Quantcast

2020 Has Taken Its Toll. Don't Let It Ruin Your Relationship.

2020 tried to destroy us. Don't let it cause you to lose your relationship, sis.

Love & Relationships

Let's all take a moment to process just how long 2020 has been. Kobe died in 2020. Breonna Taylor was murdered in 2020. This pandemic put us in lockdown in 2020. Those three things alone feel like they happened at least five years ago. And shoot, that's not even touching on all of the personal challenges that I'm pretty sure all of us have experienced as well. Yeah, if ever a year tried it—and I do mean, tried it—2020 was the one. And yet, as we're just weeks away from 2021—which includes giving the crazy racist tyrant known as Donald John Trump the boot—I feel like we all can reference, what I still consider to be an Oscar-worthy performance by Derek Luke, when he played Antwone Fisher. Remember when he looked that no-good Mrs. Tate in the eyes and said, "I'm still standing. I'm still strong"? Take a bow, sis. You can concur. Hopefully, your relationship has been able to too.

If you're like "Yes, yet it feels like my relationship is hanging on by a thread", you're the one I had in mind when I decided to write this. Anyone who has been in something real, they know that even when life is good, keeping their relationship healthy and thriving can sometimes be a challenge. Oh, but when a colossal s—tshow like this year rolls around, it can really be hard to not want to just throw your hands up, say "I quit" and call it a wrap. Not so much because the feelings for your partner have changed or even that you are unhappy with your relationship; at least for the most part. It's just that, when stress and pressure are at their peak, it can be difficult to find the effort and energy to keep it all going.

King Solomon once said, "There is a time and season for everything." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) An ancient Jewish folktale is credited for the popular saying, "this too shall pass". And you know what? Both statements are absolutely true. 2020 is on its way out (hallelujah!) and if you value your romantic situation, I want to provide you with just a few hacks that can help the two of you to make it to the other side—relationship fully intact.

Separate Your Stressors

media.giphy.com

Wanna know a clear sign that you're rocking big girl panties on the regular? It's when you know how to compartmentalize your stress. What I mean by that is you learn to separate, say, work stress from home stress, so that you don't walk into the house, screaming at your partner, not because they did anything wrong but because you've been suppressing how much your coworker pisses you off.

2020 was full of bad news, financial challenges, disappointments, messy people and negativity. I don't know about you, but there were actually some days when I thought I was gonna lose my mind because the hits just kept on coming. Sometimes, in order to regroup, I had to get really quiet and recenter myself, so that I didn't take my had-it-up-to-here-energy out on someone who truly didn't deserve it; not only didn't deserve it but someone who I needed to learn on for encouragement and support.

It's hard to make any kind of wise or emotionally mature decisions when you're under stress. So, in order to preserve your relationship—pray, meditate, journal, take a walk around the block…process what is stressing you out and why. If it has nothing to do with your relationship, don't punish your partner. If it does, share with them your feelings with the mindset of wanting to find a solution to the issue.

I'm telling you—being intentional about removing stress out of your way helps you to have a totally different perspective on things. This includes your relationship. It really does.

Stop Doom Scrolling (and Doom Talking)

media.giphy.com

There's a Scripture in the Bible that says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21—NKJV) What it basically means is the words that you speak can produce life—or death. And y'all, whenever I do tiptoe into social media to see what folks are talking about, 6 out of every 10 posts seem to be about drama, death and/or doom. I can't tell you how many times I've read something along the lines of, "This year is gonna be the death of us and 2021 is going to be even worse."

Listen, it's one thing to be realistic; it's another thing to constantly dwell on negativity. And if you do that too much, it very easily can spill over into your relationship. For instance, if all you do is sit on Twitter and read about people complaining about how worthless men are (I really wish more Black women would remove themselves from that rhetoric; at the end of the day, it profits us and our community nothing), it can be very easy to nitpick at your own partner, even when he hasn't really done anything wrong.

In fact, there are plenty of studies to support the fact that surrounding yourself with constant negativity can affect/infect your thoughts and even your ability to reason well. Not only that but negativity can do a real number on your immune system too. So, for the sake of your relationship and your overall health and well-being, set social media engagement hours, watch how much news you check out and set boundaries with the negative people in your world. 2020 is challenging enough without dwelling on things that will make your life worse, not better.

Remember Why You’re with Him

media.giphy.com

A wise person once said, "Before you quit, remember why you started." Something that truly self-aware and emotionally mature individuals can vouch for is the fact that, if you're actually paying attention, relationships tend to teach you more about yourself than anything—your strengths, weaknesses, areas where you could stand to grow and what you truly need and want (yes, in that order) in life. Sometimes, the life lessons can be so challenging that you can be tempted to dip out of your relationship; not because you no longer care about the person or even because the relationship doesn't have far more good times than not-so-good ones. It's just that, in the midst of the day-to-day that requires to keep a relationship afloat, you can start to feel like it might be better if you were alone; especially when there are so many other things to "try you"…like this year did.

If this is what you can personally relate to, my two cents are to pull out your journal and write down all of the reasons why you got involved with your partner in the first place. What do you love about him? What do you like about him? What do you respect and admire about him? In what ways does he make you better? What do you adore that he brings out of you?

If you let 2020 be too much of your focus, all of the financial stress, work demands, family pressures and whatever else was thrown at you can make you basically downplay the fact that you've got some awesome things that are happening in your world too. Once you finish that list, you might realize that your man and your relationship are easily in the top three.

Reflect on How the Support Actually Helped You Out

media.giphy.com

I once read an article that said an epidemic that has been happening in the midst of this pandemic is loneliness. A study that NPR conducted said that three out of five people in January of this year felt lonely—and y'all, that was before quarantining hit! One of my favorite Scriptures is found in Ephesians 4:9-11(NKJV). It says, "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone?"

No relationship is perfect. That's because no two individuals are. Yet when you know that you know that you know that you've got someone who has your back, no matter what, it can make going through life so much easier. So, take a moment to really ponder the times when your partner has been a safe place to share secrets or even vent to. Reflect on the moments when you needed a kiss, hug or pep talk and they provided it. When did you need help or a favor and they came through for you?

Support is something that, unfortunately, a lot of people didn't have much of this year. If out of all that you had to endure, that is one thing that you can't relate to, count yourself mighty blessed. A healthy relationship in the midst of trials and tribulations is a true gift indeed.

Put More of a Spiritual Focus on Your Relationship

media.giphy.com

This past spring, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, "7 Signs You're Spiritually Compatible With Someone". In many ways, it's a complement to the piece, "Here's Exactly How To Start Protecting Your Spirit" because, while a lot of folks automatically associate "spirit" with "religion", spirit is actually about maintaining the quality of your life overall.

If you get nothing else out of this piece, please hold onto the fact that, when it comes to a lot of the married couples that I work with, a core reason why they struggle is because, not only do they not strive to uplift each other's spirit, they actually play a direct role in breaking it. Nagging. Berating. Always looking at the relationship from a "glass half empty" perspective. Never really having an affirming word to say. Or, they're out here making time for any and everything but one another which conveys to their partner that they're actually not a top priority (when they absolutely should be).

Even if money is super tight, putting forth the effort to breathe new life into your relationship—spending time with your partner, encouraging them, finding new ways to connect, admitting when you're wrong while striving to make things right, remembering to bring the Most High into the equation—is free of charge. And a relationship that has a strong spiritual foundation is one that can withstand, just about anything.

Make Plans for the Future

media.giphy.com

Just a few days away. Y'all, we are literally only a few days out of 2020 and into a whole new year—and decade. Instead of focusing so much on how much this year has (possibly) been pure trash, set aside a day where you and yours can turn on some of your favorite music, sip on a bottle of wine and discuss what you want your next few months (or couple of years) to look like. Planning for the future is a great form of positive thinking because it helps you to remember that putting good thoughts and intentions into what lies ahead can be super empowering—very comforting too. If you'd like to put a couple's vision board together, there are several 2021 vision board apps for you to choose from here.

I'm pretty sure you're aware of what self-sabotage is. Well, one way that many people do it is by allowing negativity to cause them to make in-the-moment decisions that are based on emotion more than reason and logic. Please don't let 2020 cause you to do that to your relationship. Again, we're just steps away from all of what this year brought our way. When it comes to your partner, as I once heard a character from one of my favorite television shows once say, "Lean. Don't push." When it comes to maintaining your relationship, those are awesome words to live by.

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

Featured image by Unsplash

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

The OWN Network returns with its highly anticipated Will Packer-produced relationship series, Put A Ring On It for Season 2. Life and relationship master coach, Dr. Nicole LaBeach will follow three couples as they navigate their way to the altar. Along their journey, love and trust between each partner, will be tested as they witness their significant others date complete strangers.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Summer is here and I'm excited to have finally returned to living in some sense of normalcy. Now that we've fully resumed our everyday lives, there's so many places to be this summer which means so many looks to come up with. With such a joyous occasion as outside being fully open, my excitement fades when facing the reality of also having absolutely nothing fun to wear. As we reunite with the world, I want my outfits to match my energy with each look giving everything it's supposed to give.

Keep reading... Show less

Black Woman Owned is a limited series highlighting black woman business owners who are change-makers and risk-takers in their respective realms. As founders, these women dare to be bold, have courage in being the change they wish to see in the world, and are unapologetic when it comes to their vision. These black women aren't waiting for a seat, they are owning the table.

In this life, there's work that we choose to pursue and work that chooses us. For Yasmine Jameelah, founder of Transparent Black Girl, this work was brought on by pain, growth, and healing that empowered her to take wellness into her own hands.

Keep reading... Show less

Born between February 19th and March 20th, this mutable Water sign embodies a free-flowing nature that is typically easy to get along with. Their heightened levels of sensitivity equip them to read the room. Sometimes this works to their advantage while, at other times, their ability to feel into the unseen can be extremely taxing. As one of the most empathic zodiac signs, Pisces has a tendency to absorb the emotions of others. If they're not clear in their own boundaries, they can quickly find themselves lost in the distress of other people.

Keep reading... Show less

It's hard to believe all that we have endured the past year and a half. Between mask mandates and shutdowns, we have been cooped up in the house longer than we would have ever expected. And while our bodies have experienced change, so has our skin. "Quaranskin" is a whole thing – how our skin has been impacted during the quarantine. You may have been looking in the mirror wondering what's different and how can I get my old glow back? Two words: face mask.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Michelle Williams On Depression, Healing & Why It’s Important To Check In With Yourself

"Now, the only label I've got that matters is God's: God's creation. God's work. God's child."

Latest Posts