Khadeen And Devale Ellis Share Transparent Marriage Tips In Their New Book ‘We Over Me’ | Fitness tips of the day
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, former NFL player and current star Tyler Perry’s Sistas and spin-off series Zatima, Devale Ellis, co-authored a relationship book, “WE OVER ME: The Counterintuitive Approach to Getting Everything You Want from Your Relationship,” with his wife, Khadeen Ellis, TV host, actress, entrepreneur, and co-host of their Webby award-winning podcast “Dead Ass with K&D.“
The couple went viral on social media when a devastated Devale posted a video of his two older sons (they now have four sons in total) cuddling with his wife after he did the fatherly duty of purchasing McDonald’s for them; however, they ignored him. Together they have shown the beauty and humor of marriage, parenthood, and family, to which many of their followers have remarked they enjoy seeing the love and the playful banter between them as a Black couple and how Devale is “unapologetic about the fact that [he] needs [his] wife.” Allowing the outside world to peek into their private lives via their YouTube channel and Instagram page, The Ellises has helped shift the perception of Black love, even within the Black community.
Yolanda Baruch: What are you most excited about in your relationship in this current season?
Khadeen: In this particular season, we are starting to reap the benefits of so many years of dreams manifestation, supporting each other, working hard, struggling, and grinding. This particular season feels like we finally see the fruits of our labor; we’re starting to see these dreams and goals come to fruition. For example, Devale last night got a phone call that he got offered the role for a new film that’s coming out this year, and at one point, he said to me, ‘You know, Khadeen, I’m doing all of these issues, all these auditions, and it feels like it’s in vain. At some point in my career, I’m going to get to the point where someone’s going to call me and say, hey, you know, we want you for this Netflix movie, and it’ll just be mind to lose at that point.’ I’m like, you ain’t losing it, so it’s going to be yours. Now to see everything that we’ve said to each other. Regardless if it was a family goal, an individual goal, or a goal for our children, everything is starting to fall into place. It makes it feel like all the years of sacrifice and hard work and wondering, some days when you doubt, are things even going in the right direction, we’re in a season of things starting to happen, and it’s beautiful to watch.
Devale: I feel like this is a moment of awareness. I said to Khadeen I feel proud to be in a place where I can look back at the last 20 years of our relationship and realize where I was a detriment and not a benefit to both her as a husband and my kids as a father over the years, you mature a lot emotionally. You can look back and say, dang, I was doing a difficult job. I was doing a terrible job of being emotionally connected and aware. As a father and a husband, I feel good at this moment that I can look back and say, let me make changes now while it’s not too late.
Baruch: In the book Devale you stated that you continue to learn, date, and court your wife, which is lost in many marriages. Why is it important to have this aspect continue in a relationship?
Devale: I think it’s lost because life happens. When I was dating Khadeen, we had no real-world problems; we were 18. I was on full scholarship; she was on full scholarship; all we had was time. We went to class and came home. As you get older, your parents have four kids; you have a multimillion-dollar media business, and you have multiple properties. You’re taking care of your parents and helping your siblings with things, and it seems like those become the priority, and you forget the person you built this with, and during that time is when your partner changes. We’ve been together for 20 years. If you’re not courting this person 20 years later, you don’t know the person you’re with anymore. It’s important to continue to get to know the person as they evolve and avoid getting stuck expecting them to stay the same way you met them.
Khadeen: I particularly feel very disconnected if we don’t purposefully take the time to make sure we connect. With the hustle and bustle of life, like developmentally and the kids, the work, everything that we have going on, we’ve made it a point to, now it’s been reinstated after we’ve had a crazy 2022, but we make it a point to make sure once a week if we can, we’re planning out a date night that can be anything from going out for a meal, going to see a movie or it could just be he and I getting away for even an hour if it means that we take a drive and go to the gym. We’re spending time together because that’s all we can do for the week. But it’s being deliberate about making sure that we’re reconnecting in a world where it’s easy to disconnect because of so many things going on.
Baruch: Definitely, this is a good segue; communication is necessary for a marriage, and you both say that frequently in the book. How often do you have conversations about your relationship to assess what is working and what is not?
Devale: Non-stop, we make a joke, and we say that marriage is one ongoing conversation. We never stop talking; we check in daily every morning; it’s the first thing when you wake up. Many people don’t know this because we have yet to discuss this, but I suffered from burnout around November last year, like an emotional breakdown. Physically, I lost 15 pounds over five days while filming because I forgot to eat. I was trying to balance so many things and close the year out strong, and I was a detriment to myself. At that point, Khadeen said she needed to do a better job of being what I needed as a wife. At that moment, I said, I have to take better care of myself, so I can be here to be a better version of myself as a husband. So we both took accountability for what we didn’t do at that moment and said, ‘Let’s check in daily. Let’s not wait until we see something wrong. Let’s wake up and say hey, how are you doing, babe and as we go to sleep, how are you feeling every night?’
Khadeen: I used to look at communication with Devale as super daunting and exhausting because I always felt like every conversation came with some attack or way to tell me that I wasn’t doing something right. Through conversations with Devale over the years, I realized it was about taking accountability for something in the relationship that I may or may not have been doing and how I can change that to be a better service to him. The minute that I took some of the emotion out of our communication and tapped into what he was saying, and not necessarily how he said it or how he made me feel, I was able to make the adjustments necessary to be a better service to him. Before that, I thought communication was very daunting because it wasn’t practiced often in my household growing up; not to say that my parents silenced me, but communication wasn’t necessarily encouraged. So being in a relationship with my husband was the complete opposite of the way I was raised. It made me have to practice what it was like to be an effective communicator. And it’s still something I’m working on to this day. But we’ve gotten far in the process.
Baruch: You both speak on how your parents handled the aspect of happiness in their marriages. In what ways do you find joy in each other’s happiness?
Devale: Well, that’s super easy for me. I know that my wife loves to be in control of her destiny, and it makes me feel good as a husband to give her the autonomy to say, ‘Hey, I want to get up and create content and be a mogul and do these things today. But tomorrow, I may not want to, so I don’t have to do anything.’ I find joy and giving her that freedom in that space where if she wants to be a full-time mom for a couple of months, she can do that. If she wants to chase all her dreams for a couple of months, she can do that; there’s nothing better than finding someone to share life with and helping them be fulfilled with their life. I talked about how we became more involved in each other’s dreams. I watched her get so excited every time I scored a touchdown; we love to watch the other one succeed, and to me, that’s what marriage is all about.
Khadeen: Twenty years of being with someone, which we talk about in the book, our first encounter at Hofstra University, and me sitting on Devale’s bed in his room and telling me what he wanted to do with his life. At the time when I met him, he said he played football. I didn’t know much about football, and he didn’t even look the size of a football player. But then he said he wanted to be an actor, and I was just like, wow, that’s interesting. I jokingly told him how we would make that happen, not thinking we would be here 20 years later. But it’s amazing to see how he’s worked so hard over the years to achieve every single thing he said he wanted to achieve. And me setting goals as well and achieving those goals and the way we champion each other. Literally, everything he achieved is like it’s mine like I’ve done it too; even in the disappointments when things don’t quite work out at that moment, I feel more hurt than he sometimes does for certain things that don’t happen. But we’ve also learned that everything has a season, and for every ‘no,’ there’s a reason why God may be protecting us from something else. But at least we have each other to fall back on in those moments when we don’t necessarily have the outcome we want. But when we have the outcome we want, we’re here to celebrate each other through that; I make sure that we’re deliberate about celebrating the moments that are happening at that moment.
Baruch: What do you want a single person, a couple in a relationship, and married couples to take from your book?
Devale: The most significant thing we want them to take from this book are three things; well, first of all, this is not a pillar book. One thing we didn’t want to do when we wrote this book was like the three pillars to a successful marriage because every marriage has to be tailor-made to each individual, like a fingerprint; every individual is different. Giving someone three pillars doesn’t help. But we will say this, though. Number one, never tailor-make your relationship to anyone else’s expectations. Number two, give grace and latitude to the person you love or aspire to help change. Lastly, understand that nothing is infinite and nothing is endless. If you feel like your relationship no longer serves you, it’s okay to say this doesn’t serve me. I need to find something that does. So often, even in our book, we put in marriages, in relationships, that if the relationship ends, you failed; no, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure; what happens is the relationship may no longer serve you. The greatest success, you may realize, is that I can no longer do this and be healthy. It’s important to know when you can no longer do this and be healthy for someone else. So being in a relationship that proclaims we over me also recognizes when you can no longer be of service to someone else. We want people to fail to realize that our expectations for relationships have all been curated through unrealistic ideas of what being in a relationship means. Marriage is like philanthropy; it’s the most selfless act you can do for the rest of your life if you choose to be of service to someone else, and the only way you can be successful in a marriage, just like being a philanthropist, is to decide that as this whole complete person, I have something to offer someone else. I’m going to share it as opposed to thinking I’m going into this relationship to get what I can, and that’s what we want people to walk away with; those three things, also to remember to always be of service to the other person for sure.
Baruch: My last question comes from your fans, and they want to know when “The Maxi Dress” song will be available on Spotify.
Devale: (laughs) Let me tell you something, I’ll be in the airport, and I’ll be walking by, and someone will come up to me like, ‘Hey, I don’t want to cause a scene, (begins to sing) when I see you in that maxidress,’ I had no idea that that song was going to be like such a big deal when I started singing it impromptu.
Khadeen: It was so out of nowhere; it’s not even like you sat down and put pen to paper. Even Jackson (their son) knows the song. I was like, how do you even—
Devale: He knows the ad-libs; he knows everything, but that’s a credit to our support system. People have been rooting for us and cheering for us; that’s why some days I make posts thanking everybody because I don’t think people realize the value of humanity. No one is born a star, and no one is born a success story. People make you successful and a star, and you have to honor those who share your work and can relate. I want to thank [everybody] for always rooting for the Ellises and sending positive energy.
To purchase their book visit here.