About Michelle McElroy

Michelle is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor Degree in Arts and a Master’s Degree of Science in Education, specializing in Community Counseling. She also has a Bachelor degree in Biblical Studies from North Carolina College of Theology and is a licensed, ordained minister. In order to stay current in her field she has attended several coach developmental programs and has achieved her LCS, Leadership Coaching Specialist certificate from Xcellero Leadership, which is approved of by The International Coach Federation (ICF).

Mr. Clean

There’s nothing sexier than a man helping out in the kitchen. Ever heard that before? I have but at the time I didn’t understand the full meaning of the quote. Prior to marriage during our engagement season, Ray and I would ask many people how to be successful in marriage. To our surprise, many said don’t get married. There were some who gave more applicable advice because at this point we were getting married despite the naysayers. We observed the patterns of behavior of various couples from newlyweds to seasoned veterans. We monitored their communication, interaction, and behavior. We took it all in and came back together to discuss what we saw from our individual perspectives.

We both noticed too many older couples who didn’t speak to each other with loving-kindness. I realized the women worked outside of the home and came home to a ton of additional responsibility. Ray detected the men were dissatisfied with the quantity of sexual interaction between the spouses. At this discovery, our conversation came to a halt. Ray was unhappy with his discovery. He wanted to further dialogue about this with the hope that our relationship would not land on the planet of NoSex. Have you heard of NoSex? Me either. I obviously just made that up. LOL. However, his concern was legitimate. “What do I have to do so we don’t stop having sex?”, he seriously and worriedly asked. I chuckled on the inside but externally recognized the importance of his question. Little did he know, this conversation was important to me as well but for a different reason. My reply was simple. “Help out with the home responsibilities.”

Interest in sexual intimacy decreases for women when they are exhausted. It diminishes by leaps and bounds when she is exhausted servicing you in other ways (i.e. picking up after you, doing your laundry, cleaning the home, preparing meals, etc…). Enter children and attention to your needs has been moved further to the end of her ‘to-do list’. So, if you are unhappy with the quantity of affection you are receiving I guarantee it isn’t personal. Your wife is just butt tired and has no energy left for pleasure, not even her own. If you are interested in changing that dynamic grab some rubber gloves, take out dinner or a bottle of milk from the refrigerator and help her out. In due time, I promise you will become the reference in the saying, “There’s nothing sexier than a man helping out in the kitchen!”

By |2019-09-20T09:57:29-05:00September 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Mr. Clean

What Have I Done?

We all have had a time or two where we have said the wrong thing to our spouse. Maybe it was due to a spontaneous conversation we weren’t prepared to discuss or a touchy topic that caused our blood pressure to rise and we blurted out the first thing that came to mind. No matter the situation or reasoning behind those unkind words, they still hurt. In fact, they may still hurt after days, months, or years have gone by. The sting of the offense may be lingering in your spouses thoughts. Due to the stench, it may have caused your spouse to build a wall in an area of their life that you may not enter. Whether you said something about their weight, appearance, way of doing things, or thought process it doesn’t matter. What matters most is the aftermath. How did you recover from that situation? Have you recovered? Have you tried to recover?

Recovery is important. If you’re an athlete who tore your ACL, recovery would be needed for it to heal properly. If you’re an investor and you lost your client a lot of money, a process of recovery would be put in place to not only retain the customer but also to maintain the relationship. If your pipes burst due to the frigid conditions in Chicago this winter, the plumber assesses the situation and develops a repair and recovery plan. Are you following me? In all areas of life we are capable of making mistakes that require repairing and recovery. Our marriages are no different and quite frankly more important. Jobs come and go, things breakdown, and our bodies fail us at times but our marriages are meant to last until we die. I think that commitment deserves the energy, effort, and attention necessary to produce the longevity we said we wanted prior to saying ‘I do”.

I’m not writing this to beat anyone up. Well maybe just a little. However, I am attempting to encourage you to consider what you have done to cause your spouse to revoke you access to their heart. Develop a plan that leads to recovery. Be kind. Be loving. Most importantly, be PATIENT. Your spouse could have been internalizing an insecurity that you didn’t know about. They could have told you about their pain and you used it as a weapon and now trust is broken. The topic or situation is not as important as regaining trust, tearing down that wall, and raising a new fortress with the both of you on the inside. What a covenant!

By |2019-03-01T13:51:14-06:00February 26th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on What Have I Done?

Good Grief

Today is the day! The dreaded day we commit my father in law to his resting place. This is a hard day. This day is the culmination of mixed emotions over the past few months. The snowball of Dad just being sick quickly turned into the avalanche also known as cancer. It wiped me out!

I have experienced loss before. My grandmother, our family giant passed away a few years ago after living with dementia for 10 years. It was heartbreaking but expected for many years. With Dad, as I affectionately call him, it was different. It was six months from him not feeling well to not recovering to diagnosis to departure. Devastation. I cried because life will never be the same. I cried because of the piercing wail of his wife of 49 years as they took his body away. I cried because my husband no longer has his hero with him. I cried because I love him so and will miss him dearly. I’m crying still as I write this blog. He was a great man. He stood 6’2” tall. He was the McElroy family giant. He was our patriarch. He was a real man. He was Dad.

As I struggle with this reality I turn to scripture for comfort. “How did Jesus handle grief?”, I asked myself. The Lord led me to Mark 3:1-6 where His enemies were criticizing Him for healing on the Sabbath. “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath,…” Jesus asked his enemies. He also took me to John 2:13-20 where Jesus forcefully clears the merchants and dealers who were defiling the temple. I meditated on these scriptures. Read them then read them again. I read before and after to make sure my understanding of the context was clear. I searched for applicable meaning and then it hit me.

Grief like anger is challenging. It’s a difficult emotion to control which is why we think of it so negatively. However, grief is good. It’s not only good because it is a healthy release of emotion, a natural way to express your love for someone, or it’s what everyone does. Grief is good because of what we do afterwards. Grief is good by what follows it. If Jesus would have stopped healing due to criticism from the Pharisees and if Jesus would have given up on us because of the poor behavior of the merchants and dealers we would never have seen the good deeds, good actions, and good results of his anger. As a result of this passage, today I choose to continue the legacy of ‘Dad’. Today I choose to focus on the gift of Dad. He blessed us with so many joyful memories, words of wisdom and examples of leadership. He equipped us to carry on the baton of life with integrity, strength, and most importantly faith in God almighty. For these and many other reasons, I will trust in the Lord with all my might. I will press toward the mark of the High Calling. I will cherish Dad forever and fight to carry on the McElroy legacy that he began. Good grief!

By |2019-03-01T13:51:38-06:00February 4th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Good Grief

Romance Novel Kind of Love

When I was a teenager I grew infatuated with romance novels. I loved love. I loved the thought of love, the look of love and most of all being in love with the one who loved me most. Those novels craftily sucked me into the fairytale of romantic love and I’m willing to bet some of you too. I desperately wanted to have that INTENSE love I grew to admire! Believe it or not I am still very much a romantic after twenty+ years of marriage. However, I am fully aware of the pitfalls of my fantasy. Reality has a way of ruining even the best intended dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I still love love. I just now love it differently.

Living together brings interesting challenges to the ideal of love. It tests the depth and fabric of the love you profess. We say we got married because we deeply loved one another but how much is the question. When encountered by the habits and upbringing of another adult, love can quickly turn into frustration, anger and dislike. I had not prepared for the differences, conflict and confusion that arise in marriage. I figured if Ray would just do what I wanted; when I wanted it and how I wanted it done all would be back to fantasy land. I had no idea he would have the same thoughts about me. As time went by, I became angry with what I wasn’t getting from Ray. I was easily frustrated by the littlest of things he would do that were different from me. I couldn’t believe this was the man who claimed to intensely love me more than anyone. I was so wrong about wanting this INTENSE love. It wasn’t all that the romance novels pictured it to be.

When I settled down and did some research, I realized I had it all wrong. The love I wanted was still achievable and, in fact, was present and alive. I just didn’t see it. The word intense comes from the Latin word intendere meaning “to stretch out.” I wasn’t happy because to do things Ray’s way required some compromises or even changes and change is hard. It caused me to open my eyes to different perspectives rather than sticking with what I already know. It made me reach deep inside myself and face the fact that I am an imperfect human being capable of improvement. This love I wanted so desperately challenged me to stretch beyond the single me to the 2.0 me, the married me. Relationships are hard whether at work with your boss, at home with your child or extended family like in-laws. As difficult as they may be the pressure to fix them daunts your existence and fractures your inner peace. Your only choice is to figure out how to make them better, especially your 24/7 marriage. You can choose to fight the pressure of modification or allow the process to transform you into something new and beautiful. As you open yourself up to change, you allow your journey to inspire your husband, children, family and friends to do the same.

You see I had it right after all (pun intended, ha)! Intense love is not only what I wanted but what I needed. And although it may not always be romantic, it is always right in the arms of the one you love! My hope is that you too allow yourself to be ever-changing, ever-growing into the new and improved you with the gentle nudge by the love of your life, your superman, pool boy or whatever he is to you tonight (wink, wink).

By |2018-01-19T20:08:42-06:00November 7th, 2017|Communication, Conflict Resolution, Intimacy|Comments Off on Romance Novel Kind of Love

10 Steps to Effective Couples Communication

Effective communication is vital to a successful relationship. Here are 10 steps to assist in your success.

1) Value- Determine if the topic/subject or situation is 1-10. 1=small stuff & unnecessary to communicate; 10=urgent and MUST communicate; 5=you could handle independently or it could snowball into something worse so WATCH CAREFULLY. Don’t sweat the small stuff. No one wants to be labeled as a nagging wife or a judgmental husband. Everyone wants to feel loved and accepted for who they are. Over communicating can cause your spouse to feel criticized and shut down communication altogether. Choose when to communicate wisely. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2) Transparency- We must be willing to share our depth of feelings and emotions without FEAR of rejection. As difficult as it is to let your guard down, it is essential in building a bond to last a lifetime. The marital relationship is the one place where you and your spouse should feel safety. Create a spousal communication culture that is free of judgment/criticism and open to vulnerability.

3) Honesty- Be honest with yourself recognizing that you only have one perspective; be honest in your evaluation of the situation and the circumstances surrounding it; be honest with your spouse by truthfully sharing your needs and be honest by taking responsibility for the role you played in the current state of the relationship.

4) Timing- There’s no perfect time but there is bad timing for difficult conversations. Think it through before approaching your spouse with a difficult conversation. Anger has no place in solution oriented resolutions. I would even suggest setting an agreed upon place and time, therefore giving both parties an opportunity to collect their thoughts and prepare for the upcoming conversation.

5) Active Listening- Listen to understand versus to defend. Easy to intellectualize but difficult to execute. All things worth achieving require work. Practice being an active listener until you achieve it. I have found I am most successful when I write down the points my spouse is trying to make. It frees me from trying to memorize his points and from trying to think of my response. It deactivates the analytical part of my brain and allows me to absorb the information being shared.

6) Reiteration- Repeating what you heard for clarity, understanding and unity (being on the same page). Oftentimes what we hear our spouse say is different than what they were trying to communicate. Simply say, “What I heard you say is… Is that correct?” This simple statement decreases the probability of misunderstandings and mishaps due to incorrect interpretation of what was communicated.

7) Facts- Be fact driven. Don’t let emotions cloud the situation. Sometimes you may have to collectively jot down the facts in order to stay on topic or point. However, don’t let facts discount feelings. Feelings are important and should be validated.

8) Validation- Agreement isn’t necessary to validate your spouses feelings or emotional reaction to a situation. Sometimes validation of feelings is all your spouse needs to recover from an uncomfortable experience. Facts are important, however the way you communicate them or even the timing of your communication can be inappropriate and cause unnecessary stress on your relationship.

9) Follow up- Some conversations require a follow up to ensure follow through. Agree on a day and time for further discussion. It shows commitment to resolve.

10) Politeness/Positivity- DO NOT use harsh, negative words when describing or discussing a situation, your spouse or your spouses behavior. Being rude only causes your spouse to become more emotional which further clouds the discussion. Name calling breeds resentment and contempt which can become detrimental to a marital relationship.

By |2018-02-23T09:48:26-06:00August 7th, 2017|Communication|Comments Off on 10 Steps to Effective Couples Communication
Go to Top