It’s a simple truth: We can’t survive without relationships.
Whether you’re an extrovert or the most introverted introvert this world has ever seen, everyone needs human connection on some level. Relationships are easily one of the best and most important things in our lives. They support us, help us grow, and give us so much joy and purpose.
On the other hand, toxic relationships do the opposite. They use us, wear us out, and steal our happiness.
Every serious relationship will go through a rough patch at some point. Right now, COVID-19 has kept us all in our homes, and we’re unable to connect with our friends in person. Maybe you’re spending time with family right now, and things are getting a little tense, just because you’re around each other 24/7. Or maybe, you’re single, and you’ve never felt more alone in a time like this.
Even the healthiest relationships can suffer due to circumstances like these. Maybe you and your partner have always been “relationship goals,” but now you feel like it’s time to throw in the towel. Maybe you are spending so much time together that each of you are starving for some personal space. Or maybe, you haven’t gotten to spend time with your significant other because of social distancing. FaceTime is great, but we all know that it’s not the same.
Thankfully, I’ve got just the person today to give us some advice on cultivating healthy relationships and finding peace during these difficult times. I’m so excited to share with you my interview with DeVon Franklin! DeVon is an expert at traversing relationships, and today he’s sharing essential advice and tips for navigating relationships during 2020 that you don’t want to miss!
DeVon Franklin is an award-winning film and TV producer, New York Times best-selling author, international speaker, preacher, and spiritual success coach. He serves as the President and CEO of Franklin Entertainment. DeVon is best known for his films Miracles from Heaven, Heaven Is for Real, and his New York Times best-selling book, The Wait, which he co-wrote with his wife, Meagan Good.
With a commitment to uplifting the masses through entertainment, DeVon has quickly become a force in the media as well as a leading authority on faith, spiritual wellness, and personal development. DeVon is committed to using media, whether it’s entertainment or social platforms, for good instead of bad.
I’ve had DeVon on The School of Greatness twice before, and even though we weren’t able to meet in person for this one, he brought the same energy, the same light, and the same hope as he always does. To watch our past interviews together, visit Episode 769 and Episode 409 to learn more about healthy relationships and spirituality.
Some of us are spending more time with families and partners. Others of us are isolated and unable to connect with friends in person. Whatever your situation, DeVon has great advice on how to connect, how to communicate, and how to have healthy relationships during this tough time. You’re going to learn so much from DeVon, so let’s get started!
The year 2020 has brought stressful challenges to people’s everyday lives, and often our stress can impact our relationships. DeVon gave excellent advice for navigating your relationship that is especially helpful if you’re quarantining with your partner:
“Setting expectations about what is supposed to be expected every day for the relationship is important.” – DeVon Franklin
Explicitly establishing expectations is crucial for cultivating a positive relationship. This is especially true now more than ever because you may be spending more time with your partner than you ever have before.
DeVon stressed that it’s especially important to communicate how you expect to spend your days during the quarantine. One partner might view the quarantine as a vacation from work and want to spend a great deal of quality time with their significant other while the other partner may view the quarantine as an opportunity to work more. Establishing expectations for your day-to-day life with your partner will help you avoid conflict. What expectations do you and your partner need to vocalize? Maybe it involves expectations around your time, money, or sex life. Here’s the bottom line: Good communication is vital for every relationship.
DeVon also advised that people focus on having individual time for themselves away from their partner so that they can recharge:
“Each person still needs individual time. Even if that’s time to go walk around the block. … If I spend every single moment of every single day with my wife or vice versa, I don’t know that I’m going to be bringing to her my best.” – DeVon Franklin
DeVon raises a critical point that people often miss. You can’t spend every waking moment with your partner. You need to grow individually apart from your partner to bring them your best self. I asked DeVon what ratio of time he thinks that individuals should spend with and without their partners. He gave an incredibly enlightening answer:
“I don’t look at [the ratio of time you spend with your partner] as an actual calculation because every relationship is different. Some could be 10% together [and] 90% apart, and it works. … I believe that when we have the most productive relationship, it’s because we each take ownership of making sure that we’re doing the things to keep us happy and keep us full. … If you are dependent on your significant other for your happiness, this issue of time is going to be a major fight in your relationship.” – DeVon Franklin
If you focus on your fulfillment and happiness independent of your partner, you can continue growing with them even if you’re unable to spend as much time together. DeVon lived across the country from his wife because of their jobs, but because they were happy and fulfilled as individuals, they were able to continue cultivating a positive relationship even though they couldn’t spend time together on a daily basis.
Your significant other can bring out more happiness and growth in you, but it’s essential that you don’t let your happiness and fulfillment be rooted in your partner.
“When you are with the person [that you love], they absolutely can enhance your happiness and enhance your growth. … [But] anytime someone says [you make me happy], they outsource their own personal responsibility to someone else. So then if we wonder why we aren’t happy, it’s because our emotions go up and down because we’ve given someone else control … [of] when we’re happy and when we’re not happy.” – DeVon Franklin
Your partner can bring out more happiness and growth in you, but it’s also essential to take responsibility for your emotions and fulfillment. Have you ever heard the phrase, “you make me so happy,” or, “you complete me”? You shouldn’t let someone else have control of your happiness and fulfillment, even if it’s your spouse. You need to take responsibility for your own emotions and fulfillment, and then you and your partner can establish a solid relationship that isn’t based on dependence on one another.
DeVon often uses the phrase “peace over panic.” Finding peace and avoiding panic during difficult moments like the COVID-19 pandemic can be incredibly challenging. I asked DeVon how we can find peace during this tough time, and he gave an inspiring and practical answer:
“I believe … we have the most of [peace] when we have come into a revelation of what we can control and we are willing to submit to what we can’t.” – DeVon Franklin
Peace comes from focusing on what you can control rather than what you can’t. We can’t control the global pandemic or the resulting unemployment, but we can find peace by focusing on how we can traverse through the current crisis. It’s easy to get swept up and feel anxious from the news and social media, but focusing on things that are out of your control will not benefit you.
“When we get into worry mode, I don’t know the benefit of being in that emotion. … How much time we spend worrying and what do we have to show for it? … No matter how dire the situation, when we get into panic mode, we end up obsessing over elements that are out of our control.” – DeVon Franklin
Obsessing over things that are out of your control will not serve you. The amount of time you put in panicking about the things that you can’t control is time wasted that you could have spent on things that you can control. This doesn’t mean living in denial about current events, but we should focus on what we can control rather than stay in panic mode over the situation.
“I don’t mean to be in denial about the panic. I don’t want anybody to be in denial about how they feel. … So then how do you get peace over panic? Peace is saying, ‘Let me become incredibly committed to working within my control. So what can I control right now?'” – DeVon Franklin
Acknowledge how you’re feeling during difficult moments, but then move on and focus on what you can control. Maybe you’re worried because you lost your job. You might panic initially, but then you can focus on what you can control. You can work on perfecting your resume, and you can network and inquire about job opportunities.
Maybe you’re worried about you or your loved ones getting sick from COVID-19. It’s definitely natural to feel concerned, but instead of obsessing, act on what you can control rather than focus on what you can’t. You can’t stop the virus, but you can focus on social distancing and keeping you and your family informed about staying healthy.
Finding peace by focusing on what you can control also applies to your relationships during this time. You and your partner can’t control the quarantine restrictions, but you can focus on using this time to grow in your relationship.
“I think the way you choose peace is that you gotta know that if you’re in this pandemic and you’re in it with your significant other, I believe it starts in the mind. You’ve got to believe, ‘This is going to bring us closer. It’s not going to break us apart.’… I think it’s about looking at it and saying, ‘Okay, this is an opportunity to grow. This is an opportunity to communicate better.'” – DeVon Franklin
Don’t stay in panic mode with your partner — find peace by focusing on how you can use this situation to improve your communication and grow closer together.
What can you be focusing on today to shift from panic to peace? Does it involve your relationship, family, health, work, or finances? Focus on what you can control during difficult moments of your life, and you’ll start to find peace.
This period of social distancing and isolation may seem daunting to single people, but you can actually use it as an opportunity to start a long-lasting relationship. Even though people are social distancing, you still have the chance to talk to people remotely and cultivate strong relationships. DeVon views this period of social distancing as a great opportunity to date because it’s keeping people from having sex.
“I believe that in order to know who somebody is, you should wait as long as possible [to have sex] because a lot of times sex is what is destroying your dating life. … Anyone can turn somebody upside down in the bedroom. And then they think, ‘Oh my goodness.’ That’s not love. That’s infatuation.” – DeVon Franklin
People often fail to truly know the person they’re dating because their emotions are rooted in physical intimacy rather than emotional intimacy. Because of this pandemic, single people now have the opportunity to create emotional depth with someone apart from sex.
“Now, these barriers are set up for those that are single to practice delayed gratification. … They’re forced to wait. … Because when you’re forced to go deep with somebody, then you understand what’s there. Like if you had sex [in the] first couple of dates, you’re not really worried about going deep.” – DeVon Franklin
Social distancing now enables you to know someone deeply before becoming physically intimate with them. The meaningful conversations you can have may otherwise not happen if you’re focusing more on physical intimacy. DeVon observed that this is especially important because communication is the primary key to a great relationship.
“I think this pandemic … will give those that are single more time to evaluate [and] more time to talk and discuss because … communication is the number one thing to me to evaluate if this person is meant for you or not. … If you all can not communicate and your conversation is not good, I believe that relationship is not going to be a strong long term.” – DeVon Franklin
You may have physical chemistry with someone, but your relationship won’t last long if you’re not good at communicating with them. Have you ever become head over heels for someone after becoming physically involved but later found that they weren’t right for you? Physical intimacy can easily trick us into thinking that we have a connection with someone. Having deep conversations and developing good communication is the key to establishing a long-lasting relationship.
Guys, DeVon Franklin, and I covered so many topics involving relationships that you’re going to want to hear. Check out the full episode, and don’t forget to share it with someone else who will benefit from it.
If you want to learn even more from DeVon, check out his Mentor Mail, where he sends out weekly messages of inspiration!
DeVon gave so much helpful relationship and personal advice, but I want to share one more insight that he gave that may change your life. I asked him what he would say to everyone who is currently in a painful relationship, and he gave such an inspiring answer:
“I would share that you gotta find one good praise to help you navigate your pain. … You got to find one thing that you are thankful for. … When we choose that praise in the midst of our pain, you would be surprised at how it helps someone in that situation navigate the very pain that seems like it’s going to destroy them. … When we choose gratitude, it’s really hard to be disgruntled. … [Say,] I’m so glad this virus hit because it revealed who I was actually living with. … So as much pain as the revelation gave me, I got that praise.'” – DeVon Franklin
Even in our most painful moments, we can find something to be grateful for and get through the challenging periods of our lives. I know that this year has probably been hard for you, but you will get through it, and you can practice gratitude along the way!
Friends, join me on Episode 940 to learn all about creating and growing relationships with DeVon Franklin! It will change your life and help you cultivate better relationships during this period of isolation!