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Road of Life Podcast Episode 26

April 18, 202425 min read

Proven strategies to improving communication in your relationship w/ April & Lloyd Koebel

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Welcome back to the Road of Life podcast. And this episode, we are super pumped because we have two really special guests, two friends of ours that we've known for years now, it's hard to believe, April and Lloyd Koebel.

And what makes April and Lloyd so special is, well, like us, they're married, they're best friends, they're entrepreneurs, they're also parents. And what's interesting about their entrepreneurial journey is they actually own two separate businesses. They each own their own business. And so I'm looking forward to digging in and learning a little bit more about.

How that shows up in your relationship, how you overcome those challenges and how you work together, even though you own separate businesses. And so April and Lloyd, welcome. We're so excited you're here.

Beautiful. Thank you. We're honored to be on here with you both to chat all things relationship.

Oh, you guys are going to be full of relationship gold.

So let's just start. Why don't you guys tell us a little bit. About your relationship, the relationship, you know, that, that I just described how all the relationships that you guys have sort of tie into your relationship and, and how you got here.

Do you want to start with how we met?

Yes. Well, we are high school sweethearts.

I am proud to say that we have been together for 23 years. So since we were 17 years old, so we have, we have gone through every sort of emotion and every up and down everything that could potentially happen in a relationship and solidifying the solid relationship that we have to be where we are at this point, you know, being two entrepreneurs in different sectors, and two children, five and nine, it really Puts us in alignment of where we want to be in the type of relationship we want to have to get to where we want to be.

We've gone through a lot, you know, ever since we first met to you know, graduating university, moving to a completely brand new province, just her and I, so literally taking ourselves out of our comfort zone and just being plopped in the middle of nowhere, "Winter-peg". Navigating life there where, you know, we didn't really have other people to rely on, but ourselves moving back home.

Working her pushing me to start my own business, Koebel's Roofing. And you know, her leaving her job to spend more time with kids, you know, just a whole range of of things.

What would, what would you say, because you've been together for so long and gone through so many things as a couple, what would you say is the one or two things that you hang yourself your hat on to say that, You know, these, this, by having this attribute, by doing these things, we've been able to weather these storms and get through these things and get to where you are, which is successful business owners and parents and just all around, all around awesome people.

So like, what are the one or two little nuggets that you would say got you there?

First thing would be is communication, the communication that we have together, but also making time for us. Life gets so busy, right? And if we don't put in the effort daily to work on our relationship, like those two things in itself I feel are what makes a relationship work, right? And us communicating about everything, like how we're feeling, what we're working on, what our goals are, what our dreams are. Like, literally, he's like my biggest cheerleader. Like, he's like my driving force, as much as my children are. And if both of us are not on point in that element there of communication, And having that open communication, even if it's just a feeling of any sort of, any sort of feeling at all.

We love to have that sort of time together to reflect and communicate all of those life talks.

So, these are things that we've learned over the years, right? At the beginning of our relationship, you know, we've had to kind of go through the emotions. Right to figure this out, but you know being in the state where we are now That's one of the things is you know, yes, you're right communicating expressing your feelings going out on date nights You know as a new couple or if you're in a relationship If you can focus and learn more about yourself and how to communicate what you're feeling or, or what's going on that would definitely help.

That's kind of the biggest thing that I've learned.

I would say probably like five or six golden nuggets right there for people. Like literally, like, relationship truth bombs all over the place here. Communication, intentional about your marriage, intentional about spending time together and having dates, expressing your feelings, communicating openly, honestly, being vulnerable is what I heard.

And one thing that, that we talk about a lot is being each other's biggest cheerleader. I know, April, you mentioned that Lloyd's your biggest cheerleader and that's, it's just.

And we've seen you show up the same way for him. Yeah, totally. We know it's a two way street. Yeah. Yeah.

And then not even necessarily being a cheerleader in the good times, but also in the hard times, right?

Yeah, exactly. Even more important. Being the shoulder. Yeah. It's interesting when you say like the regular check ins on the, you know, the day to day stuff, how your day went, how you're feeling about things. Like it's not just the, the big communication things. And that, that was something that was relatively new to me in, in, in our relationship was he asks me questions all the time.

Like random, just check in. What was your favorite part about this? What, what, like, you know, how'd you feel when this happened? It makes me reflect. And so to your point, Lloyd, I better understand myself and how I feel about things by the questions he asks me, which also then opens our lines of communication.

So it's it's a win win for the relationship, but also for me knowing myself so I can bring that into the relationship.

And how would you guys, how would you guys, For someone who says, Oh, I'm so busy. Cause you guys are two business owners with two kids. You've got a lot going on separate businesses, two kids, you've got busy lives.

What would you say to someone who would say, Oh, I just, we don't have time for our relation to be intentional and to have those check ins. It's so hard. We don't have that time. How do you guys make that time?

So, you know, again, just being intentional, you have to put it in your schedule. But I think we're also aware of things that consume our time and we limit and try and avoid those things where I don't know, like, I know it's probably sad to say, but like our kids aren't in like sports.

Or anything like that. We tend to spend a lot of quality family time. I see all the time. A lot of parents are, you know, they have their kids in sports or arts or dance. And when you actually hear their story and their schedule, it's like, you know what, this weekend we're going over here, we're traveling up north because it's so and so dance, it's so and so hockey, and then we get to jump over here, jump over there, and I'm so mindful of that because it actually takes away, it can take away or it can add to it, depending on how you look at it, right?

But we've designed it in a way for us that. Instead of the sports element of it, we implement us going away for the weekend or a day out with the kids. Because we're really big on creating memories with our children. That's such a huge, huge thing for our family dynamic.

Yeah, because without the foundation, there's really, there's nothing.

So what I'm hearing is priorities. You've, you've chosen to prioritize family time, relationship time, and you put it in your calendar and you're intentional about meeting that schedule.

It's not, oh, you know, we've heard people say, It's in my, it's in my schedule, but when it comes up, it's like, wow, I'm kind of busy with something else.

I don't have to go do that right now. So I'll put that off when it's like, no, when Bennett and MacKay time comes up in my calendar, it's close the laptop. We're going to go do something. And that sounds like the same for you.

And don't get us wrong. Like there's going to be times where it's just like, Hey, you know what?

This came up. Can we reschedule? But at the very least we know that each other that's priority. And we'll often go on long stints where we both realize, Hey, you know what? When was the last time we got on a date night? We haven't done this in a long time, right? Okay, let's go do this for this Friday or whatever that is.

You don't have to be going out. Just sitting down in the living room over a cup of coffee or whatnot.

Yes.

And be present in the conversation that's in front of you.

Yeah. That is, isn't it so simple sometimes? It doesn't always have to be going out and doing something, like sitting down sort of eyeball to eyeball and paying attention to what's happening in front of you.

And the other thing I heard you say is, is, is boundaries. Saying no to the things because it's so easy, I think we're all a little bit programmed to say yes, and more is better take on more more opportunities more more more. But you say yes to everything you actually say no to a lot of things unintentionally and so by consciously saying no to external things, whether it's organize sports at this age for your kids or whatever, whatever your choice is, you put a boundary in so that you can say yes to what's your, your number one priorities are. And so I think that is such a gold nugget for people because we're just so accustomed to going, going and saying yes and doing all the things.

And that's when you realize, I haven't made time for their relationship or for him or for them or for whatever. And. The other thing I noticed about you two, because you know, we follow each other on social media is you seem to make use of lunchtime for a date. It's not just Oh, I go out on a date in the evening.

The way people think about it, you're entrepreneurs and I assume your kids are probably in school. And so you, you have a little bit more flexibility to spend some quality time during the day when the kids are at school or doing their thing. And you make use of the time that's available to you instead of just Doing things the way you've always done them because that's the way everyone does them.

Yeah.

Yes, no, it's so true. Especially like, here we are as entrepreneurs designing our life. And if my husband's going to ask me, hey, do you want to go out for lunch? I'm not going to say no because I have to work. I'll just rework our calendar or schedule and make that time because I'm grateful, that he is making time to be like, Hey, babe, let's go out for lunch.

I'm not going to say no to that. Everything else can be put on hold because he is my priority and my children are my priority. They come first above anything else.

I love it.

And, and, you know, honestly going out on a lunch date, it's, it's different. It's refreshing. It's something new that most people don't do.

And, you know, when you put the phone down, you just kind of soak in the moment. It's really refreshing.

Probably sends you back to the office, back to work in a different headspace, more productive, because you've had that break, you've had that dedicated time with your person, you get back to work sort of ready to go.

And you probably get more accomplished than if you just sat down and powered through anyway. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

It's true. He's like my, my driving force, but just like rejuvenates me. I'm like, okay, let's go.

You guys have been together for a while.

And these are where business ideas or like even brainstorming ideas come into place around that lunch time.

That's a whole other topic on business is being able to mastermind together.

Totally.

Yeah. It's such a, it's such an advantage I think, like whether you're in the same business or you're in different businesses, but having a partner who understands what you're doing. Where you're coming from and can provide that sort of masterminding ideas, support like brainstorming.

It's, I think it's a huge life hack. If you're in the entrepreneurial space to have a partner who's in that same space, whether it's not the same necessarily like market or exact same business, but in that same head space of understanding what the entrepreneurial journey actually looks like. Yeah.

So you guys have been together for 23 years, I think you said, and obviously ups and downs and you know, happy and difficult moments. So what is, what is the biggest. Most challenging obstacle that you guys had to, to get through. And like, what did you lean on or how did you get through that, that thing together?

I'll let him take the reign on this.

Well I'd say one of the the most I don't know I'm gonna say maybe you know I would say a challenge vulnerable state for me was probably a couple years ago. You know going through this This season where you know, we're doing the the real estate thing and you know not going so well And you know, I remember that being kind of the lowest point in my You know My career I guess or my lifetime.

Yeah, and I don't know there's just a lot of responsibility on my shoulders a lot of guilt as well and You know to the point where I even I even said to April like April This is kind of a situation right, you know, if we go broke from this, are you still gonna be with me?

I said, I married you broke. I'm not going anywhere.

So, you know, I realized like we're doing life. We're doing life together. We're going to experience the The amazing ups together and we're going to experience the amazing lows together.

Even like summarizing it. It's like that was being in that financial state in a couple Looking back at it two years later.

I actually don't regret that happening because that strengthened our relationship as a couple. It made us like yes, we're good communicators, but that really dialed in that communication factor of being vulnerable and being uncomfortable of having that conversation. Like for a man, for himself, because he's such a traditional man in a sense, right?

He's got such a big heart. And for him to be like, I feel like I failed you and our family, for him to even say that, I'm like, Babe I don't even look at you in that light whatsoever Yeah, and like I said I'm going to be a cheerleader in the highs and the lows and at that point in time I was even more of a bigger cheerleader because I'm like, okay, let's just figure this out. We can always figure it out.

This is going to be temporary Yeah, right and having that positive light factor and because we have really worked on a relationship over the years... You know what, it just solidified and strengthened our relationship because of it. Right.

Agreed. What was the major feeling, Lloyd, that you were going through when you were like, obviously you're in this vulnerable moment.

You feel a lot of like blame and guilt for what happened and you go to April and you're probably a little bit worried about this conversation. But when she tells you, bro, I've got you. Like we've, we've, we've been through other things and I married you broke. We're together. How did, like, what were, tell me what was going through your mind then?

You know, it was a sense of relief. That's what it was, right? Because it is hard, you know, like as a person having all that guilt and resentment knowing that, you know what, you, you're kind of responsible and accountable for everything that's happening in life or the lack of things happening in life. And so once I got that out, it was just like a sense of relief knowing that, you know, she's there with me, right?

Always be here, babe. Yeah. It sounds like it's like from a, you know, strengthening the relationship perspective, the sense I'm getting from you, Lloyd, is like, this is as bad as it's ever been and it's ever gonna be, we gotta be in this together, I gotta tell you what's going on.

And for April to be like, yeah, dude, we're in this together, I've got you. The trust that, the trust in your relationship must have gone through the roof. And I think what's important for people to understand from your story is that when times are tough, it's hard, it's hard to see that it's gonna get better.

It's hard to see the forest for the trees, right? You're so mired in the guilt and the shame and the bad feelings of whatever the situation happens to be, that you feel like you want to figure it all out for yourself, and you, you know, you don't want to bring the other person down, or you don't want to, you know, feel less than in their eyes, and so you try and do it all yourself.

But what I heard you say is, You know, you share it and it releases some of the burden from you when you share it with your partner. And as a bonus, it strengthens your relationship. So the bad shit isn't always as bad as we make it out to be.

A hundred percent. Yes.

And the other thing, the couple other nuggets that I heard Lloyd drop that I think are really important to highlight is that the support. There wasn't a, so why'd you do that?

There wasn't like a. A questioning or putting it on you or blaming you. It was, it was a supportive response of, yeah. Okay. People make mistakes. You made a mistake. You didn't, it happened now. How are we going to get through it together? So that's one thing that I think a lot of people allow the emote, like when the emotions get high, they pile on and it just piles on and then you're each getting trying to out emotional the other person and it just which undermines the trust. Yeah. And it turns into something like a battle. Right. And then the other nugget that you drop that I think, like, I don't even think you intended to but was You're accountable for your life.

Like the decisions you make, like, even though it's not specific to the relationship theme that we're going with today, but when you, you are where you are in life because of the decisions you made, you're accountable for your own decisions. So if you're in a relationship, that's not going so well, it's as a result of the things that you've done and said to this point.

And so if you want a better relationship, you need to do and say different things that are going to get you to where you want to be. So I just think that was a great point that. Should be highlighted.

Yeah, I kind of, I think, I think accountability is something that in business, in life, in relationships.

Like, it's easy to blame, it's easy to cast blame, and to your point about how April reacted when the emotions are high and you're, you panic and you're scared, when someone comes to you, like Lloyd did, you know he never intended to put anyone in any negative situation so, you didn't let any fear or panic, come between you.

It was, I'm here. I got you. We're a team, all team first. And then we figure it out together. There's no scorekeeping. There's no tit for tat. There's no blame. It's like,

there's forgiveness. And then there's the appreciation and the gratitude for actually happening and knowing that it's strengthened your relationship and you're in a better place, right?

Like, yes, a hundred percent gold all around.

This is something that we've asked a few people. We just find it interesting. We're weird. We do weird things. Some people think that some of the things we do are weird. As a, as a, as a couple. And it just works for us. Is there anything that you guys do that others would look at and say, That's weird.

That's weird.

Our dance party. April's got something. Our little dance party. you Yes. Thank goodness. Nice. You know, you'll see he's like stressed or he'll wake up and, you know, he'll have his moments. I'm like, we just need to have a dance party. Yeah. I love it. Yeah.

To many, that's weird. It's like, what do you mean? You're just randomly dancing in your living room.

Yeah.

Of course.

You don't do that. Yeah. That's weird.

What does an X, if we said exponential relationship, what does an exponential relationship mean to you?

Good question. Good question. I don't even know. What do you think?

Exponential relationship.

You know how some people are like, oh, I have to go home. I'm excited when my husband opens up that door and he comes home. And for me, it's that always having that, not always, no, I should say always, it's like that excitement. It's as if I'm like, I date my husband daily. I don't know if this is answering the question, but how I view him is like when I met him when I was 17 years old, like, I still, I still feel that way.

You know, we, we find joy in everything that we do, right? We celebrate our small and our big wins and exponential relationship for me is always finding a way to have small joy in the relationship that we have. That excitement factor, like. I don't even know how to explain it. Maybe you can maybe elaborate on what I'm trying to say.

Exponential relationship for me means, you know, being able to communicate with your partner, knowing yourself well enough to communicate to your partner going out on those date nights. And just remembering that before the kids, before anything, it was just you and embracing that excitement that you had and continuing on that excitement, whether it be date nights or those dance parties or those quirky things or just even spending time together.

To me, that's exponential relationship. relationship Love it. Love it.

You said it pretty good. Yeah.

By the way, there is no wrong answer to that question. Whatever comes out of your mouth is the exact right question. Yeah,

right answer. Or right answer. Yeah. Is there anything we usually end with that question, but I wanted to ask another one.

Go ahead.

Is there There's no rules here.

Is there anything you wish you had done sooner, or learned earlier, or Would do differently next time, like, in another lifetime, restarting your relationship. Is there, is there anything that, yeah, okay, go ahead.

Knowing yourself. Yes. Knowing yourself and knowing how to communicate what you're going through.

I think that's huge. To kind of help with communicating on a relationship level. I find that a lot of people don't know what they're feeling. Or they don't know themselves well enough to be able to communicate what they're feeling. And oftentimes that can mislead the other person into thinking something different, which can just explode in my opinion.

How can you walk into a relationship if you don't even know yourself as a person?

True words I don't think have ever been spoken. Yeah.

That was gold, Lloyd. Like, absolute relationship gold. Because I think a lot of people go into relationships looking for someone to make them whole. To make them feel good.

To make them, to complete them. To, you know, to be their other half. To, you know, in some way shape or form feeling not enough as themselves. And if you don't know yourself well going into a relationship. Depending on the relationship, you can really lose what little you do have of yourself. And if you don't know yourself to your point, you can't, you can't be yourself in that relationship.

You can't communicate who you are, what you need. And if you don't do that, we, I think we expect people to be able to, especially our partner, to be able to read our minds. If you're enough of like Like, you know, enough alike, or been together long enough, you know, you just expect that the other person should just know.

And it's like, no, you have to know yourself well enough to be able to articulate what you need, or what you want, or who you are to your partner, instead of just expecting them to figure it out when you don't even know. That's right. Yeah. Exactly. I think that's gold, Lloyd. That's like, it's so true and it was so well said.

And that's why they've been together for 23 years.

We've had to learn, we've had to learn, learn all of this stuff. And I think at the beginning of our relationship, we were like, You know,

there's a discovery phase, right? Discovery going through these you know, ups and downs is whirlwind of emotions. But, you know, I think what really kept us together and kept fighting is just This, this stubbornness of not wanting to give up. Whatever comes at us.

It's like, okay, this is a challenge. Let's go.

For sure. And then the moment, like he asked me to be his girlfriend, you know, that's a promise, that's a commitment. So we will fight no matter what challenge comes our way. And I think like, because of that promise at such a young age, that We're going to fight for what we have.

I would say most, most people take the easy way out and I've seen this and heard about this, which I'm sure a lot of people are seeing, which is divorce, right? And in my mind, it's like, don't be that person, just go through it, you're going to learn a lot about yourself by going through some kind of struggle, either about yourself or your relationship or each other.

Yeah that's...mic drop. Yeah, it's a good place

to end it. Yeah, mic drop Lloyd, that was amazing.

Where, where can folks, because you've dropped so much gold, I'm sure people who are listening are going to want to know, where can we get more Lloyd and April?

And also, we didn't even get into your businesses: Linked by Brilla and Koebel's Roofing, give people just a little snippet about both your businesses, because we've alluded to it multiple times and we haven't even given them a chance to know what they are. So just give us a little, give everyone a little overview.

Of course, I'm in the jewelry industry. So it's a personal concierge service. So we source high end designer jewelry, and we also host events privately with our community of women. And it's called Linked by Brilla and we empower and we inspire women and we get to do that through the jewelry experience that Linked by Brilla offers. You can reach us @LinkedByBrilla on Instagram.

And personally @AprilKoebel

love it. And how do you spell Koebel for people? Because Koebel for people might be C A B L E, and I know that's not how you spell Koebel. Fair enough.

Yes, it is K O E B E L.

Perfect.

K O E is pronounced A. So Koebel, not coble. And it's German. Yeah. Anyways. So for me, I'm in the service industry.

I'm a contractor. I do roofing or the business does roofing. We specialize in just your, your re roofs, flat roofing, skylights, sun tunnels, repairs. We've been serving the community for 10 years now.

And what community, what community do you serve, service?

Kitchener Waterloo and the surrounding areas.

And yeah, we're, we're We're growing our business.

Yeah, that's

awesome. And how can people reach you Lloyd?

@LloydKoebel on Instagram. Or they can even Google Koebel Roofing. K O E B E L Roofing. That's how they can find me. Awesome. I don't even know what my handles are.

That was

me too. That's why we combined

Instagram account.

That's awesome. Well, you know what? Thank you both so much. It was so nice getting to catch up and getting to have you on here and You provided so much value. Just really thank you from the bottom of our hearts for spending the time and sharing your, you know, hard earned wisdom over the last 23 years with people because I think it's going to make a huge difference for some people.

Absolutely.

Awesome. Beautiful.

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Meredith & Craig

Meredith (aka MacKay). Loves rules, processes, order and efficiency. All around badass and most empathetic human you will ever meet. She feels what you feel, as strongly as you feel it. Her emotions pour from her eyeballs. Has a borderline unhealthy obsession with saltine crackers and believes squirrels are just rats with better PR. Craig (aka Bennett). Basically a giant kid with a ginger beard. Loves any game that involves a ball and seeing how many of MacKay's rules he can get away with breaking (Spoiler Alert: not many). Has un uncanny ability to give you the kick-in-the-ass you need and make it feel like a giant warm hug. Can crush a bag of Chicago Mix like Popeye does spinach We're sharing our life experiences, funny stories, failures, lessons and wisdom from this epic adventure together in hopes that it will both entertain you and equip you to live your dreams on your own epic adventure.

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Meredith & Craig

Life partners, business partners, and best friends. We left the corporate grind to become fulltime entrepreneurs... with no idea what we were doing.

That made for some interesting, amazing, stressful, awesome, painful, scary, awful, awesome, insightful, unbelievable decisions, moments, experiences, relationships, and quite honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Our marriage is the foundation for everything else we build in our lives. It is a cheat code for life, and we believe that having that part dialed in levels up every other part of life.

We help others live their dream life... and that starts with a rock solid relationship so they can level up the rest of their lives too.

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