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

If there is one artist who has had a very successful and eventful year so far it’s Mary J. Blige. The “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul” shut down the 2022 Super Bowl Half-time show along with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and Eminem, she also performed at NBA All-Star weekend and now she is being honored as one of Time's most influential people of 2022.

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

These days it seems that we’re all trying to heal from childhood wounds, and though I’m a big advocate for cutting people off – family included – I’ve come to learn how challenging that actually is. But also, it’s not always necessary if you have a parent who is open and committed to doing the healing work along with you, a mother, for example, who is receptive to her truth. But this also means you are receptive to the reality that parents are humans who often take cake crumbs from their parents and so on. It’s not to say that you have to accept piss-poor treatment because they’re human, but if any of us are going to embark upon a healing journey, we must acknowledge even the difficult truths.

Keep reading...Show less

Queen Latifah is saying no to unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles especially when it comes to her career. Since the beginning, the rapper/actress has always been a body-positive role model thanks to the range of characters she has played over the years that shows that size doesn’t matter. In an interview with PEOPLE, The Equalizer star opened up about taking on roles that don't compromise her health.

Keep reading...Show less

When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by Getty Images

Jamie Foxx and his daughter Corinne Foxx are one of Hollywood’s best father-daughter duos. They’ve teamed up together on several projects including Foxx’s game show Beat Shazam where they both serve as executive producers and often frequent red carpets together. Corinne even followed in her father’s footsteps by taking his professional last name and venturing into acting starring in 47 Meters Down: Uncaged and Live in Front of a Studio Audience: All in the Family and Good Times as Thelma.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts