We Over Me cover

We Over Me - Book Summary

The Counterintuitive Approach to Getting Everything You Want from Your Relationship

Duration: 19:20
Release Date: May 11, 2024
Book Author: Khadeen & Devile Ellis
Categories: Sex & Relationships, Communication Skills, Personal Development
Duration: 19:20
Release Date: May 11, 2024
Book Author: Khadeen & Devile Ellis
Categories: Sex & Relationships, Communication Skills, Personal Development

In this episode of 20 Minute Books, we dive into "We Over Me," a revealing account by Devale and Khadeen Ellis, the dynamic duo known for their powerful presence in podcasting and social media influencing. Published in 2023, this book offers an intimate glimpse into the lives of a couple who have navigated the highs and lows of their relationship in the public eye. With candor and sincerity, the Ellises share their personal stories of challenges and victories, providing readers with actionable insights on how to strengthen their own relationships.

Devale Ellis, a former NFL athlete turned accomplished actor, and Khadeen Ellis, a skilled makeup artist and content creator, are not only life partners but also co-hosts of the popular web series "The Ellises" and the podcast "Deadass with Khadeen and Devale." Their experiences and expertise resonate deeply throughout their book, making it a must-read.

"We Over Me" is tailored for a diverse audience, including singles searching for a lasting connection, couples striving to reconnect, and anyone seeking honest and potent relationship advice. Whether you're looking to foster a deep and durable partnership or simply eager for a dose of reality-based romance guidance, this book holds valuable lessons and inspiration for all.

Turning "me" into "we": The secret to a lasting relationship

Imagine this — a couple who once vowed not to take things seriously, blossoming into partners for life with a bond deepened by trials like career shifts and financial hurdles. Devale and Khadeen Ellis, a duo with a backstory marked by twelve years of marriage, twenty years of togetherness, and the bustling energy of four children, have walked this very path. Their journey breaks down into a narrative that's not just about sticking together but thriving together.

So, what's their secret? It's surprisingly straightforward and yet profoundly impactful. Devale and Khadeen believe that the true essence of a thriving relationship lies in prioritizing your partner's needs above your own. This principle of placing "we" over "me" navigated them through thick and thin — from intimacy challenges to life's unpredictable swings.

In our dive into the essence of "We Over Me," we'll explore how this counterintuitive swap from self-focus to partner-focus not only salvages relationships but also enriches them. Are you ready to see how you can apply these insights to foster a deeply fulfilling bond in your own life? Let's unfold the layers of this approach together and discover how transforming the self-focused lens into a shared perspective can lead to enduring love and mutual respect.

The transformative power of prioritizing "we" over "me"

In the quest for a richer, more rewarding relationship, you might find the best step you can take is to shift your focus from yourself to your partner. This premise may not seem particularly intuitive — after all, shouldn't relationships also cater to your needs? Yet, Devale and Khadeen Ellis, affectionately known as "The Ellises" to their podcast listeners and Instagram followers, stand by this notion.

The concept behind prioritizing "we" before "me" is both simple and revolutionary. It challenges the often self-centered approach people take in relationships, where the primary question is what their partner can offer them, be it emotional support, companionship, or financial stability. But here’s a thought — imagine if, instead, both partners committed to genuinely enriching each other's lives. Would that not transform the dynamics of their relationship?

Let's explore this further. The service-oriented approach to relationships, as advocated by the Ellises, involves continually asking yourself: Do I have the desire and capability to serve my partner today? This might sound as though it puts you at a disadvantage, but there is a beautiful reciprocity in this model. When both partners adopt this mindset, each person becomes both the giver and the receiver, creating a cycle of mutual support and appreciation.

Khadeen refers to marriage as a "service-based industry," a concept which underscores that successful unions require each person to actively contribute towards the welfare of the other. Here are some unexpected nuggets of wisdom from their experiences:

1. Relationships are not for everyone. This might be hard to swallow, but it's true. If you know deep down that you're not ready to put another's needs at par with — or even before — your own, it's better to acknowledge that early. Similarly, if your partner isn't willing to reciprocate your dedication, it might be time to reconsider the relationship.

2. Love requires labor. The initial phases of a relationship can be exhilarating, but the real work begins as the novelty wears off. The enduring love that weathers conflicts and grows over time doesn't come easily; it must be cultivated diligently and intentionally.

3. Embrace the institution of marriage, not just the individual. When you marry, you're not just committing to a person but also to the partnership through all its inevitable shifts and changes. This requires a profound understanding and acceptance that the person you married will evolve, and so will you.

4. A relationship isn't a remedy. For those wrestling with personal issues, entering into a partnership won't magically dissolve those challenges. Whether you're navigating the dating scene or entrenched in a long-term relationship, ongoing self-improvement practices like meditation, journaling, and therapy are essential.

Through their own trials and triumphs, Devale and Khadeen Ellis unveil these lessons, emphasizing that marriage isn't just about companionship or romantic love — it's about building a continuous, conscious practice of elevating each other. Will you take the step to transform your approach to your relationship, prioritizing "we" over "me"?

Create your own love story: The futility of comparisons

In the realm of romance, it's all too common for couples to feel inadequate as they measure their relationships against idealized versions seen in movies or flaunted on social media. This is a sentiment that Khadeen and Devale Ellis encounter often among couples they mentor. The constant comparison to these polished, seemingly flawless relationships can lead couples to believe that their own bonds are lacking.

However, the issue often lies not within their relationships but within the unrealistic standards they aspire to. Love, romance, and partnership are profoundly personal and inherently unique — what works for one couple might not suit another. Trying to conform to an external "ideal" is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; it's an exercise in futility and frustration.

Khadeen and Devale's own love story underscores the importance of crafting your own relationship narrative. Their journey began in their teenage years, long before Devale's athletic and acting career took off, and before Khadeen ventured into makeup artistry and television. They've experienced their share of ups and downs, from high-profile successes to deeply personal challenges, such as dealing with the emotional aftermath of an abortion. Throughout these experiences, they've remained committed to each other by setting their own relationship standards, rather than adhering to societal expectations.

For instance, Khadeen and Devale initially eschewed exclusivity, openly dating others before deciding to commit fully to each other. Contrary to traditional dating scripts, it was Khadeen who initiated their first intimate encounter, not Devale. These choices may not align with conventional relationship milestones or sequences, but they were the right choices for them, helping to build a foundation of honesty and genuine connection.

As their relationship evolved, they continued to challenge and redefine the traditional roles and behaviors they had observed in their families. For example, Devale had to unlearn competitive argument techniques he witnessed in his parents' interactions, recognizing that a respectful, supportive communication style was more conducive to a healthy relationship. Meanwhile, Khadeen found joy in preparing meals for Devale, a task that had been a point of contention and resentment in her own mother's life.

What Khadeen and Devale teach us is this: crafting your own rules and relationship blueprint not only fosters a deeper connection but also enables each partner to thrive as individuals and together as a couple. In sharing their story — imperfections and all — they encourage others to embrace their unique relationship dynamics without the pressure of external validation.

In essence, constructing your own narrative is not just about rejecting societal norms; it's about embracing and celebrating what makes your partnership unique. Stop looking outward for validation. Look inward, and together, you can write your own version of a happy ending.

Navigating life's tough choices together

In the early days of their marriage, Khadeen and Devale Ellis faced a turning point that tested their partnership in ways they hadn't anticipated. It was Thanksgiving 2011, and instead of celebrating at home, Khadeen found herself working extended hours at a MAC makeup store, swept up in the hectic demands of the holiday shopping season. This moment underscored the financial and emotional strains that were defining their new life together.

Their post-wedding bliss had been short-lived, interrupted by the realities of unexpected pregnancy during their honeymoon in Jamaica and Devale's challenging transition from NFL player to aspiring actor and entrepreneur. The financial pressure was intense. With no steady income from football and a baby on the way, the couple found themselves grappling with roles neither had anticipated assuming: Khadeen as the primary breadwinner, and Devale as a stay-at-home dad.

During this period of upheaval, traditional gender roles deeply ingrained in both Khadeen and Devale began to surface and cause friction. Devale felt the weight of not fulfilling the conventional provider role, while Khadeen wrestled with her desire to be more present at home instead of at work. Their frustrations often led to irritability and withdrawal, placing additional strain on the relationship.

However, the breakthrough came when they began to communicate openly about their feelings and expectations. This honest dialogue helped them let go of preconceived notions about gender responsibilities that were clouding their judgment and happiness. They gradually shifted their focus from what societal norms dictated their roles should be to what their partnership needed to thrive under real circumstances.

A significant turning point was reached when Devale's budding acting career allowed him to join a union, securing health insurance and financial stability for the family. With this newfound security, Khadeen felt supported enough to resign from her retail job and pursue freelance makeup artistry—a leap of faith that paid off as she quickly began earning more than Devale.

This story of mutual support and adaptation highlights a crucial lesson: a strong relationship thrives on flexibility and the ability to pivot according to each partner's needs and goals. It's not about one person's dreams taking precedence but about finding ways for both partners to succeed and fulfill their potential.

Khadeen and Devale's approach to their partnership, particularly in how they provide for each other's aspirations, has not been free from outside criticism. Accusations of being "submissive" or a "simp" have been levied against them due to their unconventional dynamic. Yet, these labels haven't swayed them. Instead, they continue to focus on creating a stable foundation for one another, a strategy that has allowed each of them to pursue and achieve their dreams.

Their journey demonstrates that while the path may not always conform to societal expectations, the commitment to support each other unconditionally can lead to a fulfilling and resilient partnership, tailor-made for the challenges and triumphs of their shared life.

Maintaining the Spark: The Importance of Physical Intimacy

It's a common belief that after the wedding bells have rung, after children are in the picture, and after decades have flown by, even the most passionate couples may see their once-fiery sex lives dwindle to a slow flicker. Devale and Khadeen Ellis, however, are determined to defy these conventional expectations.

When the routine of daily life began to make intimacy feel more like a chore, the Ellises took proactive steps to ensure that their bedroom life remained vibrant and fulfilling. They are the first to admit that their sexual chemistry is explosive, but they also acknowledge a discrepancy in their sex drives—Devale's being notably higher than Khadeen's. This difference in libido had been a point of contention in the past, particularly during the on-again, off-again phases of their early relationship and even more so after becoming parents.

Devale found that sex was a crucial emotional and physical outlet for him, while Khadeen, overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood and work, often found it difficult to muster the same enthusiasm. To bridge this gap, they implemented several key strategies:

Firstly, they removed the stigma from discussing their sexual needs openly. For instance, when Khadeen expressed her fluctuating interest in sex, it wasn't a reflection of her attraction to Devale but rather an honest communication of her current state. Similarly, by voicing his desire for more frequent intimacy, Devale wasn't pressuring Khadeen but sharing his feelings transparently.

Secondly, they committed to revisiting these discussions, regardless of how repetitive they seemed. The persistence in communication was crucial—not so much the content of the discussions, but the fact that they continued to engage in dialogue about their sexual relationship. Silence, they realized, would be far more harmful than any uncomfortable conversation.

Lastly, they sought to accommodate each other's desires without compromising their own needs. Khadeen took proactive steps to address physiological barriers such as hormonal changes and postpartum depression that impacted her libido. She pursued medical and therapeutic advice and explored alternative forms of sexual expression that provided mutual satisfaction. Devale, recognizing the nuances in Khadeen's sexual responsiveness over time, supported her in discovering new sources of excitement. They found that traveling and escaping their routine not only rejuvenated Khadeen but also ignited her sexual interest. These discoveries led them to integrate regular kid-free weekends and travel into their routine, which served to consistently rekindle their connection.

Through these approaches, Devale and Khadeen have successfully navigated their differing sexual needs, demonstrating that with open communication, understanding, and creativity, maintaining the spark in a long-term relationship is not only possible but can also be deeply rewarding. Their journey underscores a vital lesson in maintaining physical intimacy: it's less about conforming to societal expectations and more about finding what uniquely works for your partnership.

A Shared Path to Success

In today's culture, where individualism and personal achievement often take center stage, Devale and Khadeen Ellis shine as exemplars of a different philosophy. They embody the power of prioritizing their partner's needs above their own, a strategy that has not only enriched their marriage but also propelled each of their individual aspirations to new heights.

The couple's journey illustrates a profound shift from the usual narratives about personal empowerment and success. By devoting themselves to the happiness and growth of each other, the Ellises have discovered a unique kind of fulfillment that transcends traditional notions of romantic success. Their approach, grounded in mutual service and selflessness, underscores the idea that true partnership is about enhancing each other's lives, not just coexisting.

What Devale and Khadeen teach us is a potent reminder: in love and life, the act of giving often yields the greatest rewards, not just for the recipient but for the giver as well. Their story is a clarion call to couples everywhere to rethink what it means to love and support one another, suggesting that maybe, just maybe, the secret to lasting happiness and success lies in the simple yet profound act of placing "we" over "me."

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