Keys To Communication Ft. FELICE MATHIEU

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Show Notes

Note: This is a transcript of our conversation together.

Felice:
I remember even being 12 years old and my mother would go in and out of the hospital and I would be like, “Oh, please Lord, if you don’t make my mother die, I promise I won’t touch girl’s butts anymore.” Little simple things to make it true right … [crosstalk 00:00:14]-

LaShaude:
Yeah, trying to make, yeah, trying to make promises and yeah.

Felice:
Right, right, so by the grace of God, my biography has led to my speaking ministry now and I get to help solve many very difficult problems in relationships.

LaShaude:
Welcome back to Young Black Married Christian Podcast.

Dorianna:
Now, we know you fall into one of those categories. You may fall into some of those categories, but even if you fall into none of those categories, we promise you that over the next few minutes, we’ll give you four to five tips to fortify the future of your marriage.

LaShaude:
Now listen, we know you’re short on time, we know you’re short on data, but do us a favor, if you can’t make it all the way through the podcast, click the download button that’s attached to the podcast and take us with you throughout your day.

Dorianna:
There’s a lot to get into, but we’re going to do it for you.

LaShaude:
We are your hosts, LaShaude and Dorianna James, from all the way down here in San Antonio, Texas, working hard to make sure your spouse doesn’t become one of your exes. Dorianna, we are making podcast history. We did our very first online interview, it was a remote interview where the person that we were interviewing was not physically with us, but they were still able to drop some value bombs on us and we were able to capture it and edit it. This is the very first recorded episode, and so I’m very proud, Dorianna, we’re making …

Dorianna:
I’m proud of you, too, baby.

LaShaude:
Awe, I’m proud of us. You look good, baby.

Dorianna:
No, you look good, baby.

LaShaude:
No, we look good.

Dorianna:
We look good. Oh, my goodness.

LaShaude:
The special guest that we have with us is Felice Mathieu, he’s a Christian speaker and he blends together spoken-word poetry with God’s word to help couples effectively communicate quickly and avoid misunderstandings or disrespect. He’s here today to teach us some of the tips, not all of them, but some of the tips on how we can accomplish that. Before we get into the interview, baby, how important is it to communicate without misunderstandings?

Dorianna:
Well, in a marriage it’s … Communication is very, very important.

LaShaude:
Major key.

Dorianna:
Major key. Any time you’re on a team, communication is important. Even in the Bible, you see the Tower of Babel, God understood that if they were able to communicate with each other, speaking the same language and being in agreement, they would have been able to accomplish what they had set out to do. That’s why he had confused their language, because it says in the scripture that they will be able to do anything, so confusing their language would definitely keep them from …

LaShaude:
Completing their path.

Dorianna:
Completing, yeah.

LaShaude:
Yeah, this task that was impossible, so they said they were going to build a tower all the way up to heaven.

Dorianna:
Yeah.

LaShaude:
The scripture says that they would have completed, they would have accomplished whatever task that they were trying to accomplish.

Dorianna:
If they were all speaking the same language.

LaShaude:
If they were all speaking the same language, which is why it’s important to have a common language. Because if you do have a common language in your organization or your business or your marriage, you can accomplish great things. Which is a shameless plug for the very last episode that we produced, enabling you to create a family mission and core values, and these core values are going to help you create a shared language. With that shared language you can go do great things, so what you need to do is after you listen to this episode …

Dorianna:
Click on over to that one.

LaShaude:
Click on over to that episode and grab that content. We’ve also put together our very first PDF, so you guys can actually download and print off our James Family Core Values, we’re giving them to you, a short list of them. That can help fuel the conversation for you. Today, we have a wonderful guest with us and I am very, very, very proud to introduce everyone to Felice and we will see you on the other side of this interview. Stay tuned until the very end. They do not want to leave, Dorianna.

Dorianna:
Don’t go.

LaShaude:
Don’t go.

Dorianna:
Don’t go.

LaShaude:
They do not want to leave because at the very end of this episode …

Dorianna:
Don’t go.

LaShaude:
You better sing to them. At the very end of this episode, we are going to share with you one tip that’s going to increase your communication, it is going to send your communication through the roof. It’s going to help you avoid a lot of arguments, and so please stay tuned until the very end and me and my wife will share with you one tip that we have used to help improve our communication.

LaShaude:
What’s up podcast family? I am really, really excited about this next guest who I think I can say is a friend now.

Felice:
Absolutely.

LaShaude:
I talked to him on the phone to just check him out and see how he was. Honestly, I was checking for that doctrine, to see if his doctrine was safe to put before you. I mean, very quickly, what I thought would be a 10-20 minute conversation turned out to be about what, and hour 20?

Felice:
Right.

LaShaude:
Yes, and so I would love to give him an introduction, but I believe he has a way to introducing himself that would serve so much more justice, and so Felice, I’m just going to turn it over to you and let you do what you do best.

Felice:
I appreciate that, I appreciate that LaShaude. Thanks for having me. Today, what I didn’t tell you earlier on the phone was today was a very, very challenging day for me. Now my spirits were down and it seems like God did not want me to end this day with low spirits. It continued to get better and this is definitely a great way to end this evening for me, so thanks for having me on the air and thanks for the hour long conversation. It really rejuvenated me, I’m telling you, you have no idea.

LaShaude:
My pleasure.

Felice:
Just to quickly introduce myself to your audience and I’d like to start off with a poem, which leads into my bio. The poem is a poem that I dedicate to my mother.

Felice:
I never loved another like I love my mother. Nor sisters or brothers, other than the brothers I’ve been blessed with by other mothers and I love my brothers and many others, but all them put together is but a feather compared to the love I have for my mother, forever.

Felice:
On November 28th, 1996, my mother died of HIV. I remember walking into the hospital room with my stepfather and she didn’t see us yet, but I seen her laying down, watching TV, tubes hooked up to her arm and from her mouth and nose to a machine. Then, she turns and … What’s interesting about this story is my mother has been deceased now for over 23 years and it wasn’t until recently that, when I was giving a workshop, that I realized it was as if she was waiting to see us one more time, and I just realized that because as soon as she seen us, she started immediately gasping for air, the machines were beeping loudly, her eyes were bulging and the nurses and doctors immediately rushed in and they suddenly rushed us out.

Felice:
I didn’t know it at the time, because I was only 12 years old, that that would be the last time I’d see my mother alive. Now, a few months after that, my stepfather, he goes to Haiti and he leaves me in the care of some friends that my mother knew, and he was murdered in Haiti. I remember my grandma sitting me down in the living room and explaining to me how he was murdered and his body was dragged from a moving vehicle.

LaShaude:
Wow.

Felice:
A few months after that, mind you all this happened within a year, my granduncle, which was the last blood relative that I knew of, he died of diabetes. Within a year I became someone with no blood relatives. Right? Now, I’m sure I’m going to talk to a psychologist or someone in that field one day that’s going to give me the technical terms, but to keep it simple for everybody, from my perspective, that really, really made me care about relationships on a level, on a very, very intense level that I didn’t think many could understand.

Felice:
In fact, I think our conversation today has, you’re probably one of the few, maybe two or three people in my life, that could borderline understand the type of impact that has on someone growing up. I took my obsession over relationships from notepads that I created in school, surveys from married couples that I would interrogate, anyone who would talk to me that was in trouble, because I would ask endless questions trying to figure out what made relationships work, what kept you happy.

Felice:
Because I didn’t want to be in a relationship that you just tried to make someone happy. I wanted to be in a relationship where you kept someone happy. I think a lot of relationships fail with the first example of trying to keep someone happy. I’m still trying to figure out all these things because people try to understand where I’m coming from. I equated any relationship ending or any relationship not forming to deaths in my life. I’d rather have acquaintanceship than … I don’t know if that’s even a word, but I’d rather have an acquaintance …

LaShaude:
Yeah, acquaintances. Yeah, and friendships. Yeah. Is that like a mixture between friendships and acquaintances, acquaintanceship.

Felice:
I think I mixed that. I just created a whole word, a whole … [crosstalk 00:09:42].

LaShaude:
A whole another relationship status. Yeah, like oh, between like bey and like nobody, you’re an acquaintanceship. I mean, don’t get it twisted. You ain’t a friend yet, but you’re an acquaintanceship.

Felice:
That is awesome. I wanted any form of relationship, right. Any form was better than none to me, because of the loss that I had in my life and the lack of identity that I had in my life, so I was really obsessed with that, that realm to this day. I took that into poetry, right, and I was a poet for over 13 years. I have some videos, some older videos, some newer videos, but unfortunately about 13 years ago, that social media wasn’t exactly what it is today. I mean, we had MySpace. You hear of MySpace now?

Felice:
That wasn’t exactly a thing that was popping these days, so I don’t have as much film as I would like to, but I took those things and I took it into poetry. As of last year, I started taking it into public speaking, but more specifically into Christian relationships where I helped them effectively communicate as one without losing themselves in the process. That’s what I take into my public speaking ministry, into the most difficult thing I see in relationships, is communication.

Felice:
I take those things that God revealed to us and honed in us and worked in us, and as James perfected those things for his purpose, and I try to show people that in a very simple, biblical, practical way, and praise God man, because your trials turns into your testimony, right.

LaShaude:
Oh absolutely. I mean I’ve always been a firm believer that when God moves in one person’s life he does expect it to be told to other people, and he expects to receive proper praise and glory because of it, and so you look for example, the Israelites in the Old Testament, when God freed them from the slavery in Egypt, he expected them to tell the story year after year after year, of how faithful God was, and we call that the Passover.

LaShaude:
I mean to this day we still have rituals that we do to celebrate God’s faithfulness, whether that’s to his faithfulness to the Jews and the Israelites in Egypt, or that’s the faithfulness he expressed to us in Jesus Christ, that’s why we take communion. It’s our way of saying …

Felice:
Remembering.

LaShaude:
Remembering, yeah. I don’t want you to forget my faithfulness from one generation to the next. I think you’re doing an awesome job of capturing the faithfulness of God over your life and then translating it from one generation to the next, or at least to your neighbor, through your public-speaking ministry. Which leads me to my, I guess my next question, you have a workshop that you do, and you … I’ve been looking at some of the content that comes out of that workshop, and I’m curious to know, what are some of your most memorable, I guess ideas from that workshop, that have changed people’s lives in a positive way?

Felice:
Absolutely, and real quick I just want to praise God, because he gave me a very, very Christian-based loving example in my in-laws. My wife’s mother and father have been married for as long as I’ve been alive. I’m 34, I turn 35 this year, and they have been the only couple that I’ve seen that long, really live out what it means to run the good legs of the Christian and deal with the problems that come up in a relationship. It’s sad to me that a lot of people don’t have that example, so I thank you for saying that I’m a platform for the next generation, because I didn’t even look at it like that, and thank for bringing that awareness … [crosstalk 00:13:14]

Felice:
As far as the workshop, it has to be some recently, the message was really how our flaws are like boogers. Now I use that example purposely, because sometimes you have to say something out of the ordinary, extreme to really shock someone’s mindset. Right, so you really shift their mindset, and what I go on to say is that, you know how you have a booger, and you don’t notice the booger, it take someone else to point it out. That’s how a flaw is, right.

Felice:
We don’t see it in ourselves, it takes someone else to say, “Hey I don’t like how you talk to me,” you’ve got a booger right there. “Hey I don’t like how you yell at me,” you’ve got a booger right there. “Hey, I don’t like how you do such and such,” you’ve got a booger right there. Now the problem is, it’s not the fact that people are not aware of it per se, even though that’s a huge problem. A bigger problem is that people don’t know how to take that criticism.

Felice:
I try to show people in the workshop, if you just look at it as someone telling you you’ve got a booger right there, instead of attacking our entire being, then it will help you take criticism more, because after all nobody’s perfect. If you’re in a relationship that’s God’s way, or God’s gift to us as way of sharpening us, in the truth of the bible, of perfecting us, but if you’re not taking criticism, then you’re a fool, biblically speaking, right, because a wise man take correction, and wants correction.

LaShaude:
Absolutely.

Felice:
Not so. That took far more than I thought it would take, so that was one of the concepts I think that stuck out.

LaShaude:
That’s amazing, because a lot of times people see marriage and the don’t equate it exactly with friendship, that you and your wife should be friends, and so when you mention the scripture as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. I think a lot of times we might make that a scripture only specific to friendships or only specific to maybe a brother in Christ, but we don’t necessarily pull that scripture into a marriage and say, hey, just like one person can sharpen another, if husbands and wives submit to one another, that there’s something in that mutual submission that produces holiness and it produces sanctification, and that together you can make smarter decisions than you can apart.

Felice:
Perfectly said.

LaShaude:
I like that idea that, me and my wife, I guess extending off of the booger analogy, by saying … Before we go to church, we spent a whole lot of time getting ready and getting dressed, and sometimes we’re rushing because we’re a little bit late, and right when we get out of the car we do one thing we say, “Hey, check me out, check how I look in the sun.” Because you look different in the sun than you do in your home. In the sun you might see, oh this is see-through, or this is black and [inaudible 00:15:56] or whatever it is, and so we talk to each other and she says, “Yeah,” she’ll say, “Hey, check your hair.”

LaShaude:
Then the last thing I say is, “Check to see if I have any boogers.” I’ll tilt my nose up, and she’ll say, “No, no boogers, you’re good,” and then she’ll say, “Check me.” I’ll look, and I’m like, “No, you’re good. All right let’s go.” I guess I’m using this analogy to say, once you get to a point where you’re not afraid of someone criticizing you as a way to build you up, then you can actually ask for that and say, “Hey, where have I missed the mark in our friendship? Where have I missed the mark in our relationship? Where have I missed the mark in our marriage?”

LaShaude:
“Check, tell me if I have a booger. I’m open right now to hear from you on whether or not you feel like there’s an area that I could improve upon, because I don’t want to look bad right now in the relationship.” Again it’s not just for looks, I don’t want to be a poor husband, I don’t want to be a poor wife, so please let me know, “Do I got a booger?” Check me out, I’m not going to take offense, I’m not going to be defensive, but I’d love to hear that feedback. I think that’s a beautiful concept of seeing it as feedback, not so much as negative criticism and tearing you down, but showing you a better way forward.

Felice:
Absolutely, perfectly said. I don’t even want to add anything to it, it’s beautiful, right, I agree completely.

LaShaude:
One of your main ideas that you talk about is that you’re helping two become one without losing oneself. What does that mean exactly?

Felice:
Well, when I look at the scripture right, that’s all that it’s about in Mark 10 is one place that it’s at that, we’re no longer two, right and now one. When I look at it there’s actually three things. One, I see that well, you’re no longer two, you’re now in union with each other. That doesn’t mean that your individualities are gone, but it does mean that in this union when it comes to thoughts, feelings, your movement, your course for your life in this marriage, you two have one goal in mind for how you should move, based on how you two feel, think and desire, right, under the will of God. That’s one thing that I see.

Felice:
The second thing that I see is, shall become, meaning it’s a process just like sanctification is a process. You don’t automatically become a Christian and now you’re perfect. Yeah, we’re perfect through Christ, instantly.

LaShaude:
Yeah, a perfect position, but we’re … [crosstalk 00:18:19]

Felice:
Absolutely, absolutely, the theological terms, right, so we’re perfect in that sense, right, but it’s an ongoing process. That’s why even a [inaudible 00:18:30] the things I don’t want to do, I do. The things I want to do, I don’t do, bang. I run the good race, I fight the good fight, I beat my body into submission. That’s the goal that people don’t apply to their marriage, right, so that’s the next thing I see. The third thing I see is, two, right. Now it may sound similar to the first one, but this another nuance to it. A lot of people in some way, shape or form lose themselves and they’re dominant in a particular area based on that person.

Felice:
What do I mean by that? One person might be more dominant of a communicator, so the other person now is more timid, more shy as an expressionist, holds their feeling back. What happens, the problem with that though, is that eventually … I’ve seen it be as long as 10-15 years, but eventually that person starts getting rebellious. “You don’t tell me what to do. You don’t …”

LaShaude:
Correct, they lose their … They feel like they’ve lost their self-identity, and now they want to regain it by fighting the relationship or fighting the person they’re in a relationship with, to regain their sense of self.

Felice:
Exactly. Now another practical example of that is women who are stay at home mothers, and that’s their full-time job, while the man goes and builds his career or maybe socializes more or goes out more. Eventually when the kids start to grow up they start to feel that, at least that’s been my experience with many women who have been primarily just taking care of the home. Now they’re like, “Oh I don’t have any skills. I don’t have any education. What do I do besides take care of the family?” That’s the same concept, that’s the same idea.

Felice:
When I teach my workshop, and I’ve just started doing the workshop, I’ve been talking to couples and speaking to couples for over 20 years, but the workshop is a new platform for me. I break it down into three layers, or three different segments. The first segment that I did was just the introduction. Who we are in Christ, who we are in relation to others, and who we’re trying to be in our marriage. That was just that. I gave a bio of who I was, why I cared and why I do what I do.

Felice:
The second workshop, which is the clip that you’ve just seen a segment of, on my page, I was trying to get people to understand the mindsets. People instantly want the techniques, but I want them to understand the mindsets, and a few of those mindsets is one, they’re not perfect.

LaShaude:
Correct.

Felice:
Regardless of how you feel, regardless of what you think, that is not the truth. If you take that thought or feeling, and put a relationship AKA expectations, and you force the other person to adhere by it, then that goes against the concept of two becoming one, which is the center of my whole message right. I teach that mindset. The next, the third segment of the workshop is teaching the techniques which generally speaking most people, that’s the most popular always. People want the techniques.

Felice:
“How do I get the specialist stuff that … How do I get someone to do this?”

LaShaude:
“How do I get my husband to listen,” or yeah.

Felice:
I understand it, but mindsets teach you how to fish.

LaShaude:
Oh absolutely.

Felice:
It doesn’t give you a fish.

LaShaude:
Absolutely.

Felice:
I’d rather spend my time teaching the mindsets than the techniques, but for some reasons techniques end up being more popular, so that’s the whole idea behind the two are one and not losing yourself. I’ve probably overstated everything.

LaShaude:
No, that was actually good, because I love the idea of, the first that you mentioned, about having those mutual expectations. Because frustration is nothing but unmet expectation. When you expect all green lights on the way to work, and you get all red lights, you get frustrated. You expect that McDonald’s sells your fast food fast, and you get frustrated when it’s slow. If they were to just say, “This is slow food,” and they set your expectations up front, you wouldn’t be as mad as you’re sitting in that line for 10 or 15 minutes.

LaShaude:
I mean your approach to your marriage is the same thing. You’re frustrated because you have unmet expectations, you had a romantic idea of marriage before you came in, or maybe you had a simplistic idea of marriage, or whatever the idea is that you brought in, those expectations aren’t shared with your spouse, and then they end up losing a test that the didn’t even know they were taking.

LaShaude:
If you don’t manage expectations by expressing them, asking the hard questions, and questioning your thoughts, they you’re going to end up frustrating your spouse, and your spouse is going to end up frustrating you continually, because again, they’re failing a test they didn’t even know they were taking, because we didn’t question our thoughts, we didn’t express them and we can’t … We’re not managing them, and so again that frustration sets in because you have those unmet expectations.

Felice:
Well that’s exactly, that’s exactly why I mean, my LLC path question, because I only want people to take that name, so it’s really the center or core around all my messages through my poems. If you listen to most of my poems there’s a lot of questions. If you listen to me speak, it’s a lot of engaging questions to get people to really reflect and for over 20 years, Dorianna and LaShaude, for over 20 years I’ve watched couples divorce and break-up, baby mama drama or baby daddy drama. I’ve watched physical violence, I’ve watched couples stay together for 15-20 years, but have horrible relationships, they’re just there for the child.

Felice:
It all boils down to one foundational problem, right. People don’t question their thoughts. What do I mean by that? Another word for that is expectations. People don’t question their expectations. “A man should do this, a man should do that, this is what a man is, this is what a woman is. This is what a woman should do if she loves me. This is how you should show love in a relationship. This is what you should do in a relationship. This is what you shouldn’t do.” Maybe it’s right and valid, maybe it’s not, but people often don’t question it.

Felice:
They have some type of mindset and they force the other person to adhere to it, and when that other person fights to either be heard or have their thoughts and feelings included in that situation, it’s often rejected instantly, right, and that breaks up the unity in the relationship. It always comes down to what I like to call a mother thought. There’s some thought that gives birth to every other thought, and if you check that mother thought and it’s correct, then the birth of the other thoughts are right.

Felice:
I realize most people don’t, and that’s what leads to so many of the repeating patterns, so many of the repeating complications.

LaShaude:
You take what your auntie said about a relationship or marriage, or you take what you’re grandpa told you or your stepdad or dad told you about relationships and marriage, and you bring all of that into a marriage and you don’t ask, you don’t question them any more, you don’t ask the right questions. You don’t … And some people don’t have a good source of information to answer the questions with.

LaShaude:
They’ll take something that their grandpa told them and refine it with something that their best friend told them, which it’s sometimes good to get counsel from a friend, but without any objective, proven system of truth that you can say, “Look, I’m not going to listen to my uncle who’s been divorced three times, on what it takes to stay married or stay faithful. I’m going to listen to someone who’s been faithful for multiple years, or someone who has proven themselves to be trustworthy,” whether that be the scripture or a preacher or some sort of mentor that you’re following. They don’t question their thoughts and they don’t have resources to actually answer those questions.

Felice:
Unfortunately, right? Unfortunately and I’m just doing my part. I’m just doing my part. I’m not going to be able to take everybody all the way, and I’m fine with that. If I could just start that inquisition, then I did my job, and the Holy Spirit can do the rest. Or that person could be led to the next person that’s supposed to take you even further. My entire ministry and my entire purpose, my entire being for as long as I’ve been, even before the public speaking, even before the poetry, I was really, really inquisitive.

Felice:
It’s rooted down into Second Corinthians chapter 10:4, where we tear down arguments, and every pretension set up against the knowledge of God, we take captive in every thought. Right, that’s really centered, if you look at Jesus, that’s what he did. Right, he took their thoughts and he flipped them. “Oh, you want to what? Because she … Oh she committed adultery. Oh okay, well let he who is without sin …”

LaShaude:
Without sin, cast the first stone, yeah.

Felice:
Yeah, “Cast the first stone. Oh, nobody here?” That’s one of my favorite verses, because it’s like, everybody’s, “Yeah, yeah, oh, oh, well I think I left something on the stove.” Do you know what I mean? That’s what I do, but I just do it in terms of helping people communicate better, because that’s the biggest problem that most people, hundreds of people I’ve talked to, that’s the biggest problem in the relationship, is communication. That’s the bridge to everything else, right.

LaShaude:
Yeah. Let me ask you this, you say that you are able to help wives to clearly speak what they’re feeling in their heart, fairly and directly, so that her husband understands. Then you’re also able to help husbands see that effective communication is like fusing together how he thinks logically with how he thinks emotionally. I’m really interested to hear, what are some of those tips that you’re able to give, and I guess, and I know we get to the techniques, what are those techniques? How do you help a woman and a man communicate in a way that they both feel heard and they both feel understood?

Felice:
Well that’s a great question. You’re not only speaking, you literally saved me. Generally speaking a man, right, I’m not speaking for every man in the world, but generally speaking a man thinks a woman’s emotion is dumb. “It’s irrational, you should be more logical. Just because you feel it doesn’t make it true.” Things like that, and they fail to realize that God is what? Love. Bam, case closed. If you’re in a Christian world, then you can never discount a woman’s feelings. Plus we’re led by the Holy Spirit and then you’re led by the Spirit of God, the children of God. That’s not saying anything logical there.

Felice:
If I can help men understand that foundationally, then they at least start to get to appreciate the wisdom that can come from a woman’s emotions. Then if they can appreciate the wisdom, because that’s logic right there. Right, oh wisdom, yeah, I could say I shouldn’t drink gasoline because it’s wiser not to right. Men start to think in that term. If I could show them that a woman’s emotions can be wise, and that you can’t discount a women’s emotion because, especially in the Christian world, she was not as loved, there’s a whole bunch of feelings involved and the word Abba, there’s so many ways we can talk about that.

Felice:
If I get them to see that, then that starts to open their ears up to how, to listening to how their woman feels when they talk, and not what they say.

LaShaude:
Say, absolutely.

Felice:
Right, so that’s how I help men.

LaShaude:
I like that, because when the Old Testament was written, this idea of the separation between the mind and the heart didn’t really exist. They would say, “Don’t let your heart be dismayed,” or, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” [crosstalk 00:30:04]

Felice:
They were interchangeable.

LaShaude:
They were interchangeable, because … And if you want to think about it scientifically, the hadn’t really … They knew that the heart was an organ in the body that supplied life and pumped and what they believed, it controlled the rest of the body, so the seat of your mind, your will and your emotions was all in one place, not in two places. I believe nowadays we believe that things that are cold and logical and animalistic will resonate in the brain or in the head, but things that were warm and heartfelt and not as concrete, reside in the heart.

LaShaude:
They say, well men, we think logically, and women think more emotionally, but the Old Testament understanding of where your emotions and your mind reside was all in one place. I think what you’re able to do when you explain how to fuse those two together, is really just helping a man have integrity of his emotions and his actions and his thoughts, so that he cam properly communicate that. Then having the ability to listen to a woman as she’s expressing things, with maybe starting more so on the emotional and then slowly progressing to the more concrete, logical side of things.

LaShaude:
If the man has the patience to actually listen, and wait and actually lean in and say, “Okay, I’m not going to just discredit what you’re saying, and say you’re being emotional, I know that there’s a truth, that there’s a wisdom behind what you’re saying, and I’m going to actually work to listen to it,” is major. I failed at that so much, coming at it with my wife, she yeah …

Felice:
I failed at that a few months ago. I’ll tell you a story after you say something.

LaShaude:
Yeah, well I’ll tell you, yeah, my quick story, if my wife starts crying I immediately disregard everything that she’s saying after she starts crying, because I feel like you’re speaking out of emotion, and so what you’re saying is not really valid. What I’ve learned, and I’m even sad to admit, but what I’ve learned is that whenever she does start, if she starts crying, which is rare, but if she starts crying on a subject, that’s actually the moment my ears need to be the most open and I really need to lean in to what is causing this deep hurt inside of her.

LaShaude:
I need to stop being so critical about how she’s expressing it, using English language, how she’s expressing it, and I need to lead in to what’s going on inside of her heart. If I’m called to guard my heart, right, and I believe I’m also supposed to guard the heart of my wife and my household and those that I’m discipling, so I need to guard what’s going on. If I can’t even lean into my wife’s heart, and hear how she feels on a subject, then I’ve lost half the battle right there. Yeah, I used to fail at that, a lot.

Felice:
You will fail at that for several more years, all right. You don’t automatically understand and become perfect at that understanding, right. It’s a continual awareness that you need to have there, and a humility that you need to have. It’s not a one and done type thing, you don’t all of a sudden lose weight and go back to eating fried chicken, Big Macs and … It’s a progressive type thing, and that’s all that matters, it doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from mistakes. That’s another thing I drill into people, so they don’t get discouraged when they do fall back in the pattern.

Felice:
Now I still fall back into having to check myself. A few months ago right, my sister’s little sister now stays with us right, her parents are out of the country, so we’re responsible, we’re her legal guardians right now. My wife used to have a different schedule, so she had more time, and she would cook for all of us before she goes to work. I’d come from either work or school are something, and her sister comes from work or she’s coming from school, and she would eat.

Felice:
There were sometimes where I really don’t feel like eating. You know how you get into the progressive mode, you don’t want to take breaks, because eating is not productive right now. I’d get back then, it’s not like I intentionally just want to not eat her food or not appreciate it, but I will not eat it and then … To her that’s an attack on either her cooking or a waste of time.

Felice:
When she approached me, and she was really upset and frustrated, and she raised her voice or whatever, “Why do I do this,” and I’d seen the fact that she was raising her voice. I’d seen the fact that, “Oh it’s not that serious, you’re taking it too serious,” like most men tend to do typically, instinctively, right. Then I had to check myself in the moment, right, I had to really remind myself of these things. As long as you’re constantly aware of it in your mind and stuff, you’re going to be okay even if you make mistakes.

Felice:
When I was doing that I was like, okay, don’t listen to the words she used, women tend to associate how they feel, unilaterally, right. What I mean by that is, “You always do this. You never do this.” They’re just expressing a very intense emotion. Now the man would be like, “Always, really?” We must go, “Did I do it?”

LaShaude:
I think you used the wrong word there.

Felice:
“Right, yeah, three months ago, remember that time. I didn’t do it, so you said always, so right.” That’s what we tend to do.

LaShaude:
You’re wrong, I’m right. Yeah, you’re emotional, I’m logical.

Felice:
Right, so that’s not what she was saying though, she was trying to communicate that more often than not she feels that I don’t appreciate or we don’t appreciate the effort and the time she takes to cook the meal and it’s going to waste and stuff like that. That’s a way, that’s a practical real-life example to have, from probably a few months ago, of men thinking logically while trying to understand her emotionally. On the flip side though, how do I help women? Right, because originally I started my ministry trying to help women, because I didn’t feel like there was enough resources helping women.

Felice:
There was just resources telling women they’re queens, and men should step up. Men should step up and a lot of women are queens.

LaShaude:
Yeah, to a degree that’s true, but you can’t take that too far.

Felice:
Right, and I think they take it too far, right, personally. How do I help women? Well, women tend to associate truth with how they feel period. In my workshop recently I had … This actually started a 15 minute dialogue that wasn’t a part of the workshop, between women. When I said, “How you feel just tells you how you respond to reality, that doesn’t make it reality.”

LaShaude:
Oh absolutely.

Felice:
“What do you mean? How I feel is how I feel isn’t it?” I said, “Right, I can feel like I can jump off of a building and fly, but that doesn’t make it reality.” “Well you’re just using an exaggerated example.” “Okay, I can feel like I deserve a raise at my job, but that doesn’t mean that I deserve one.”

LaShaude:
Absolutely.

Felice:
Right, so I kept going bat to bat with feelings, and by the third or fourth example it was quiet, because they started to see how feeling don’t automatically …

LaShaude:
Automatically, yeah, they don’t match what reality really is and sometimes you’re feelings could be the opposite of reality. I don’t know if you had this situation with your wife, to where she could feel that the house is cold, or she could feel the car is too hot, the reality is, there is a temperature, there is an exact temperature of the room, and we can sit and go back and forth about how we feel about the room, but there is an objective truth about how about how hot or cold the room is.

LaShaude:
With you’re example in relationships, you may feel that your husband does or doesn’t do something, but you need to just I guess, have some … At least know that there is difference between what you feel and what reality is, so that you can be more centered in how you explain your feelings.

Felice:
That’s challenging to put it that way. I get what you’re saying, and some women may get it, but not practically be able to apply it, so here’s my approach to saying or doing what you just said. I help them by showing them, “Okay, this is how you feel, how does your husband feel?” Now I introduce a while different reality, right. Now at this point it’s not talking about what truth is at it’s core, independent of how we think or feel, it’s introducing someone else’s feelings to to the equation, so you want to make this person happy.

Felice:
Well even though you feel this way, when you do this to them, they feel that way. Now which feeling are we going to go by? Once I put them in front of their feelings, and I put that mirror in front of them, I leave it up to them.

LaShaude:
Mutual empathy.

Felice:
I leave them there, and intuitively, if the woman loves you, and she’s in a good space, she’s going to let ride a whole bunch of different variables, but let’s keep it simple. If the woman loves you and she’s really trying to keep you happy and make you happy and all that stuff, that’s usually all it takes. Now they just want to know how to prevent those instinctive actions from being triggered, to feel that same thing in other similar situations, and that’s what I usually introduce with techniques.

LaShaude:
Yeah, because people bring these bad habits, and sometimes I’ll say, there could be survival techniques that they have had from previous relationships, they bring that into the marriage, and then they think it’s going to help them in this new territory of a life-long committed relationship with another person and that’s not necessarily true.

LaShaude:
Whether that could be verbal attacks or withholding love or affection, or whatever techniques that they bring in, sometimes they do just need to be taught, okay let’s not react the same way, let’s actually have a different reaction and trigger a new set of habits that are actually healthy and not hurtful to our relationship.

Felice:
I love that. Survival techniques, I love that. That’s a great way to … Yeah, to explain that.

LaShaude:
I like the mutual empathy part, where you say, “How do you think your husband feels?” One of the tricks me and my wife use, is that we start our arguments off with, “When you do this it makes me feel like blank.” We tell each other, we have to honor the feelings, don’t defend the actions, but honor the feelings. If I say, “Hey baby, when you come I late at night, it makes me feel like you don’t care about me being here waiting up for you.”

LaShaude:
She doesn’t have to say, “Why do you think I’m doing something,” or “Why are you tripping about … I’m out with my friends, we’re doing okay, or …” We get into the trap of defending the actions that we’re taking, as opposed to honoring the feelings that hae been expressed. The proper response to someone saying, “When you do XY and Z it makes me feel like XY and Z,” well then you can go into, “How can I make you not feel that way?”

LaShaude:
“I’m not going to defend what I’m doing, or maybe I think what I’m doing is right, or maybe I can change my actions, but what can I do to make you not feel that way? Is there something else I could do, or is there something I could stop doing?” Because if I address and honor your feelings as valid, then from there we can be more solutions oriented, instead of being defensive about the actions that we’re actually doing that triggered the feelings.

Felice:
That’s a very good approach, that’s similar to the mindset of not saying you, right, “You did this and you did that.” That’s another avenue. That’s pretty effective, and not triggering defensiveness, that’s part of the core of the booger thing to. Right, you don’t get defensive when someone says you’ve got a booger, you’re appreciative I hope. “You’ve got a booger down there.” If you learn to apply that mindset to when someone is telling you that this hurts me or this bothers me, or whatever, it really promotes less defensiveness, I’ve realized.

LaShaude:
I love it, I love it. I feel like … I know we have a lot of content and we’re probably going to have to break this up into two different episodes, and I’m pretty sure once I’ve published this episode there’s going to be requests to bring you back on. Hopefully, can we maybe get a verbal commitment that we can bring you back, before you blow up and your speaking fees go through the roof?

Felice:
As long as you’ll have me, as long as you’ll have me, I’m here man. This is just a blessing for me.

LaShaude:
How can people connect further with you? I believe they’re going to love what they hear, and that they’re going to want to I guess connect further with your ideas of questioning thoughts and follow-up with more of your content and possibly join your workshops, so where can they find you?

Felice:
I’m mostly on Instagram. I’m on Facebook too, I have a Facebook, thoughtsquestioned, that’s exactly how the words are spelled, no periods or anything. You’ll find me on Instagram, primarily though as well. I post little short segments of thoughts and quotes and stories, and you can go on there and let’s build a relationship. I’m really passionate about this movement, and after this next workshop on February 16th, I’m going to be … I might consider making a community, so maybe a Facebook private group, so we can go out shopping with each other.

Felice:
I have some skills that someone else may not have, and they may have skills and communication I may not have. It really doesn’t matter where the information is coming from, as long as it’s offering a solution to the problem of communication and our relationship, that’s all I really care about.

LaShaude:
Wow, that’s amazing. I love it. I love it. Well I’m going to let you go, I know you’ve probably got your wife to tend to, whenever she gets off work, but no, thank you for coming by and dropping some wisdom. I know that my podcast family is going to appreciate it Felice, and so until next time, we’ll see you later.

Felice:
Thanks LaShaude, thanks for having me man, it’s a tremendous lesson. I praise what you’re doing man, I love our ministry, we clicked right away, I think we’re on similar paths, with similar goals and similar hearts, so I think we clicked right away. I appreciate it and it’s the start of our relationship.

LaShaude:
Hey, my pleasure, my pleasure. More to come, more to come.

Felice:
It is that.

LaShaude:
Wow Dorianna, what an amazing, amazing interview.

Dorianna:
Definitely.

LaShaude:
Like we promised, we have one tip for you that is going to revolutionize the way you communicate with your spouse.

Dorianna:
Yes, if you didn’t get enough from that interview, we’ve got one more thing, just the cherry on top of it all.

LaShaude:
A little cherry on top of it all. When you are communicating with your spouse they need to have your eyes and your emotions. Your eyes and your emotions, so not only are you physically present, but you’re mentally and emotionally present. What does that mean? Fellows, when we go out to eat and there’s a television in the restaurant, and there might be a sports game that’s on, do not look a your spouse and say, “Baby I hear you, baby I’m listening, but I’m watching the game.”

Dorianna:
No, you need to put … Ladies, sit your husband with his back to the TV.

LaShaude:
Yeah.

Dorianna:
Shield him from the temptation.

LaShaude:
Shield him from temptation. Some of the best battles are the ones that we don’t fight.

Dorianna:
Well exactly, yeah.

LaShaude:
If we don’t have to fight the battle to watch television because our back is turned to it, then maybe that’s best for us.

Dorianna:
I will help you out babe.

LaShaude:
Oh thank you. Yes, give our spouse your eyes and your emotions. Your eyes means that you’re physically looking at them, you’re shoulders are square to them, and you are physically engaged in the conversation.

Dorianna:
No phones.

LaShaude:
No phones, exactly, not checking messages here. Let the messages stay on your phone for a little while, especially if your spouse is sharing an intimate part of themselves or they’re going in depth into a part of their day that they really want to share with you. That is not the time to break eye contact to check a text message or to check out the news or to look at the game.

LaShaude:
The second thing, the eyes are the first, the second is the emotion, that we need to be emotionally engaged in what our spouse is telling us. Now this may be a tip that is more for the men than the women, I don’t know, but I know as a man, I can sometimes emotionally disengage from someone … You tell me about your day Dorianna, and so I have to ride the emotional rollercoaster, the ups and the downs.

LaShaude:
Don’t just say, “What the point of the conversation?” Or don’t just emotionally disengage, but “I’m actually interested in what you have to say.” There’s the tip. Dorianna, I don’t know I have any … You can back it up, eyes and emotions, yeah.

Dorianna:
Yeah, I second that, I second that. Especially for, and the emotional part of it is just making yourself available, like LaShaude was saying, because LaShaude definitely has to be prepared to ride the rollercoaster with me. I’m not really telling you so that you can give me a solution, as much as I am, I want you experience this with me, walk through my day …

LaShaude:
Girl, how did that make you feel?

Dorianna:
Yeah, he did that one day. He walked into the room and I was like, “LaShaude guess what?” He said …

LaShaude:
What girl.

Dorianna:
Girl what.

LaShaude:
Friend.

Dorianna:
Or, what happened?

LaShaude:
What happened?

Dorianna:
Or friend. No, but he does that and he’s getting so much better at it, and it is great just to have that friend to unravel your day with, and I have to do the same with him. If I’m tired, or I have to check out of myself, and really check into our conversation. Even though I’m tired I’m going to fully engage with what’s going on right now, because I know this is something that you really want to share with me. It’s that self-sacrificing …

LaShaude:
Love, yeah.

Dorianna:
Love, yeah.

LaShaude:
Oh look I’m getting all emotional just recording the podcast. All right family, it is 3:30 in the morning, this is the day that we’re springing forward, so it’s time for us to go to bed. We have bible study in the morning, so love you, and until the next time, see you guys later.

Dorianna:
Bye.

LaShaude:
Bye.

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