James Baldwin said, “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.”
In our society, we’re not conditioned to love each other. In particular, men are taught to get whatever they can out of a relationship and then move on. All too often, we are driven by lust. We’re taught to selfishly pursue our own satisfaction, especially when it comes to romantic and sexual relationships with women.
Meanwhile, women aren’t always treated with respect and can be viewed as simply sexual objects. And unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for women to allow themselves to be treated that way. Maybe they are longing for any form of companionship. Or maybe they haven’t recognized their own worth.
These are generalizations, of course, but sadly they can be true. And they’re the reasons why we see so many broken relationships and marriages.
But people in healthy relationships work a little differently.
My guest today is here to tell us exactly how. His name is DeVon Franklin, and he’s an expert on healthy romantic relationships. In our interview, we get into a lot of great stuff. DeVon talks about the difference between lust and true love and how you can tell which one you’re feeling. He also talks about the one thing men today most lack and how we can improve in our relationships.
And for all the women out there listening, DeVon has plenty of wisdom for you too! We get into the reasons women often give up power and how you can reclaim your power and thrive in relationships.
It sounds cliché, but guys, love really is everything. I can’t wait to dive into this interview, so let’s go!
DeVon Franklin is a Hollywood producer, New York Times bestselling author, renowned preacher, motivational speaker, and a really good friend of mine. He’s an amazing guy, and I know he’s going to inspire you today!
You may have heard of some of DeVon’s best-known films Heaven is for Real or his most recent film, Breakthrough, which stars Chrissy Metz from This is Us. Or maybe you’ve heard of Miracles from Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner, which is the highest-grossing faith-based film of all time.
He’s a big deal.
DeVon is also a fantastic writer and the author of several bestselling books. He and his wife, actress Meagan Good are the co-authors of The Wait. DeVon Franklin’s books also include The Success Commandments and Produced by Faith.
DeVon Franklin’s new book, The Truth About Men, is full of wisdom. In it, he teaches men to think beyond sex and lead with love. He also talks about the power of acknowledging our feelings and communicating them honestly to those around us, which we dive deeper into in our conversation!
In addition to being an incredible creative force in the world, DeVon is an accomplished businessman. He’s the President and CEO of Franklin Entertainment, which recently signed a deal to become part of the 20th Century Fox family of companies.
And finally, DeVon Franklin is a major motivational speaker. With appearances on The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Dr. Phil, CBS This Morning, Entertainment Tonight, and more, it’s no wonder he’s one of the most highly sought Christian speakers out there! Beliefnet even named him one of the “Most Influential Christians Under 40.”
But aside from being a prolific content creator, inspirational speaker and writer, and social media influencer, DeVon is just a fantastic guy. He walks the walk and truly practices what he preaches. He is a man committed to loving his wife and modeling healthy relationships and healthy manhood to everyone who watches him, and he’s a true inspiration to me.
I’m so excited to share this interview with you today! DeVon and I get into some great stuff, so let’s get started!
One of the critical things DeVon talks about in his new book is the difference between lust and love. I think we all have a basic idea of what love is, but I asked DeVon to define lust so we can more clearly understand the difference between the two.
“… I define lust as a selfish impulse for personal, professional, financial, or sexual fulfillment by any means necessary, even if those means are detrimental. We live in a culture that almost feeds on the lust in men and also encourages us as men to feed on that.” – DeVon Franklin
So in our relationships, lust is what drives us to serve only ourselves. And a lot of times today, the media in our culture tells men that what we want is sex and more sex. We’re taught to treat women as sexual objects instead of people. We’re taught to want more and more women, and even to take pride in sleeping around as much as possible instead of committing to a relationship with one woman.
DeVon thinks we can do better.
He thinks the most important thing we can do in a relationship is to identify whether we’re operating out of lust or love. If you’re dating or in a relationship, ask yourself, “Am I interested in pursuing a committed relationship with this person? Or am I just looking for sexual satisfaction?”
But those are tough questions, and sometimes it’s hard to tell what you’re really feeling. I asked DeVon how we can be sure we’re doing the right thing in a relationship, and he said it comes down to one thing: peace.
“Our peace is the strongest barometer. It’s our compass. It tells us we’re going in the right direction. It’s really about peace, and everyone has that opportunity to find what it is for them, but to me, that’s a great way to identify if this is the right person.” – DeVon Franklin
If you can be honest with yourself about whether you feel peace in a relationship, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble! If you do feel peace — that’s awesome, pursue that relationship with everything you’ve got! And if you don’t, you need to be honest with the person and get out of the relationship. You’ll avoid a lot of pain and heartbreak if you choose to operate out of peace and love instead of lust.
So say you’re already in a committed relationship or a marriage — how can you level-up that relationship and really thrive?
DeVon says that the best thing we can do is also the area where all men struggle: communication.
“A lot of times, we feel things, but we suppress — ‘I don’t want to think that about myself.’ But guess what: Any suppressed thought does not go away … The only way to get a suppressed thought to go away is to acknowledge that it is there. … So what I’ve been learning is: the more I communicate, the more I’m honest and truthful, the more I work on those things, the better I become as a person, and I think that also lends itself to the marriage and helps the marriage.” – DeVon Franklin
A lot of times as men, we don’t want to acknowledge our feelings. Society tells us that it isn’t manly or cool to have feelings at all, but DeVon says the exact opposite. It turns out, when we’re honest and communicative about what we’re thinking and feeling — especially with our partners — we grow as men and as people. And becoming a better, stronger person naturally improves your relationships.
So how can men improve their communication skills? DeVon says it’s about creating “safe spaces.”
“I got a chapter in this book called, ‘Create a Safe Space.’ [A safe space is] where we have at least one other person that we can talk to, that we can tell what’s going on, and we can do without fear and judgment …” – DeVon Franklin
Find a person you trust, and commit to telling them what’s really going on with you. If you’re married or in a relationship, that person should be your partner. If you’re single, that person could be a friend or a family member. Whoever it is, make sure that you practice open communication with that person.
It definitely takes discipline, but it’s so worth it. When you open up those lines of communication and commit to being open and vulnerable with someone, the relationship automatically grows and thrives. It’s true what they say — in any relationship, communication really is key!
DeVon is full of wisdom, and I was excited to hear his best advice for women too. How can women better engage in healthy relationships with men?
Like we talked about earlier, men aren’t really taught to respect women. But oftentimes, women truly desire companionship and a relationship with a man, even if that man is bad for them. Sometimes, women can feel like they have to choose between being lonely and being with a man who doesn’t value them enough.
But to all you women out there — DeVon wants you to know you don’t have to make that decision.
“… here’s the reality to me: … I don’t believe you have to choose between love and being respected. And so often I think the culture wants women to feel that decision — ‘Well, at least I have a man in my life. No, I’m not valued as much as I like, but I still have that companionship. I’d rather you be alone and single and be whole than to be in a situation where you feel like you can never be all you want to be just because you want the companionship.” – DeVon Franklin
You really can be whole and happy as a single person. It’s okay not to be in a relationship! If you haven’t yet found a man who respects you and values you for your worth, it’s much better to be single.
So say you’re already in a relationship where you’re not treated well enough. DeVon’s advice? Get out.
“When you’re dealing with a man who is not willing to do his work, who is not willing to … operate in love … the biggest thing you can do is leave because the pain of your absence is the only thing that can convince him to change. And sometimes when you’re a man and the woman is with you walking with you, sometimes men take that for granted.” – DeVon Franklin
Women — don’t feel like you have to stay with a man if he doesn’t treat you with both love and respect. If you’re in a relationship that isn’t based on those things, it’s time to leave! Hopefully, your absence will convince the man to change and grow into a person who can love you. But even if not, you deserve to be single and happy!
If you’re a person who desires a healthy relationship with another person, you need to listen to this episode with DeVon Franklin right now! He has so much wisdom to share, and I barely had time to scratch the surface here.
Here’s just another little taste of all the brilliant advice DeVon has to share:
“… I believe that, you know, if we date better, we marry better. If we marry better, we family better. So it all goes back to how we date, and if there’s no discipline there as a man, we’re setting ourselves up for a massive challenge. It doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful — we can — but sometimes as men, we think, ‘Why is one [woman] not enough?’” – DeVon Franklin
There’s a better way to be in relationships. There’s a better way to date, to marry, and to lead a family. DeVon’s here to tell you how to bring your best into any romantic relationship, and it’s powerful stuff.
If you loved this episode and you want to connect more with DeVon, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and, of course, his website. And don’t forget to pick up DeVon Franklin’s new book, The Truth About Men!
You can also check out DeVon’s previous appearance right here on The School of Greatness on Episode #409 to hear more about how DeVon found success in Hollywood through his faith and spirituality.
Before I go, I want to share DeVon’s definition of greatness:
“I really think greatness is mostly found in humility. I think that the greatest people I know are the most humble. They’re not the strongest; they’re not the richest … they are the most humble. … when I’m in the presence of greatness, I’m absolutely in the presence of humility.” – DeVon Franklin
I love that. Greatness isn’t about being better than everybody else. It’s about serving from a place of genuine love.
Okay, guys, if you’re ready to level-up your relationships and lead with love instead of lust, join me on Episode 769 to find out how from a relationship expert, DeVon Franklin!
Lewis: This is episode number 769 with New York Times best-selling author Devon Franklin. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes a former athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today, now let the class begin.
James Baldwin said “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” And Leo Buscaglia said “What love we’ve given, we’ll have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity.” Welcome to today’s episode all about relationships, love and lust with my good friend Devon Franklin who is a Hollywood producer, best-selling author, renowned preacher, and motivational speaker. He’s best known for the films miracles from heaven, heaven is for real, and the New York Times best-selling book the wait which he co-wrote with his wife Megan.
He’s got a new book out that we’re gonna talked about and also we’re gonna talked about Devon teaches men to think beyond sex, when sex is typically a lot of what men think about. The difference between love and lust and how to know how to lead with love. The power of acknowledging feelings versus suppressing them and this is something that a lot of men in general have faced for a while now and Devon’s keys to a successful relationship and thriving marriage. That and so much more in this episode, so make sure to share this with your friends, lewishowes.com/769.
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Big thank you to our sponsor today I am so excited about this episode so let’s dive in with the one the only Devon Franklin.
You are one of the most inspiring guys that I know, I love following your work. You do work that is just authentic to you and you don’t care about what other people think.
Devon: Thank you man.
Lewis: We only hang out for 3 times and I feel like I can trust you and great voice. So you got this book out called ‘The Truth about Men: What men and women need to know.” And I’m excited about this because every time I do an interview or topic on relationships it just seems to go crazy.
Devon: Is that right?
Lewis: Because people are struggling in relationships in general. I feel like a lot of people are stressed out more than ever today. First finding a partner and dating is just stressful for people and then when you’re in a relationship, then if you’re married how do you stay happily married? And I think it’s stressful because there’s so many options in today’s world. There’s so many options everything looks yummy, everything looks tasty and fresh and new and interesting. So this is what I love about this you got this questions in the back and I just want to read some of them, some are from women and some are from men and I think about men first because if you see this questions ‘men have you asked yourselves, why does one woman not seem to be enough? Why can’t I ever be satisfied and will I ever find peace?’ These last 3 questions I feel like resonates with a lot of men and I’ve asked that question myself in previous relationships and also being single sometimes.
Devon: You know today is like you said it makes it even harder because of the popularity of social media, I would say that that’s what amplify the challenge. The challenge has always been there but I think with social media it really takes that challenge to another level for any man. So, one of the reasons why I wrote the book is to help articulate and hopefully answer to some of these questions. Why I believe it’s really hard for one man to be comfortable sometimes with 1 woman and it comes down to what the book is about which is love. And I believe that love is selfless, love is sacrificial it’s not just love of self, it’s love of a woman. So as men we’re never really taught to feed or cultivate love. So to me the 2 things that are in a men is love and lust, I define lust as a selfish impulse for personal, professional, financial or sexual fulfilment by any means necessary even if those means are detrimental. We live in a culture that almost feed on the lust in men and also encourages us as men to feed on that.
Lewis: What the media promoting is happening to women everywhere.
Devon: And it’s okay because boys will be boys that’s what we’re taught as a man growing up, that the more the better. So what happens is if our appetite grows to such a place where we’re not feeding the love we’re feeding the lust. What is lust? Lust is selfish it wants what it wants and however it wants. So as men especially as single men when you’re in a situation that’s what’s got to be the strongest. And so when it comes to a world where things are not on your terms that almost feels like a foreign experience because you cultivated an appetite where the more women the better, and guess what if this woman doesn’t suit what I want I just get rid of her and move on to the next. So what happens is as men sometimes consciously and sub-consciously allowed let lust to run and potentially ruin our life. So when a man decides to get committed, to get serious saying ‘I do’ is not a magic word. You meet the one but prior to her and even sometimes with her you have not practice discipline as a man. So if you have an appetite and you have no discipline marriage doesn’t automatically give discipline, so why is it hard for men to commit to one? Because they never had practice with it. And I believe that you know if we date better we marry better, if we marry better we family better. So it all goes back to how we date and if there’s no discipline there as a man we’re setting ourselves up for a massive challenge, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be successful we can but sometimes as man we think ‘why is 1 not enough?’ because we’ve been condition to more. And so the idea of just one becomes four.
Lewis: What’s the right way to date someone, let me ask this question first, when you’re in a relationship and you say ‘I’m gonna be discipline I’m gonna work hard at this’ even when you know it’s not the right fit you put in time. But for some reason you know deep down isn’t the one and you say goodbye to that relationship, is that you saying onto the next? How do you know when it is the right?
Devon: Well that’s a good question. 1 when you’re in a situation the one premise of the book as it relates to love is really we got to start telling the truth and lot of times it becomes place where we tell the least truth. Sometimes in a relationship you can be afraid. And so a lot of times whether you’re a man or a woman in a relationship you bring that fear into it, so as a result sometimes that fear works than being truthful. So a lot of times in a relationship you’re more truthful with people outside the relationship than you are with the person in the relationship. And so I really want to write this book to help foster more truth. So the point that you are bringing up if you are in a situation, here is the number 1 way to begin to identify if it is operating in lust or love is peace.
Lewis: You feel peace.
Devon: Our peace is the strongest barometer, it’s our compass it tells us we’re going in the right direction. It’s really about peace and everyone has that opportunity to find what it is for them but to me that’s a great way to identify is this the right person. So then let’s say you don’t have peace, the truth is I need to tell that person as soon as possible.
Lewis: Soon don’t wait 6 months.
Devon: Because this is what happens as a man the moment you start to know, the more you do not tell her the truth about how you’re feeling either she gonna cry now or later and when she cries later she’s inflicting more pain. I believe as a man we’re gonna be 1 or 2 man, men that heal pain or inflict pain. And that’s true as much as she may not want to hear it, it’s better for her to hear early on before she can have more emotional investment then to hear it later and you knew 6 months ago you are out of there. Part of telling the truth is saying “Listen, I love you when I operate in love I put someone else’s needs over my needs.” So in dating sense as a man I need you to know how I’m really feeling here so that we can just have an honest conversation. You wait for something to happen and you use that as an excuse. If there was really love and there was a long term plan there you can work through that, but too often as man we hold on to what we think and I think women do that too because they’re afraid. So, I think when you go into this idea like ‘how do you date and love?’ it doesn’t mean you can’t explore, doesn’t mean you can’t find the right fit this is all about the journey. So love when you’re trying to find the compatibility you’re searching and we all find that, however it’s dating with more intent. It looks like and again this is just what I believe will help us as men especially in a dating sense, think beyond sex.
Lewis: How do you teach men to do that when that’s all they’ve been condition to think?
Devon: Instead of looking at that woman as an object for your pleasure look at her as an individual, look at her as someone’s sister, mother. So often men looked at women first as a sexual object not as an individual, and as a result when a woman most of the time ‘I don’t want to have sex or whatever’ a lot of man say “I’m moving on to the next.” If a woman does not want to have sex or share her body with you because she does not trust you, she does not know you that’s a sign or great woman not a woman that you should be discarding. And so as a man you’re single and you’re discarding women because they don’t want to share their body, that’s a warning sign to me.
Lewis: About you.
Devon: That’s right. Why are you on a path of selfish, lustful fulfillment that you are discarding potential women that could help make a difference in a positive way in your life. So for any man it’s about ‘hey let me look at the mirror for a minute and just stop’ because look at what’s going on in the world there’s so much news about the challenges that men are facing, and why are there so many men facing these challenges? Because I believe most men have given themselves to lust, they’ve given their selves over to selfish fulfilment where they want what they want however they want it and as a result they become this total weapon that lust makes them. So as a man no man can turn a blind eye towards what’s going on with the men in the world. So if anything allow what we’re seeing in the world then be a motivator of every individual need. The moment any of us as men say “I would never.”
Lewis: You might.
Devon: Because all of us have the same struggle, all of us struggle between love and lust and the issue is getting control and getting discipline and mastery to the degree where I don’t believe we can eradicate lust. Lust is in every man no matter who that man is.
Lewis: No matter how faithful you are.
Devon: It’s there it’s not even a reflection of woman in this life at all. However, as men when we learn to control of it, when we learn to control love over lust that’s when we position ourselves to not allow that lust to destroy us.
Lewis: A couple of things I want to ask from this: You are a successful man in Hollywood, you’ve been married for how long now?
Devon: 7 years.
Lewis: 2 part question first part is do you know any successful men in Hollywood who are not married and got multiple partners? Do you see any of them that are successful in their career but also have that inner peace?
Devon: I don’t see many successful men that are living according to how you just outline that have the peace. They have the fun all of that but I would not say that the men that fit the description that for me have that peace. A lot of times and I believe that if any men is gonna be honest with themselves I don’t believe that more women you have the more peace you get.
Lewis: More chaos.
Devon: Think about it it’s like a man, at the end of our life when you think about how much time you spend with women, chasing women you got to ask yourself what do we have to show for? So for me prior to getting married I had to ask the same question. What I did was a friend of mine encourage me to not be afraid.
Lewis: Afraid of what?
Devon: All of it. You know but I was dating with intention. When I talk about this in the book it’s so important and I’ll talk about the male side and the female side. For men it’s important because what happens is lust makes us a part time manipulator.
Lewis: What does that mean?
Devon: It means that you’re dating multiple women, those women don’t know there are as many women as there are and they don’t even know that you’re serious as you seem to be when you’re with them. So when you’re dating with intention you’re letting everybody know here’s where I am, here’s what I’m doing.’ As a man I encourage any single man if you really want to get become successful in life and success to me has nothing to do with what happens in the world, success to me is peace. So, I would ask any man if you’re finding yourself with multiple woman, why are you doing it? And what is the real value that you’re getting out of it? Do you find yourself this insatiable appetite that no one person can ever quench? And as a result there’s no peace within your spirit. The second part of that is that if you find yourself ‘hey you know what I am gonna get more discipline here but I still want to explore.’ Explore with intention let the woman know what your intentions are, so then they as an adult can make the decision if they want to engage with you. That to me is what real honesty and transparency looks like.
Now, for a woman if you’re dating a man you’ve got to get out of the gray area. That gray area is the area where you are most liable because in a relationship the one who has the knowledge has the most power. And a lot of times men have more power because they know what they’re really serious about and the woman does not know.
Lewis: Or he’s thinking about the commitment.
Devon: That’s right and so for a woman to end that situation she’s in a gray area and I encourage her in the book you got to get out of the gray, you got to ask clear direct questions, wait for clear direct answers so that the man that you’re dealing with you get a sense of are you dating someone else? Don’t be afraid to ask the questions, because so often when women come to me for advice their afraid.
Lewis: That’s good, I mean here’s the thing I’ve dated women in the past who, they’re almost so honest in the beginning it’s like you’re so serious. But then there’s other woman that are like really interested. I think the more honest you are in the beginning, but I think the more truthful you can be earlier on the better because you can start to eliminate those people or know exactly where they’re gonna be at.
Devon: You get a better sense of what’s what and I also encourage women I said ‘Listen, I have an observation period.’ Meaning don’t just rush into when you’re dating somebody telling this particular man all of the stuff you want, like you don’t even know if you’re gonna like this person and sometimes it’s like just on, like you said like on that first date they’re like. See if this man is worthy of knowing what you think, see if this man is even worthy of knowing your plans and how you see your future.
Lewis: How do you know if he’s worthy of knowing?
Devon: Because you’re gonna spend time, you’re gonna evaluate and see who he is and this is why, listen I know in this modern world what I’m getting ready to say is uncommon but I don’t care. This is why it’s so important I’d say in this book like I believe it’s important to wait until marriage for sex, but most people aren’t gonna do that. I say in this book at least until you’re on a trusting and committed relationship before you have sex, why? Because when you have sex with someone and you do not know them and you do not trust them it becomes really hard to get clear on who they are and they’re about. So if you don’t trust him enough to give him the code to your phone why would you give him your body? You don’t give a man your body, it gives you a better opportunity to observe and evaluate what does he really want? Is he really interest or is he just interested what my body can give? That’s why I say about an observation period so that you can really see who this man is, what he’s about and really where he’s going and I believe that women have a lot more power in dating than they realize but a lot of times they give it away.
Lewis: So much power.
Devon: But they give it away to men. Hold on to that power evaluate, make decisions even if you want to be in a relationship super bad don’t allow your flesh and desire to then make you so desperate that you lower your standard to the degree that you are allowing men entry into your life that are not qualified.
Lewis: What if the woman just wants to have fun and they’re not looking for a committed relationship either?
Devon: I’m not gonna judge what consenting adults gonna do, at a certain point when she’s doing the same thing and wants a different result it require, same for the man.
Lewis: I might be having fun but I feel soulless inside.
Lewis: Are there any man in Hollywood that you know who’ve been married for a long period of time that are just so happy that they feel zero desire for other women?
Devon: I don’t believe there is any man on this planet in a marriage that has 0 desire for other woman. It’s just a question of managing that desire.
Devon: Totally. There’s a desire here but whatever it is what it is it will pass. But in terms of Hollywood I think that there’s no exception there but I do know men that are married, happy even with all the challenges that they’re on and the temptations that is not, there is not a lot of men that I know that fit that description.
Lewis: And from your point of view you think that these men have been married for 10+ years who’ve been faithful and committed or maybe they maybe had some slipups or whatever. Do you believe that those men are going to be more successful in life than men who are not married or not committed in relationship?
Devon: Here’s what I feel, I feel like going back to that battle between love and lust and love being selfless and I believe as men one of our biggest challenge is we don’t know how to love. This is an area where most men struggle and it’s actually the area no matter how successful in the world or publicly a man maybe without love I do feel that man is deficient, because love is the name of the game love is what this is all about. At the end of the day you can pass onto your children or pass on the next generation money, influence but if you don’t pass on love those children will be deficient. So as a man when I decide I’m not gonna open myself up to love I don’t believe I can ever reach my fullest potential as a human being. So it’s not so much that the institution of marriage makes men better in it of itself, it’s that institution which fosters that love and vulnerability because I believe our vulnerability leads to our victory not the opposite way. And so as men we have to really work against the training that we get which is ‘growing up love makes us weak.’ So most men growing up if we don’t fit the box every man is strong if we don’t fit that box most of the time growing up we’re told “Stop crying.” So the box breaks us, anything that does not contribute to our survival we suppressed. So to me when you have a man that is choosing himself not to open up to love, I would argue because that’s happening because that man is in a deep hurt in his life, that he is not yet willing to process and face and get healing over. I believe we are naturally predispose to love but as man we have to work against the cultural and [?] conditioning in order to do that. And I believe when we do that we are happier, we live longer, we are more peaceful. So I do think of men certainly can adjust to life without a woman, without love but do I think the fullest life is when we can find the right person and walk through life with? I do because I think love is what it is all about.
Lewis: That’s true I do too.
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It’s interesting that you said that men can go through extreme heartbreak and I think, I’m gonna generalize this but I feel like men in general have not learn how to deal with their emotions. And so when an extreme emotional attack is against us it’s like a bomb explodes or it can be horrible for women too, I mean it can be heartbreaking take a year or 2 to like recover. But I feel like in general women are able to express their emotions more with their girlfriends and family members and at least talk about their feelings, whereas men we get heartbroken it could break you physically.
Devon: Because we don’t talk about it, we hold it in. I talked about this in the book anything we suppress we empower, we empower to destroy us.
Devon: Seriously. And that’s one of the reason this book is we got to start talking, we got to start communicating. I got a chapter in this book called create a safe space where we have at least one other person that we can talk to, that we can tell what’s going on and we can do without fear and judgement, because as man I remember my early 20’s and I got my heart broke.
Lewis: It’s like life is over.
Devon: It’s over forget about it I’m done. But then you don’t want to go to anybody and tell them that you know you’re messed up because people are gonna judge you.
Lewis: And suck it up, get back out there.
Devon: And so I talked about in the book it’s important for us to no longer suppress because that suppression it builds that pressure within us and why do feed lust? Because lust then becomes an outlet, lust becomes a relief to the pressure that we’re not acknowledging and the stress we are feeling internally you find a vice. There’s a whole chapter in the book called ‘The one you feed.’ So you know either you are feeding love or you’re feeding lust and vices feed the lust. And so as men think about how much this world design to feed vice, and to feed men vice. And so as men we then have to practice mastery which is the practice of love where we become smarter, we become to realize this world is actually not predispose for me to become as successful as I can be. So, I have to look at things at different, so I have to say “Oh God there are traps set up every day for me to fall onto vice.” If we don’t consistently nurture and feed ourselves virtue that vice, I mean seriously it’s like junk food it’s gonna attack our body and spirit and take us to a place we don’t want to be. No matter how healthy we want to live if we don’t go and put healthy food in our own refrigerator, if we don’t make a decision to eat that way we’re gonna eat whatever is close, and whenever we are impulsive and we eat whatever is close it’s always gonna be the worst thing. So it’s so important to cultivate this lens of identifying “okay here’s where the vice is, here’s the virtue.” And making ourselves consuming as much virtue as we can.
Lewis: How does your wife support you in staying virtuous in your thoughts your action?
Devon: I would say just encouragement you know even her encouragement to write this book. When I first told her she was like ‘Oh, yeah you better do that’ I would read her chapters of the book and passages and she was just completely on board and that really helped me because you know writing this book and being honest, being vulnerable in front of people I never meet and they’re gonna know all the stuff about me that was hard, but her encouragement really did a lot. And then also just that support system of knowing no matter what happens I got somebody who’s there with me, someone that I can come home to and she can come home to me and that in itself is virtuous and that really helps lay a great foundation for feeling comfortable on everything and also becoming everything I’m called to be. You know when home life is settled it really helps feel, there’s a freedom there and so I think both of us really try to give each other enough support and an environment where we both can become who we’re called.
Lewis: When do you feel the most loved?
Devon: So I really feel the most love when I see the support. We’re in this together you know I am not out here fighting this battle by myself, she not out there fighting her battle by herself but we are in it in connected.
Lewis: When do you feel the most hurt?
Devon: I feel the most hurt when I feel like I’m alone you know and I think also all of us struggle with what we can see in our head, what we want to be and sometimes where we are and sometimes a difference between the 2. There’s things, dreams, ideas, thoughts we want to see manifest for our life and when they aren’t yet manifested we’re still reconciling the present that we have that doesn’t really align with our future. So there are moments when I’m like ‘Yo, what am I doing? This is crazy.’ Like there are those moments, but then I get back to a place like I just can’t allow where I want to be to disrupt where I am and to really just take a minute and appreciate. Anytime I get in that headspace discouragement I try to practice just moments of gratitude. Like just practicing those quick moments of gratitude just help me get focus because sometimes when I’m not in that that’s where I feel the most love.
Lewis: So you’ve been married for 7 years, together for 8 or 9 years? There’s always people who say “Gosh, perfect couples online and they always have like perfect videos, amazing together. How can they be perfect they got to have some challenges?” Could you share maybe the biggest challenge you faced while being married?
Devon: I think the biggest challenge of being married you know is you’re taking this 2 individual entities.
Lewis: Different people.
Devon: Different people different thoughts and expectations, different realities and you’re consistently constantly try to merge the 2 into 1 and that is one of the hardest experiences in life. You know even in physics when 2 atoms come together there’s fusion, there’s tension and it’s the same thing when 2 people come together. So in marriage it’s that same thing of consistent negotiation of like ‘okay my thoughts versus sometimes her thoughts and versus our thoughts’ and what’s good for us. So there’s this consistent dialogue in debate and dance around trying to find the sweet spot and I think that’s one of the beauties of marriage is that it’s constantly challenging us to become our best self and to expand who we think we are. Marriage is compromised and ‘okay how do we find the common ground here?’ and also as a man leading in love one of the challenges, sometimes I like I want to say this but you know what. How do I get my attention across in love? And that is hard so I would say one of the hardest things to marriage is just the co-existing.
Lewis: Living together.
Devon: And also is that finding that common ground of the things that she wants to do, the things that I want to do and the things that we didn’t commit to do together. There’s no rulebook on how to do it but this is where the love comes in. I think what you’re seeing even in the midst of the challenges you’re seeing the reality of what’s there, which is these are 2 people that genuinely love each other.
Lewis: Even if you’re going through adversity or just arguing?
Devon: Yeah totally. I think that what you see or anyone that sees us on social media some moments I think what’s coming through is the truth, the truth that love is really there but even in the midst of that love we still cultivate, still co-existing and negotiating and what’s right and what’s not all those things happen all the time.
Devon: But because you know you love and I know I love her and she love me and we are in love, it’s what allowed us the environment to work through so many different things any given day.
Lewis: What’s the thing that you believe you can improve to get to the next level individually for the marriage to thrive even more?
Devon: Yeah you know I think where I can improve, you know I think it’s the area where all men struggle ‘communication.’
Lewis: Really? So you’re this excellent communicator, speaker you know you are the communicator. So if there is a struggle for you what are the rest of the men? We’re screwed you know you’re the best communicator there is, the rest of men have no chance.
Devon: But there’s a difference between communicating publicly and then communicating in person. So the public communication is actually the easier communication.
Lewis: Easy for you to write the books.
Devon: Yeah, I mean it’s not don’t get me wrong there is still difficulties but in terms of the personal communication that’s an area I absolutely want to get better. And what I’m telling you is writing this book really helps a lot, it has helped me tremendously work on that and not being afraid to be honest, not be afraid to speak my truth and not be afraid to say what I’m thinking and doing it in love and it’s been hugely [?] and very liberating because as I was saying when we first, it astonishes me how little we really operate in truth.
Lewis: Or to yourself.
Devon: A lot of times we feel things but we suppress, I don’t want to think about that of myself but guess what any suppress thought does not go away and persist. The only way to get a suppress thought to go away is to acknowledge that it is there. So now that I am acknowledging it I have a question what am I gonna do about it? But if I don’t acknowledge that it is there guess what it’s only gonna get bigger, it’s only gonna get worse. So what I’ve been learning is the more I communicate the more I’m honest and truthful the more I work on those things the better I become as a person, and I think that also lends itself to the marriage and help the marriage.
Lewis: Do you believe that you can over communicate in a relationship?
Devon: Yes without a doubt you can, when I’m making a movie so my new movie is called breakthrough, it’s a true story of a mother who prays her son back to life after he dies falling through a frozen lake. And so whenever I am developing a true story and I sit down with the real person or the family that the movie is based on, I say this very thing “Listen I’m excited to tell your movie, I’m excited to tell it to the world. I just want to be clear on something there’s a difference between the truth and the facts. The facts is for the documentary the truth is for the movie.” So, I’m gonna help develop the script and produce the movie that will tell the truth of your story, but if you want every fact to be told that’s where you can write a book or documentary made, because the movie is trying to articulate the truth. So when it comes to communication I think it’s important to articulate truth but sometimes when you’re dictating every fact that can feel like over communicating. Over communicating can sometimes be communicating so many different facts, and so that’s how I articulate that. I think anybody wants to know the truth but not everybody always want to know every detail of the fact.
Lewis: You’ve been sharing a lot more truth than this and it’s like a lot more with your wife. Recently in the last year this book came out and working on this, is there any truth you have yet to share with yourself personally?
Devon: Sure, I think that that’s a question that’s evolving. I think there’s always truth in us that we aren’t always aware until certain circumstances come up and you’re like “Oh, wait a minute I didn’t know that was there, I didn’t know that feeling was there.” So in this moment I feel pretty resolved around my truth, however I don’t let that produce an arrogance. And I realized that there’s some in me that I wasn’t even aware of, there’s got to be stuff I got to be honest about. So I say with an [?] that in this moment I’m owning my truth but I have to be in touch with sensitive with each moment, because I think as often especially in the public eye degree, you know there’s a tendency to want to portray we have it all together or portray that we have it all figured out. And that’s one of the reasons why I wrote this book is to dispel that, I don’t have it figured out. I worked on it every day, I struggle between love and lust and I do my best to become the man I really want to be and lead in love, and that’s a struggle at times, it’s a challenge at times but I’m committed to the work because the work is fulfilling. But I wanted to in this book really close the distance between a persona and a person, because lot of times when we are trying to portray this image it gets exhausting, because the persona isn’t who really the person is. So with this book so let me bridge the gap ‘here’s where I am as a person, here’s who people think of me as a persona and here’s the reality.’ So that there’s not a distance between the two as much as humanly possible and as part of walking that journey, I think we all have to be open to certain things we have gone through in life, there are certain things that are still buried in our subconscious that we aren’t even aware. There’s pain, trauma, there’s tragedy we all have gone through and we can compartmentalize some things and pack some things away and we do our best to operate with the consciousness that we have, but at any given moment something can trigger us and we’re like “I didn’t know I was harboring that pain from my mother or dad.” So answer your question, again with an [?] say “Hey, I feel good about the truth I’m owning now but I’m just sensitive enough to know there’s other stuff in me that only overtime will reveal the areas I still have to work on.”
Lewis: You mentioned trauma what’s the biggest trauma you have in your life that has taking you the longest to heal but also define who you are in a positive way at the same time? Like it’s driven you to be the man that you are in a positive way but also driven you to darkness and longest to heal.
Devon: I would say it’s the loss of my father.
Lewis: You were young when that happened right?
Devon: Yeah, I was 9 years old and you know that was the most, it was just traumatic. I remember my mother you know walking me and my brothers into the morgue at the hospital and there was my dad.
Lewis: You saw him in the morgue?
Devon: She ask us to kiss him goodbye.
Lewis: No way?
Devon: I was 9, my older brother was 12 and my younger was 6 years old and she says “Go kiss your father goodbye.” I would never forget kissing his forehead and it was the coldest, you don’t know cold until you experienced that with someone that passed away. And it wasn’t at that moment traumatic it was the realization that he’s gone, he’s not coming back. This is not like maybe things will turn around and it’s over, so you know make your peace with this because this is not gonna change. So that trauma for me I think is driven me, driven me in many different ways some positive some negative. On the negative side I think what it has done is like, it’s always put me on a path you know I got to prove something, I got to show that either I’m not him and in that he was a great man but he has his flaws. And so sometimes I’m driven to like prove that I am not him and also prove something that I’m gonna make something of my life, and sometimes when that becomes your driving driver you operate in lust, you know because lust is more than just sex to woman. Lust can be power, thing and can be success. And so sometimes I found myself to be driven those things to prove myself to an imaginary person. But I think losing my dad and that trauma really put me kind of teenage years a rebel and reverse. I wasn’t rebelling in a way where I was out drinking at a party, I was rebelling through achievement and trying to find my value in achievement. And what I discovered is that anytime as a man or a woman when we have an internal hole, a pain, a trauma and we are trying to find to heal it it doesn’t work. So, anytime I have this internal pain I’m trying to find my value in how I do and what I do and all the achievements. It doesn’t satisfy because on the inside that still says ‘you’re not good enough’
Lewis: So how do you heal internally?
Devon: By being honest, by accepting. You know I don’t feel good enough, why don’t I feel good enough? And because I don’t feel good enough what are the negative things that’s causing me to do? And so once you are aware you know and even for me like saying ‘shoot’ where does that come from? That comes from because a lot of it is because of the death of my father. How just I began to process that and heal from that? And so some of the positive things have come through this, through like saying ‘I don’t always feel good enough but I’m doing things that actually contributes.’ So, me accepting the feeling is there then I can say ‘okay what are the facts based upon my feelings?’ Sometimes our feelings actually based on facts so my feelings, my facts are saying well you are good enough. So even now we were talking before the cameras started rolling and I was in the bay area this weekend and the message that I taught on, I was talking from going from discouragement to determination. And so I was encouraging people to get determined, determine to go after don’t stay in a season of discouragement, whatever you hoped didn’t happen acknowledge that it didn’t happen but use that to fuel what you’re going to do. And so I was talking about this book coming out and not getting into NYT best-selling list and I was discouraged and then I had to ask myself a question why? And a lot of it was how will I find my value?
Devon: What more prestigious achievement is there as an author right? I was challenge again going back to the wound. And so I was challenge, I was discourage I didn’t get the list even though I had you know the sales and the media and didn’t make the list, I was discourage. I had a decision to make am I gonna be determine to just do what I was called to do and not worry about the list but focus on the person? And literally what begin to happen is as I transition discouragement to determination and no longer putting my value in a list which, I mean what does it even matter? At the end of the day here’s the content touching people. When I began to change my focus I began to realize we’re good, I mean people come up to me, woman would come to me and I’m getting information. There was one time I was in Chicago I’m sitting down and one of the stewardess, one of the FA she walks right by me and said “I got your book can you sign it for me?” So what it did was it just reinforced, let me stop trying to do to prove my value. Let me just own who I am, share what I know, and find the value in that. And that is while I consistently worked on still healing on the wound and the trauma of losing my father because I still veer towards wanting to do vs wanting to be.
Lewis: Where do you think you’d be if he was still alive?
Devon: That’s a good question, I have no idea. Sometimes I think about that you know and it’s like I think I wouldn’t be where I am, I might be more [?] because having that father figure and having that support is like everything. You know I mean it’s like not having a father is a really deep wound that I don’t think anyone who has a father ever gets over that, for whatever reason you don’t have a father in your life. So, I think if he was here I’d probably be where I am like I said I’d be more whole and it’d be awesome to share this experience as well.
Lewis: Do you not feel whole right now?
Devon: No, I don’t think I can feel as whole if I had.
Devon: No, because there’s nobody I can look to above me that’s a man that I came from that can tell me about who I am. Yes my mother, my grandmother when she was alive, and my aunts, and my family do a great job but there’s no experience that can replace sitting across from somebody that is your father or if you’re a woman your mother. You know if you lose a parent man there’s nothing that can replace that as a young man trying to figure out manhood in the world and doing that without your father that’s a very challenging proposition which I do think for me it doesn’t mean that I don’t practice wholeness, doesn’t mean that I don’t practice healing, it just means that I’m recognizing there’s still a brokenness in me relative to losing him.
Lewis: What should women know about dating a man who’s lost his father?
Devon: I would say a woman dating a man who’s lost his father I talked about this in the book. That it’s important to know, to go beneath the surface and here’s what I mean by that. If you’re dealing with a man in that situation or some men in some situation go beyond how you are doing, because so often when you have a wound the thing that you try to do is hide it. I don’t want the person that I’m with to know that I am in as much pain as I am, so I want to present an image that I got it all together. So, I would encourage anyone to go beyond how are you doing, ask that man what’s worrying you right now? What are you afraid of right now? When you start asking those questions then you start to get to the heart of the matter and what begins to happen is that man starts to feel more connected to you than he might any other woman, because most women are not asking any of those questions.
Lewis: I want to ask you a few more questions what’s the process if you could do these things every single day in your marriage or a relationship to continue to make it thriving and growing, what would be the few things every day that would be non-negotiable for you? What are those things that you’re thinking people do these things every single day in a relationship?
Devon: I think first and foremost start the day in love and really all that means is, like let’s just say if you’re dating let’s say you’re not living together. Communicate your love and appreciation to that person when you start the day. Just something simple where you can communicate, something where you are communicating your desire for their well-being.
Devon: Because it’s like they got my back, they’re thinking about me in a way that it goes beyond anything has ever done. So just something that small in the morning, start the day letting that person know how much you love and appreciate.
Lewis: I like that.
Devon: Or let’s say you’re married or living with somebody you can do the same way. Just that little bit of consideration it sets the tone for the day because sometimes in a marriage or a relationship things get so busy that the other person, no matter how supportive they may be can start to feel like they’re not a priority and they don’t matter as much and that happens on both sides. And so just those little things to communicate and doing that as a level set I think is awesome. I think also it’s more than just checking in through the day.
Sometimes this is my experience, people come to me for help in this area and the only thing they’re interested in is what their partner can provide to them.
Lewis: What they can get out of the relationship?
Devon: Yes. Not always interested in needing what their partner does and what’s going on. I believe, I think success is in the opposite and everyone has their philosophy on this. But I think be aware enough of what that person is going on their profession, what’s going on in their life so that you can even ask questions. When you start to have separate lives, we all have separate lives that’s important to maintain individuality even in collective sense. But when you start to have separate life and your partner really has no idea what’s going on in it, this is when your relationship liable for somebody to step out. So during the day it’s okay to say ‘How that meeting go?’ so that way both of you are invested on what each person is doing. These are small little tips and tools, it’s like somebody told me you know I’m not a captain of the ship I know nothing about it but somebody told me that if a ship is 1 degree off from where it ultimately wants to be, by the time it gets where it’s supposed to be it becomes way off. Every great relationship that ultimately does not work, every great marriage that ultimately falls apart I believe it starts with the one degree it’s the one small thing that you don’t look at every day, then overtime becomes so massive you can’t bridge the gap. So that’s what I would discourage anybody that’s in a relationship, just practice on the small things.
Lewis: What about a woman who’s dating a man who knows can be a great man in a relationship but maybe they’re living in fear, they’re not fully sharing the truth, they’re doing things that are a little out of place. Is there anything a woman can to call that man forth to be more of a man or is it have to be the man’s decision to say okay I’m ready to step up?
Devon: This is good I talked about this in the book. So I used the anecdote to articulate the answer to this question which is, so there was a great preacher that said “In every man there’s a king and a fool”
Lewis: Terry Crews talked about this on my show.
Devon: This is a quick anecdote. This preacher said that his wife whenever he would act a fool she would talked to the king and he said “What that did was it helped him put aside his foolish ways” because she would talk to the king in him, she would bring the king out of him. So, in my book I talked about love represents the mask right, so in every man there is that monster and so in a dating sense the woman is dating a man and she knows that there is great potential or power there, I do think it’s important to help cultivate that love in him, to help call that master out. However, here’s what so important so to answer your question, if that man is not open to doing his work there’s nothing that woman can do. A woman cannot do a man’s work for him, as a man I have to commit to doing my work. And when I have a woman in my life that I involve in the process then I allow her to even speak to master in me to bring that master out, to bring that love out. But some men are like saying ‘hey I don’t want to become better.’ So in this situation do what is so important and this is where one of the reason why I want to write this book so women can have information and take the power back in a relationship. When you’re dealing with a man and this book will give you tips and tools to what kind of man you are dealing with. When you’re dealing with a man who is not willing to do his work, who is not willing to leave in love or operate in love or not open to bring love out of him, the biggest thing you can do is leave because the pain of you absence is the only thing that can convince him to change. And sometimes when you’re a man and the woman is with you walking with you, sometimes men take that for granted.
Lewis: And that’s taking woman to be called to their own self-worth and acceptance of being alone potentially and being okay being alone and not having that partner.
Devon: Right, because here’s the reality to me it’s like I don’t believe you have to choose between love and being respected. And so often I think the culture wants women to feel that decision, well at least I have a man in my life, no I’m not valued as much as I like but I still have that companionship. I’d rather you be alone and single and be whole than to be in a situation where you feel like you can never be all you want to be just because you want the companionship. For men that matters versus sometimes you dating and you know the woman is kind of compromise it’s not the best situation.
Lewis: That’s powerful man I have you come back soon and talk about relationships. This question is called the 3 truths, so I think I asked this to you the last time we’ll see if that changed. So, imagine you’ve achieved everything you want in your life for the next hundred years, you’re around for as long as you want, but then one day you got to leave. You’ve created all the books and movies and you’ve done everything you can imagine any dream has come true. But for whatever reason you got to take all your work with you and you go, so your message isn’t in the world physically anymore but you get to write down on a piece of paper 3 things you know to be true about your entire life experience. So it’s 3 things that you know to be true that you would share with the world what would you say are your 3 truths?
Devon: I would say love will, love works and love wins that’s what I would say. Love will always find a way. Love absolutely works and at the end of the day love will win.
Lewis: Powerful. We can get your book online right now in book stores, make sure you guys get this book ‘the truth about men: what men and women need to know.’ Make sure to share this episode out and let him know what you enjoyed most about this interview.
Before I ask the final question I want to acknowledge you Devon for again, just constantly doing the work. I love that you said that you shared your truth but you continue to be humble with an [?] and say “You know what there might be more in myself that I uncover later today, next week or in a year that I haven’t been truthful about.” So you continue to do the work that you’re honest about your relationship but not being perfect on social media all the time. You’ve created a safe space for that relationship I acknowledge you for constantly producing inspiring work. I feel that you’re in an industry that people get caught up with the wrong things and you continue to create meaningful work, your movies around ideas inspire the world and for me that’s living in truth and the work you do and the relationship and the man that you are, so I acknowledge you for them.
Devon: Appreciate it man.
Lewis: Final question, what’s your definition of greatness?
Devon: What’s my definition of greatness? I really think greatness is mostly found in humility, I think that the greatest people I know are the most humble. They’re not the strongest, they’re not the richest and dominant they are the most humble and that humility when I’ve been around them is like you’re great, because you don’t have to be humble. But when I’m in the presence of greatness I’m absolutely in the presence of humility.
Lewis: Thanks man.
Devon: Thank you.
Lewis: There you have it my friends I hope you enjoyed this episode Devon Franklin is the man. Spread the message of greatness if you want to help someone who might be struggling or just continue to inspire the friends in your life then send them this link lewishowes.com/769 or you can just take the link from your podcast app or wherever you’re listening to this right now.
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You are an amazing human being, you have so much love inside of your heart. And James Baldwin said “Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” And Leo Buscaglia said “What love we’ve given, we’ll have forever. What love we fail to give, will be lost for all eternity.” Stop holding back the love in your heart for friends and family and people around you. Start giving it away more and more every single day and watch your life unfold in a beautiful way. I love you so very much and you know what time it is, it’s time to go out there and do something great.