Khadeen and Devale Ellis Say There Is Power in Being of Service

In honor of their new book, "We Over Me," the Ellises share their counterintuitive approach to getting everything they need out of their marriage.

Khadeen and Devale Ellis, millennial parents to four boys, have come to understand that being of service to one another is the glue that holds their marriage and household together. In their new book, We Over Me: The Counterintuitive Approach to Getting Everything You Want From Your Relationship, the pair shares their journey.

Khadeen is a TV host and actress and Devale is a former NFL player turned actor who is known for Tyler Perry’s “Sistas.” They're also both known for their award-winning podcast “Dead Ass with K & D” and a relationship of more than 20 years. They've got advice for many parents because they're raising young kids, overcoming trials, and discovering themselves as individuals, all while in pursuit of their dreams. 

Parents recently spoke with Khadeen and Devale about social media, millennial relationships, parenting, and setting boundaries with kids. They even offered up a few tips for making Valentine’s Day extra special.

On Their "Counterintuitive" Approach to Love


Considering the state of the world today, social media [and] when you look at what relationship experts” are saying, when you enter into a relationship, [people are conditioned] to look at their partner and say, “My partner has to have a list of these things. He has to be this tall. She has to look like this. He has to make this amount of money. She has to be able to cook and have this many degrees.”

Khadeen and I started to realize that our relationship works for us because we're always in a position to serve. We started to say, “What can I do to be better for my spouse?” It's how we were able to make it this far, and also have a lot of fun doing it. So, we always think about “we” over “me.”


When you think of a relationship, the jargon that we've been spewing for so many years is that you're looking for someone to complete you. We had to kind of learn who we were as individuals along the way. And that can technically be challenging because you're trying to find yourself and you're trying to grow, while also trying to consider someone else's feelings at the same time.

So, we feel like the counterintuitive side for us is to say, you know what? You need to find out who you are, be happy, and be complete with who you are. So, you can then add to your relationship, and then be of service to your partner. 

Khadeen and Devale Ellis

Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty Images

On Social Media in Relationships


Khadeen and I spent a lot of time discussing before we post anything. So, I personally have no regrets. I feel like you live one life, and you have a fiduciary responsibility to share your life so you can be an inspiration to others.

Whether that inspiration is to be like me or to not do what I do. Either way, when you give someone an example of how your life panned out, all it does is help someone else navigate their life better. So, I never regret posting and Khadeen and I discuss every post before we post. 


Even the posts where I look crazy and it's first thing in the morning, and my hair is not done, I have to give the sign-off on those as well. I think that it's very important that if we're going to be sharing the highlights of our marriage—sharing our beautiful children, sharing all of the successes and our journey from being this young couple in Brooklyn who are just working towards the hopes and dreams that we've prayed for and diligently worked for—we have to show the struggle that is attached. Like you can't do one without the other.

The cover of "We Over Me"

Rodale Books

On Being of Service


It's just listening. For me, being of service to my wife is listening to what my wife says she wants, what she needs, and what she requires, and not judging her for it. She has one life just [as] I have one life. And if she says she has needs, it's up to me to say, “You know what? I'm willing to fulfill that want or need.”

A big way to be of service to your partner is to just listen. Just listen and accept who they are, for who they are.

On Marriage:


Well, for me it was extremely simple. Being married, and being together with my wife made me a better man. Now, everybody doesn't have that same mindset, but for me it was easy to focus on my dreams and my goals because I had a partner and I never felt alone. For me, marriage is the greatest, marriage gave me the greatest teammate ever, and I couldn't be the Devale you see today if I didn't start young.  

On Raising Children


You have to lean on your village. Whoever that is, and whatever it looks like for you. I know for some people it's easier than others, but accept the help. Be okay leaning into that. Know that the baby is going to be okay. Even if it's someone who comes in [to help]. And, I implore people who are coming to see new [parents], to see the new baby, or know that someone has young children, offer to bring something or put a load of laundry in. Take care of the dishes that are piling up.

You know, just distract one child for a moment, so you can have a nap. 

On Valentines


If you are with someone that you love and you are prepared to be of service, now is the time to also help your partner be of service to you. Tell them exactly what you want for Valentine's Day. Don't leave it up to them to guess and figure it out. Because if they don't deliver, then you're going to be disappointed.

Tell them exactly what you want, and then ask them exactly what they want and do your hardest to deliver on everything they ask. I guarantee you it will light a spark. Because what it'll show is that we communicated well and we delivered.

Let's communicate, say what we want, give what the partner wants and have a fun time doing it. 


During the pandemic, Devale and I were trying to find ways to reconnect because it was madness for everyone. One day I got a deck of cards, we went and got some food, we sat in the car and we just played cards and ate and just had a good time because we used to love to do that in college. And, we used to spend so many hours just chilling in my room, playing cards on the bed, you know?

So, take it back to the basics and the things that lit the spark to begin with. Try to find those things and reignite them.

We Over Me is available wherever books are sold.

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