people to you…not because they don’t love and care for you, but because your changes could directly impact their lives. Choose someone who really SEES your true essence, but is somewhat detached from your choices for your life, such as a mentor, coach, trusted spiritual advisor, or someone you deeply admire.

As you commit to a life driven by your ABSOLUTE YES LIST, you will let go of the negative energy of obligation and work from a powerful energy source of inspiration, passion and purpose.

“Creating a meaningful life is boldly taking a stand against evil.

 –Kim Kompel

Much joy and peace,



What is Your Problem?

Getting honest quote-3

When a client comes to me, we often begin the conversation with what they think is their problem, only to find the undercurrent of her challenge stems from a different area of her life. For example, feelings of frustration with hubby can often flow from resentment about her workaholism and perfectionism due to the need for approval. Once the true problem has been identified, action steps can be more easily taken to create a better relationship with herself AND her hubby!

Today’s Action Step:

What is your problem? Write it down then ask yourself, “If ___ happens, what do you fear will happen next?” Keep asking that question after each answer until you begin to see how it may reflect back to you and a problem you have within your power to change.

If you have any questions about this exercise, feel free to contact me at

Much joy and peace,


How to Transform Your “Vicious Cycle” into RESULTS!

Behavior cycleWhen you feel “stuck,” does it feel like you are spinning your wheels?

We create a “vicious cycle” of repeated behavior we DO NOT want. However, WE CAN CHANGE OUR BEHAVIOR by changing one part of the cycle.

Which part of the cycle do we need to strategically change?

Our THOUGHTS that we choose!

The cycle begins with an EVENT (someone cuts you off on the highway).

The THOUGHTS you can choose from could include (“There goes a real jerk.”) OR (“Wow, they are needing to get somewhere fast.”) Our brains can find evidence to support the bits of truth for all of our thoughts, so why not choose the one that could produce a more empowering cycle?

Each thought produces a FEELING. Which thought could produce a less intensely negative feeling? (The second one)

Then the feeling you have produces ENERGY. Is this energy related to feelings of anger and frustration or calm and focus? (The second thought is more likely to produce the calm and focus.)

And, then, that energy will determine your BEHAVIOR (Anger could create a road rage situation and result in an accident or speeding ticket or added stress to your day.) OR (Peace and calm could help create less stressed behaviors and your ability to focus on more fun or productive activities.)

Finally, the behavior you indulge will most likely influence further EVENTS in your life.

When we choose the more empowering thought, then we are able to transform the “vicious” cycle into an “empowering” cycle that results in the outcomes we want.

What lies or partial truths have you been buying into?

          How could you apply this cycle concept
to your life?

How to Make Better Choices


When life’s circumstances have you feeling frustrated, worried, defeated, ashamed, and doubtful, you are out of integrity, or alignment, with who you really are. When out of that alignment, you will begin to make decisions and choices that are less likely to get you the outcomes you want in life.


SO… make better choices, shift into a greater sense of integrity, and create alignment with your truest self (which impacts the world around you), do the following exercise and practice it over the next week to see how it changes those negative moments.


Think about who you are at your core level….your strengths, values, and how you WANT to “show up” in your world. Then complete the following statement:

     “I am _______________________.”

Make sure you choose words and metaphors that are empowering and positive.

For example:

“I am a woman of courage, integrity, intelligence and resourcefulness.”

“I am a powerhouse of light, beauty and strength.”

“I am like a tree with deep roots of strength and courage and tall, outwardly reaching branches of shade, comfort and nurturing care.”

Now, begin to say that to yourself and let it resonate over the next week. Stand tall with your shoulders back and say it. Notice the shift of how you feel when you say it.

So, you don’t believe it quite yet? The cells in our bodies have an amazing memory. When you are upset, yet smile, research has discovered that the muscles going into smile formation signal your brain to go to “happy.” (All the more reason to pay attention to our body language!) The same with our words we use.

We tend to believe and live out the words we say to ourselves. Would you rather believe and live out those negative words and phrases in your thoughts or positive ones you create from your values and truest self?

Consider the next time you feel anxious or fearful or doubtful. If your “I AM” statement is “I am a woman of courage, integrity, intelligence, and resourcefulness, “ then ask yourself,

“What would a woman of courage, integrity, intelligence and resourcefulness do in this situation?

When you ask yourself better questions related to your “I AM” statement, you are making choices and decisions from a more empowered place of integrity and aligning with your truest self.

The smallest actions we take on a consistent daily basis can completely change the trajectory of our lives.

Much joy and peace,






What is REALLY Keeping You Stuck?

woman thinking by waterYour THOUGHTS! What keeps you stuck in any area of your life is what you think about yourself, money, relationships, kids, spouse, work, time, family, your world. We call these thoughts limiting mindsets or beliefs. Sometimes we don’t even know that we are functioning from such a negative place until we begin to pay attention.

The good news is that those thoughts CAN BE CHANGED in order to move forward! For example, believing that “all men are pigs” quite possibly will keep you from enjoying a wonderful relationship with a loving, caring man.

You say you have evidence that your thought is the TRUTH? Our brains will help us find evidence that ANY thought has some truth that speaks from our past experience……but it does not have to be the truth for our lives going forward. We have a choice.

 According to Glenn R. Schiraldi in The Self Esteem Workbook, he suggests there are several types of limiting thoughts and beliefs (that some people call “gremlin” thoughts): Which do YOU make a habit of using the most?

1. Assuming – We assume the worst without testing the evidence. Ex. Assuming someone is criticizing you vs. asking them to clarify. OR “I know I am going to screw this up.” vs. “I may or may not do a good job but I am willing to experiment.”

2. Shoulds (Musts/Oughts) – Shoulds are demands we make of ourselves or others. “I should be skinnier.”  “I should not make mistakes.” “I should be happy and never anxious or tired.” These types of statements usually just make us feel worse. Replace “shoulds” with “would” or “could” or “want to’s.” Ex. ”I would like to do that.” Or “How could I do that more/less?”

3. The Fairy-Tale Fantasy – The fairy tale fantasy means demanding the ideal from life. This is a special type of “should.” “That’s not fair.” or “Why did that have to happen?” often is a person’s way of saying that is not how life should go. REALLY? In reality, bad and unfair things happen to good people….sometimes randomly, sometimes because of the unreasonableness of others, and sometimes because of our own imperfections. This particular type of “should” only invites disappointment. Again, using “would” or “could” vs. “should” can be more effective to finding real solutions.  “It would be nice for this to happen.” or “How could I improve this situation.”

4. All or Nothing Thinking – This type of thinking holds a person to the impossible standard of perfectionism which invites feelings of low self-worth when perfection is not met. “If I do not perform the best, I am a loser.” However, performing at 80% or 57% is NOT 0 percent.  Poor performance never makes a person worthless, just fallible. Ask yourself, “Why must I score 100%?” You may then hear replies of low self-worth in your mind.

5. Overgeneralizing – Overgeneralizing is deciding that negative experiences describe your life completely. For example, “I always ruin everything.” or “They never do this.” Such global statements are unkind, depressing, and usually inaccurate to some degree. Use more precise language like “Some of my skills are not yet developed.” or “Sometimes they don’t do this.” You can then find small ways to improve the situation and simultaneously notice what IS going well. 

6. Labeling – Using a term as though it describes a person completely such as, “I’m such a loser.” Humans are more complex than one simple term can describe. Instead, confine labels to behaviors. “That was a silly thing to do.”

7. Dwelling in the negative – When a negative situation occurs within the context of something pleasant or okay, however, we focus on the one negative aspect. For example, one pleasant evening, your spouse does something annoying, and you focus on that particular behavior, and allow it to ruin the entire evening and possibly negatively impact your marriage. Or, your teenager comes home with good grades except for one F. Focusing on the F vs. seeing the hard work they have done can leave them with feelings of low self-esteem and a more challenging parent-child relationship. A solution to this habit includes re-examining your options. “What pleasing things can I still find to enjoy?” “What went right?” “How would someone with sound self-esteem view this situation?”

8. Rejecting the positive – Dwelling on the negative overlooks the positive aspects and keeps our self-esteem low. For example, someone compliments you on a job well done and you reply, “That was really nothing. Anyone could do that.” If you can give someone else the credit for doing well, why not do the same for yourself?

9. Unfavorable comparisons – This is poison to your self-worth! When comparing yourself to others, you minimize your strengths and maximize others’ strengths, focusing on being inadequate or inferior to others. For example, “I am just a mom. She is the owner of a successful company.” Challenge this distortion by asking yourself, “Why must I compare?” “What keeps me from appreciating each person’s strengths and weaknesses?” Another’s contributions are not necessarily better, just different.”

10. Catastrophizing – When you believe that something is a catastrophe, you magnify how horrible the situation is and convince ourselves that we are not capable of coping with it. The reality is that we CAN handle most situations even though they are unpleasant, inconvenient or challenging. To challenge this belief, we can ask ourselves, “What are the odds of this happening?” or “What is the worst thing that can happen?”

11. Personalizing – Seeing yourself more a part of a situation than you really are. For example, when a child misbehaves and the mom thinks she is a bad mom because he misbehaved. To combat this distortion, distinguish between what influences another situation vs. causes the situation. Also, instead of thinking, “What is wrong with me?” one might say “This is a difficult task.”

12. Blaming – (This is a nasty relationship habit!!!) This is the opposite of personalizing…not taking any responsibility for what happens to you. Placing all the blame on someone or something outside of yourself. This is putting you in victim mode, too powerless to cope. A more empowered way to deal with a situation is to recognize the influences of the situation but also see what part you have control over. “Yes, she reacted very unfairly, but I choose not to be bitter and cynical.” Or “I did not complete the project in a timely manner. I will plan better next time.” The focus is not on judgment of the core self, but behaviors.

13. Making Feelings Fact – Making feelings facts is taking one’s feelings as proof of the way things really are. “I feel inadequate, so I must be inadequate.”

What is a thought you COULD have about your life that could take you from the outcomes you have been getting in “stuck” mode to the outcome you want?

Good behavior habits begin with good thought habits!




How to Create a Beautiful Life

550184_60269311My heart aches for a client. She has had unspeakable things done to her as a child. However, despite that, she has made a successful life for herself…but at this particular crossroad, her confidence feels shattered. Also, her husband’s heart feels a million miles away from her even though they are still married and have great kids. Then, to top things off, she grapples with having the energy levels for her high energy job, much less having the energy it will seemingly take to make positive changes in her life. So, the tears flow.

This client is not the first client to come into coaching with such a heavy heart. Usually, a first question they ask is, “Where do I begin? I feel so overwhelmed.” So….we grab our shovels and begin to dig around. The following is an overview of some “first steps” toward lasting change.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: In coaching, this “digging around” is about finding the nuggets of not only what really hurts but what is in her that she can further develop as tools (her strengths). Also, we really assess her truest values (and this is not always what people think). We, then, look at her deepest fears, core beliefs, and the top two needs that are driving her. Then, our work also sheds light on habits that are keeping her stuck. Sometimes this can be quite the surprising step.

DECIDE WHERE TO GO: The most complex question I have found in coaching is asking the client, “What do you truly want from this opportunity?” After we laugh about wanting a magic wand to change her husband or co-worker or pocketbook, we get to the heart of what she wants from what she is saying she wants. Sometimes, however, due to so much unbelief that anything could ever change, clients have lots of difficulty giving themselves permission to look deeply into their heart to discover what their deepest, truest desires include…..a vision for their future life.

BE THE CHANGE: As we come to a clearer vision, before we can go any further, as Gandhi has said, “We must [first] be the change we want to see in the world.” Although this can be quite the challenging step, once a person “gets it,” they begin to see ripple effects in other people, circumstances, and opportunities in their lives they never thought possible. Sadly, this is also where some people choose to stop working if they do not have strategic support. They do not feel comfortable enough with the uncertainty that a next stepping stone will exist. So, I hold her hand, provide the structure for change and help clear the path with specific strategies.

After all the digging around, unearthing stepping stones and planting seeds of strategy, the most amazing event occurs. A most beautiful life is revealed in ways that can only come from the Divine.

I love my job!


How to Deal with “WINTER” in Your Relationship

couple walking in snowI have to be honest……winter is truly NOT my favorite season! However, having moved across the country a few years ago to an area that has a pretty harsh winter for approximately 7 months out of the year, I had to rethink this whole winter thing! (It doesn’t help that my husband loves winter and gets excited when it is 44 degrees BELOW zero!) No longer could I make excuses about not doing something because it was cold and snowy. Otherwise, I would rarely do anything! Ha!

So, I now make sure that I have LOTS of brightly-colored cold weather gear, pursue activities that involve snow – such as snowshoeing, walking my dogs in snow, and ice fishing (well, socializing while others actually ice fish!!!). I cannot say, that during a blizzard, I haven’t chosen a pajama day here or there, however, I have had to be more conscientious of my attitude and choices I make in order to keep my internal weather sunny and warm!

Our relationships are much the same way. As a marriage coach, I work with couples who feel they are truly in the “winter” of their relationship and see no sunny, spring days ahead. They can only see their partner’s hurtful behaviors, lack of ability to communicate, or lack of attention. Often, both partners feel they no longer really matter to the other partner, despite love that may still be present. And passion???? Well, what is that?

As I have stated in previous posts, amazing relationships are more about the habits that are created than love. Love is usually not the issue. The patterns of behavior, or habits couples choose, allow the marriage to thrive or hurt the marriage.

Couples, who are smart and successful in other areas of their lives,  sometimes unknowingly choose to neglect or poison their most intimate relationships with nasty relationship habits. According to John Gottman, a well-known researcher regarding marriage, he has found four key behaviors that are detrimental to relationships. These behaviors are SO detrimental to relationships that Gottman has been able to predict marriages that thrive vs. fail over time.

These 4 behaviors that truly promote “winter” in relationships, if not the death of the relationship, include:

  1. Criticism – Focusing on one person being right and the other person as wrong or using phrases such as “you should,” “you never,” you always.
  2. Contemptuous behavior – rolling eyes, name-calling, cursing, insults, sarcasm, hostile humor, curling upper lip.
  3. Defensiveness – Viewing self as the victim and partner as the attacker, making excuses for your behavior, cross-complaining and ignoring what your partner has said, or “yes, butting.”
  4. Stonewalling -Changing the subject, walking away to avoid conflict, silent treatment. Partner perceives it as disconnection, disapproval, and that their thoughts and feelings do not matter.

The good news is that when both partners begin to:

1. Avoid harmful communication habits when expressing wants
and needs.

2. Focus primarily on meeting their partner’s emotional needs (as
explained in a future post!)…..cherishing their partner,

the marriage begins to shift in lasting ways.

Then the winter weather is lifted…and, as they begin to see light on the horizon, even more momentum with other concepts and skills can take them out of winter….into Spring!



Should You Stay or Go?

3 giftsHere it is….the holiday season. For some people, cheer is nowhere to be found. The thought of giving gifts and celebrating with family and friends only seems to accentuate loneliness, anger, and hurt. Life feels too complicated to even consider feeling merry about anything.

All you know is that you are ready to leave your marriage. You feel pain at the thought of such a loss, but the pain you have endured for so long has to stop. You have lost your identity. You don’t feel you matter nor do you like the person you have become. You think you have tried everything to make life better between you and your partner.

What if there was still one more “try” that could save you from:

The expenses of a divorce.
Heartache from making the same mistakes again.
Going against your core values of love, family and commitment.
Bitterness and anger that doesn’t leave when your partner does.
The very negative impact on your kids and family.

In working with couples on the brink of divorce, the issues are rarely about how much love is present, but about good people choosing relationship habits that can destroy the relationship. You can leave a marriage, but you do not leave your habits behind. Instead, you take those habits into the next relationship or decide to give up on believing that a strong, loving marriage is even possible.

Common responses for couples who are stuck in a vicious cycle include:

“He won’t change.”
“She is such a nag.”
“My partner won’t participate.”
“I cannot trust my partner anymore.”
“My partner is so selfish.”
“I am not sure I WANT to be with my partner anymore.”

Sound familiar?
So, consider hiring a relationship coach who can help you take action and bring the essence of your relationship to the surface in order for you to live in such a way that you positively impact yourself, your marriage, your family as well as other areas of your life. The ripple effects from such a GIFT could go past your lifetime!



How to Create a Vision for Your Relationship

scary kimOkay…..your eyes are not playing tricks on you….this picture is not only a “not-so-great” version of me, but it is truly out of focus. My youngest son had to endure hanging out at the hair salon one day, and boredom got the best of him. He found the camera in my purse and became totally focused on taking pictures of anything and everything!
This picture has become a funny reminder to me that our vision for our life can be much the same way. Sometimes we have “fuzzy focus.” We aren’t really sure about what we truly want. We make choices, do what we feel we “should” do, and then wake up one day, wondering why we are so unfulfilled. We often know what we DON’T want, not what we DO want. However, when we gain more clarity of our life’s vision, we begin to make intentional choices that ultimately create more fulfillment and meaning in our lives.
Also,  in the midst of doing what it takes to create that life we envision, our “TO DO” list becomes difficult or scary (much like my picture…beauty has its “down” moments!). We want to give up before we even get started. Showing up in a way that we want to be and following through ALL THE WAY TO THE FINISH is not always easy, but do not be discouraged! Sometimes, we have to go through uncertainty before we can get to the outcome we want! (Just imagine if I had become discouraged about my new hairdo before my stylist had completely finished. Now, THAT is a scary thought!!!!)
The same holds true for the vision you and your partner create together….what you want your relationship to be like in this world. Sometimes difficult conversations are necessary and new skills are needed, because the old habits no longer work for the relationship.
To take the first steps toward a vision for your relationship, ask yourself and your mate the following questions:

1. What is already working in the relationship?

2. What do each of you want for this marriage?

3. What will that give your relationship?

4. How do YOU want to show up in this relationship?

5. What would support this identity for you?

6. What would you like to start happening and stop happening in your relationship right now?

7. What talents, strengths, and gifts does your spouse contribute to the relationship?

8. What strengths and values do YOU have that could contribute MORE to the relationship?

9. What resources and alternatives could help empower this vision you both have?

10. What would these changes mean for you, your spouse, and others in your life? 

So, don’t let your relationship continue to look like my “bad hair-do” photo. Take some time to reflect on these questions with the one you love!

“A vision we give to [ourselves] of who and what [we] could become has power when it echoes what the spirit has already spoken into [our] souls.” ~Larry Crabb