We would like to start this book by stating that there is no perfect way to exist in this world. In fact, we’ll take it a step further and say that no one has unequivocally figured this thing out. We are all in search of this mythical place called “Happily Ever After.” Yet, we all find ourselves part of one big social experiment called life. With that being said, we as people don’t owe each other anything other than the space to exist freely. So when it comes to relationships, everyone has the right at any point to say, “This really isn’t working out for me in a way that is advantageous for all parties involved, so I’m going to move forward in a different direction.”
Not exactly how you thought this book was gonna start, huh? You thought it was gonna be a list of how tos and we don’ts. Sorry, but this book is not that at all. This book is about choices. Specifically, the individual choices that led to a blessed union we are very proud of. It’s about learning to respect the perspective of the one your heart so desperately wants to control. This book is about learning to love yourself so much that you learn to love someone else the way you always wanted to be loved in the first place. We know that was a mouthful, but trust us, we’ll explain. Throughout this book you will learn more about us. Not as an example of how you should live your life, but as an example of how we built the love we have to live the life we want. Welcome to our love story.
Even though we share our lives on social media with millions of people, we certainly do not consider ourselves to be a celebrity couple. What we strive to do, along with sharing our highlight reels, pretty pictures of our children, and stories of triumph, is show some of the grit and real trials that arise in our relationship. Hence the reason why you are holding this book in your hands. We pride ourselves on being raw and transparent about what a healthy relationship looks like to us. The main thing we’ve learned along the way is that a “healthy” relationship does not come in one form. The secret to a healthy relationship for you will never be found on the pages of any book. This book is an entertaining way for you to experience how we discovered what worked for us, and hopefully prompts you to get curious about what works for you. The secrets for what will work for you can only be found in you.
We like to try to find the humor in a situation, but our relationship isn’t shits and giggles all the time. We are committed to putting in the actual work to make our marriage and our family thrive. We have our moments, and we never want people to look at us as a perfect celebrity couple. We wrote this book so that you can find your own path toward happiness in your relationship.
Ultimately, in a relationship, you have to ask yourself, “Am I willing and in a position to serve the other person?” Too many people go into relationships thinking about what they can gain from another person. Women have their lists of things that they’re looking for in a man or men will be seeking what a woman can bring to the table. People have unrealistic ideas and expectations of what they need a person to have; meanwhile, they aren’t bringing a fraction of that. If you’re trying to get with someone who makes six figures, is handsome or beautiful, and is a go-getter, but you’re not any of those things, how do you expect a healthy and equal relationship to work?
Instead of focusing on what you can get, turn that around and declare, “This is what I am bringing to the relationship and this is why I could be of value to someone. I am looking to be a partner. I am looking to elevate. I am looking to grow. I’m looking to build a legacy with someone.” These are the goals you need to focus on if you want to grow or rebuild your relationship.
If you are aspiring to be in a relationship, you have to be transparent about what you want, show up as yourself, and leave the representation of yourself at home. That false self is not going to get you far. It can’t last. It’s not authentic. You need to show up as yourself and be confident in who you are. If you’re not confident in who you are, work on yourself first. Stop going into relationships broken, jaded, tainted, and tattered. If you aren’t willing to do the work on yourself first, all you are going to do is project that unhealthy behavior on to someone else.
Our desire to have a healthy relationship stems from seeing far too many unhealthy ones. Those unhealthy relationships that we were exposed to on a regular basis have made the two of us determined not to end up that way. Even as married adults with children now, something will happen between our parents and we will look at each other and say, “We CANNOT be like that.”
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Excerpted from We Over Me : The Counterintuitive Approach to Getting Everything You Want from Your Relationship by: Khadeen Ellis, Devale Ellis. Copyright © 2023 by Khadeen Ellis & Devale Ellis. Excerpted by permission of Rodale Books. All right reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.