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Kickass Couples Podcast

Building Understanding in Relationships: The Power of Communication – Ep. 102 RECAP – Seth & Crystal Karnes



relationship, partner, kim, seth, intimacy, commitment, conversations, people, communication, feel, learned, boundaries, listening, crystal, compatible, communicating, compatibility, anticipate, finances, important


Kimberly Hoffman, Matthew Hoffman


Matthew Hoffman  00:16

 Welcome back to the Kickass Couples Podcast, I am here with my favorite woman in the world. Love having her by my side love doing this with her. Because I get to get to view with her and learn. We had a great time in our interview with Seth and Crystal Karnes. They are both married for the second time. And really Kim, they talked a lot about lessons learned and the importance of compatibility. And you know, we’re going to kind of jump into that, because that’s kind of they said their superpower is they spent the time to make sure that they were highly compatible, same value, same principles. And they really that was a common thread, I think for the entire interview.


Kimberly Hoffman  03:21

Yeah, I think that what makes them kick ass is that they learned a lot the first time around. And they took what they learned and applied it to their next relationship. But I think they also felt like they were just naturally in organically, very compatible people. But I would think when you’ve been in a relationship where you maybe were not compatible, or you had made a lot of mistakes, that you would really sort of naturally seek that, that next person out who is maybe a little bit more like you a little bit more what you need out of a person.


Matthew Hoffman  03:58

Let’s talk about that. You know, what does it mean to be compatible? Kim is compatible mean? Hey, we like the same things. You know, we like the same foods, we like the same activities. Is compatibility really about likes and dislikes? Or would you say that there’s something deeper underneath all that?


Kimberly Hoffman  04:13

Definitely something deeper. I think that compatibility, I mean, we can be compatible, and, you know, have like the same things or not like the same things, right? But I think what, when we’re talking about a relationship, it’s it needs to be deeper than that, that we need to have the same core values and we need to really, you know, really understand each other where we came from, where do we want to go? You know, do we have personal growth mindsets, as well and so, so many things come into play. When you talk about compatibility.


Matthew Hoffman  04:51

No doubt and I think you know, a good relationship to find out if you’re compatible is not just about time together. That helps and it gives you the opportunity to have fun Your experiences to see how somebody reacts, how they handle things, and you handle them the same. But when you have that time together, I think it’s having the discussion and going back and talk about history. What was it like for them growing up? What did they see modeled as their parents or grandparents? Whoever their caregiver was, were people that raised them? And how did they feel about it? Was that a good example of for example?


Kimberly Hoffman  05:25



Matthew Hoffman  05:25

You know, we always ask the question in our interviews, what did love look like to you? Growing up? And I think that’s really important to know.


Kimberly Hoffman  05:34

Yeah. What about what are what are some kind of questions that we can ask our partner when we are, you know, kind of learning and seeking out information from each other and really getting to know each other? What are some things we should ask, what are some things we should conversations we should have talked about?


Matthew Hoffman  05:53

You know, one of the things that comes to mind is often listed as one of the top three reasons people get divorced or separated is finances. You know, are you a spender or a saver? What does managing your finances look like? What’s an excessive purchase? You know, one of the things I talked about all the time when people talk about finances, is anytime Kim or I have a certain expenditure, that’s over $500. Some people might set that limit at 100, some at 250. Some might say 1000, or 5000. The level is immaterial, it’s what are you the two of you comfortable with that? You can say you know what, I’m not going to spend X until I’ve talked to my partner about it, because I want to make sure that they agree and they’re on the same page. And while we’re on the subject of finances, Kim budgets, right? You know, how much are we going to spend on a vacation? What are we going to spend on groceries or clothes for ourselves or on our kids and working within parameters that we feel happy, healthy and confident with? I think all those questions around finances, if you don’t know them, if you’re together with your partner, and you don’t know those answers, I’d encourage you to have that conversation now. Well, what else Kim what are some the other things?


Kimberly Hoffman  07:02

I think talking about growing your family? Do we want to have kids? Do we or you know, maybe maybe someone just really comes to a relationship saying, I’m not having kids, I don’t want to have kids, I think those are really important discussions to have. Before you get really serious with one another. 


Matthew Hoffman  07:20

You can’t make assumptions like, oh, I want kids so they must too. And that can change over time. But if you’re getting together and committing to your partner, they don’t want kids and you do you think all they’ll get there eventually, you know, they’ll they’ll all soften them up, break them down, I’ll get them to change. That’s a dangerous territory. I’ve seen a blown up in people’s faces, where the husband and wife have had different ideas about what that looks like. And having one for I’ve seen men that want kids and women that don’t and kids come into the picture and it makes the relationship a mess. And I’ve seen women where the guy down where finally they just give in. But it’s not what they want. And it always has an entanglement and some difficult stuff in the relationship. For example, you know, intimacy, what does intimacy look like for you? Or Kim? Here’s one of my favorite questions is, what do you need to feel the most intimate with me? Right?


Kimberly Hoffman  08:18

And there’s so many different kinds of intimacy,


Matthew Hoffman  08:20

right? We talk about that all the time. Absolutely. There’s intellectual there’s emotional. There’s sexual spiritual, and you know, and there’s visit what I love Kim, I didn’t know this before we got married. Before we started doing I wrote my book and we did this podcast is you can have physical intimacy without sex.


Kimberly Hoffman  09:04

Of course.


Matthew Hoffman  09:04

 Yeah, I mean, there’s hand holding and 


Kimberly Hoffman  09:22

women love it


Matthew Hoffman  09:43

 touches and hugs and arm around you or on your leg or just a gentle squeeze and not that that couldn’t lead to something, but if it always does, you’re gonna frustrate the heck out of your woman because women want the reassurance but not always. The second shoe doesn’t always have to drop there.


Kimberly Hoffman  10:03

What about their history, I feel like, you know, Seth really came to the relationship, saying, you know, my parents were not the best examples of love was not modeled very well for me and my family. And I think that you can see a bad example. And you can choose to emulate it in your relationship, or you can see a bad example and say, I’m not going to do that I want my relationship to be different. 


Kimberly Hoffman  10:34

And I feel like Seth really said, I’m not going to bring the behavior that was emulated to me, my dad was very controlling, my mom was miserable, I’m not going to bring that to my relationship.


Matthew Hoffman  10:34



Matthew Hoffman  10:46

And that’s, I think we all have those experiences where we say, I’m gonna do this because it was important to me, and I really liked it. And I am these are things a lot of couples, we talk to no way in heck am I going to do that, in my relationship, I want better or I want different or it was so dysfunctional. So it’s kind of normal, I think, to have both of those elements in any relationship, and you can’t, we all have junk in the trunk and, you know, skeletons in the closet, right? Things that maybe we’re not so proud about. Or that might sound weird, or we’re if you’re sitting there and you’re afraid of being judged by your partner, because of your history, you got to move through that you got to push through that wall and be willing to share warts and all because we all have those warts.


Kimberly Hoffman  11:27

And believe it or not, it’s gonna bring you it might be difficult. And you may be a little concerned about having that conversation. But if it’s done in the right way, and in the right context, it can actually make you closer. It is another part of gaining more intimacy in your relationship.


Matthew Hoffman  11:48

No doubt. And you know, not everybody, you know, Seth and Crystal went through bad relationships. I think Crystal said she made the decision to eject because she just was miserable, not getting what she needed. And assessed situation, his first wife said, I’m out of here, and it’s not what she wanted. So they both had that experience and came together. But you don’t have to, you know, get your lumps, so to speak, in a relationship getting married and hit a jacked and the key is really Kim is to having those conversations, right? We talked about, it’s the conversations that don’t happen, that need to that end up damaging and having the relationship. So what do you think, like we talked about this a lot, but what should people think of as the solid foundation to have in order to bulletproof that relationship?


Kimberly Hoffman  12:36

Well, I always go back Matthew to the three C’s, because I really believe that those three things, commitment, communication, and being able to resolve conflict, are key to a successful relationship. We can work on, you know, making sure that we are committed to our spouse, that we are communicating properly. I’m not just talking, I’m not talking about talking to you. I’m talking about real, true, honest, open communication with each other vulnerable communication, and then learning how, when we have conflict with one another, when we are in disagreement, how do we approach each other with conflict?


Matthew Hoffman  13:24

Yeah, you gotta have a game plan 


Kimberly Hoffman  13:25

Gotta be able to work through it.


Matthew Hoffman  13:26

Gotta have a game plan. And if you don’t have a game plan, is going to hit your partner, like out of left field, they’re gonna think why did they come to me like this? Or why are they insisting on that? So I think this may sound rudimental and fundamental, or maybe that you don’t need to have it. But ask your partner, how are we going to handle conflict, or disagreements? Because it’s going to come up? And if you have a game plan, and you agree, this is how, Hey, Kim, when we conflict or have a disagreement, I don’t need you to be critical and say, I told you so. And, you know, get on me for having ended up somewhere. But but let’s let’s agree how we’re gonna confront each other and talk lovingly and out of understanding so that it’s not a surprise, and we don’t feel attacked or scrutinized.


Kimberly Hoffman  14:14

And that leads right into the commitment portion of their interview. And, you know, they talked about about, or at least, Seth said, that really, it’s just their commitment is part of the makeup. I love this. He said, it’s part of the DNA of our relationship. It’s not forced. It’s not you know, we don’t make it happen. It’s easy, and it’s natural. So, I love that and I know it’s not that way for everyone. But I think that one of the things that they were able to put into place and the relationship is, you know, talking about things communicating, what are our boundaries, what did we learn from our past mistakes, how can we, you know, take in it implement a lot of those things that we learned into this new relationship. They set boundaries. For example, he had an ex wife, who really liked to go out and be with the girls and go to Vegas and party. And, you know, that was really difficult for him. And so really setting up those boundaries, having those conversations with his new wife, you know, it made all the difference.


Matthew Hoffman  15:29

That’s huge. And you know, boundaries are a necessary element Kim, as we have every relationship, and if you haven’t communicated to your partner, you know, like what they can and can’t do, or what will fly and won’t fly with you, then you’re setting them up for failure, because they’re going to do things that you don’t want. But if they don’t know if they’re ignorant, right?Ignorance is not a bad thing, it means you just don’t know. So I think you have to have those conversations around boundaries about what is acceptable, and what isn’t. And I think that one of the things crystal kind of talked about as well, relative to their commitment, she said, you know, what, I learned, I’ve got to be a lot more patient. She goes, I was not super patient in my first relationship. And I saw the damage that it did. And I had to be willing to be more patient and not let things push my buttons and get to a boiling point. But be calm, and listen and take some of those things and not be so mean, she said I was nasty. I was impatient. Because I made I jumped to conclusions, I made judgments. And she said I had to learn how to be more patient. And she really did do that and show up that way for Seth. And that was another part of it, I think the success of their relationship.


Kimberly Hoffman  16:41

What about communication for them?


Matthew Hoffman  16:47

Yeah, you know, one thing more Kim I wanted to talk about is, you know, the idea of commitment before we jump to communication is we think that commitment is the cornerstone, we have the three C’s and commitments, the first one, if you have the commitment, you’re then free to work on everything else, because you’re not worried. If I make a mistake, if I make a mistake, or I screw up, it’s not going to have relationship ending power. So I can try and fail and know that I’m not going to be crucified for falling short. We’re not making so people go, Oh, my gosh, commitment. I don’t want to feel tied down. I don’t want to feel conscripted. I don’t want to feel restricted. And I’m going to tell you, it’s the exact opposite. When you’re committed, you have security, you have freedom. And the options become much greater when you have first demonstrated commitment, because


Kimberly Hoffman  17:37

The net under the trampoline or the high wire is the safety net of the relationship.


Matthew Hoffman  17:44

 She’s saying them too. I say that all the time. And so she’s here, we’re starting to talk and sound a lot like each other. I think that’s good. We have that freedom. And that, you know, that leads into communication. And I think one of the things that Seth talked about in communication, is he said, There’s communicating and there’s talking. And just because you’re talking, it doesn’t mean that communication is happening. Right? And so you know, just because we’re saying words, right? And why is that?


Kimberly Hoffman  18:12

Real communication is intentional. 


Matthew Hoffman  18:14



Kimberly Hoffman  18:14

 And you know, we are open, we are vulnerable. We are intentional about really spending time communicating about the important things about our life’s dreams about, you know, our vision for the relationship. That’s real communicating.


Matthew Hoffman  18:31

It is yeah, it’s gotta be it’s gotta have substance. It’s not fluff. It’s not what do you want for dinner? What time are we going here? 


Kimberly Hoffman  18:38



Matthew Hoffman  18:38

when are we doing that? Those things have to happen. But that’s got to be more of the minority. 


Kimberly Hoffman  18:44



Matthew Hoffman  18:44

Of your communication


Kimberly Hoffman  18:45

And I love Seth’s, I love Seth’s take on it too, because it was complete opposite it was communication, just need some time shutting your mouth. And listening and really processing what the other person is saying to you. So that’s the active listening piece that we talked about. And that is when you just, you know, really are quiet, and you’re shaking your head and you’re acknowledging and you really are taking it and processing. What your spouse is saying. 


Matthew Hoffman  19:12

Yeah, it’s, you know, I love the idea of when your partner is talking and you’re listening, and they’re finished sharing. So a great ways to come back and say, so what I hear you saying is, or so when you say this, you mean that? And if you don’t get a full body not exactly that said, if they go well, no, not really. 


Kimberly Hoffman  20:41

Tell me more. 


Matthew Hoffman  20:42

Tell me exactly right. Tell me more. 


Kimberly Hoffman  20:44

Tell me more. 


Matthew Hoffman  20:46

And having that


Kimberly Hoffman  20:47

or explain it to me a little different. Because you know, sometimes we understand things incorrectly. Right? And we make the mistake of thinking we know, but we don’t. So keep asking questions. And that’s another thing that I love about, you know, really good relationship state continuously curious about one another. Keep asking questions. Keep digging.


Matthew Hoffman  21:10

Stay curious. 


Kimberly Hoffman  21:11



Matthew Hoffman  21:11

Because Kim what you say in our relationship, sometimes, on the surface in the face of things. That’s not what’s really happening. You know, when you ask somebody, how are you doing today? Oh, I’m okay. 


Kimberly Hoffman  21:24

I’m fine. 


Matthew Hoffman  21:24

I’m fine. Right. I think we heard another couple say to us. One of the responses, they are not allowed to say this was


Kimberly Hoffman  21:33

Well, I think that episode hasn’t aired yet.


Matthew Hoffman  21:35

 Hasn’t aired yet, okay.


Matthew Hoffman  21:37

but I’m gonna say it anyways. Because I think though true, not allowing your partner not to answer a question. Yeah, he’s


Kimberly Hoffman  21:45

not allowed to say, I’m fine.


Matthew Hoffman  21:47

Not allowed to say I’m fine. Because that’s like, one of my least favorite words, you know, find is a four letter word, another one of those four little words I absolutely can’t stand is busy. When you ask how somebody is doing. They go, Oh, I’m so busy. Well, what does that mean? What does that mean that you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off? But what does that tell me about how you how you feel or what you’re doing? Or what’s your mental state, or I can be busy, but I can be engaged in great activities.


Kimberly Hoffman  22:13

You want to go deeper than that. You want to go deeper than just the response of busy or fine, fine, right? Okay. You really want to know and understand how that person is feeling.


Matthew Hoffman  22:24

And I think that’s what Crystal and Seth were alluding to is. We have real conversations, we share what we’re thinking and what we’re feeling. And I think they said to no conversation is off the table. There’s not anything in their relation. Oh, you know, we’re not we can’t talk about that.


Kimberly Hoffman  22:41

Nothing is taboo. 


Matthew Hoffman  22:42



Kimberly Hoffman  22:42

 Everything can be put out there. And the other person is totally okay with it.


Matthew Hoffman  22:47

Yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, kind of one of the last nuggets, Kim that I loved about the two of them, is anticipation. And when you get to know somebody, and you spend a lot of time around them, it’s not anticipating by finishing their sentences. But it’s understanding and knowing them well enough to anticipate their needs before they communicate them before they verbalize or express them. And that’s, that’s, that’s intimacy. Because if I look at my wife, and I’m like, godly, she’s so tired, and she’s stressed right now, what can I do to meet her needs without her having to ask and just give it to her. It is so nice to be the recipient of love from your partner, when they’re working to meet your needs, before you have to ask.


Kimberly Hoffman  23:36

And love them the way I love them and meet their needs, the way they need to be met. Because we all have a different way that we’d like to have those needs. 


Matthew Hoffman  23:47

Yeah. And you should know that 


Kimberly Hoffman  23:49

Understanding those and implementing it is huge. 


Matthew Hoffman  23:52

At any point in time. You’ve got to know what your partner’s number one needs are. And if you don’t, you have to ask because we aren’t mind reader’s. And I think that, you know, Seth talked about a little bit that proactivity he said, We are proactive, and we work to anticipate if we can figure out what our partner’s needs are. And if they can’t, you ask, and then and then deliver and there’s nothing wrong if you don’t know. But you know, I love the idea of anticipating and being able to bring it home for your partner.


Kimberly Hoffman  24:20

I agree. And I think the last thing I wanted to touch on that I appreciate about them is their spontaneity. I think that they incorporate that into their relationship. And it keeps things alive and moving forward and fun. And, you know, again, the anticipation of the what’s coming next, the spontaneity part. You know, I know they do little gifts for each other and things will just arrived with, you know, our expectation and that’s fun. And I think that those things are important in relation.


Matthew Hoffman  24:55

 Yeah, I think you’re talking about getting, getting set. Talk about getting Crystal a Dolly Parton t-shirt because he knew she’d love it.


Kimberly Hoffman  25:00



Matthew Hoffman  25:01

And so we just got it for her. And it shows up and she’s grateful for it. He goes, and I wasn’t even thinking about, well, it’s my turn next, or reciprocity or quid pro quo. He goes, I do the little things for her, because I think she’ll like them. And I think they’re important to her. And he says, I know it’s gonna be reciprocated back to me in some way in some time. And I get excited about


Kimberly Hoffman  25:22

He finds joy in it. Yes.


Matthew Hoffman  25:24

Yeah, that was a sweet thing about the relationship.


Kimberly Hoffman  25:27

Well, this was a great interview, I hope that you will take the time to go on and listen to it and entirety. Lots of good information in our interview with Seth. Crystal.


Matthew Hoffman  25:40

Thanks for joining us on the recap. Go back. And listen, if you liked this or any other episode, give us a review. So we know what you like. If there is something you’d like us to talk about on the Kickass Couples Podcast, a topic that you think needs some airtime. We have incredible connections with fantastic team of elite KCN therapists, we’ve got special episodes coming up look for those. We’re going to talk about how to have red hot intimacy with your partner with two great panelists. So if you want to hear something, let us know send us an email at info at kick ass couples And we will be responsive and give you more great content that you love to hear.


Kimberly Hoffman  26:20

Thanks for listening to us. And remember that happily ever after does not just happen, it’s on purpose. 


Matthew Hoffman  26:28

We’ll see out there. Thanks, guys.