My heart goes out to Tarek and Christina El Moussa (of Flip or Flop). It’s bad enough having what you thought was a good working marriage fall apart on you, but to do it in the public spotlight has got to be agonizing beyond belief.
Here is my letter to them:
Dear Tarek and Christina,
I’ve really appreciated and admired your expertise at home remodeling and flipping houses. I’ve enjoyed watching your show! I wish I could do what you do. There’s no possible way I could, but it’s fun to watch you in action and dream!
I appreciate your willingness to share all those hours of your life with us, your loyal audience! All the agonizing decisions, the unexpected curve balls, the joy and excitement of decisions that paid off…
You make a great team!
Before you give up on your marriage, I hope you will sit down with a good marriage counselor. I’d particularly recommend contacting Caring for the Heart Ministries.
If you research them, I think you’ll understand why.
For everyone reading this, before you marry, before you’ve even gotten engaged, before you ever decide to date:
If you want to have successful relationships in life, then I highly recommend that you sit down with someone you can trust and learn to know yourself really well. This person doesn’t have to be a professional, but they do have to be someone you know is capable of giving good, honest advice.
It is never too early or too late to do this!
- what makes YOU you
- what you need and want in terms of a good relationship (any kind of relationship!)
- what friends you should work to attract or avoid, and how to do that
- where your relationship weaknesses and strengths are
- what you can do to avoid the traps and snares your own personality, areas of blindness, and upbringing will create for you
- where you need healing and growth, and work to effect that healing and growth
Become the person God intends you to be so that you can be a good friend and team player not just in marriage, but in all of your relationships.
It’s impossible to love someone else well and be a good friend to them if you can’t first love yourself and be your own best friend.
Take the time to develop close friendships where you feel comfortable and safe enough to be honest about your strengths and weaknesses and theirs, where your friends give you honesty and encouragement in return. Where you can sit down with any one of them and they can say, “You’re being a brat and we love you enough to say so.” And you’re willing to hear them out, and to apologize and work to be a better person.
If you’re already dating, if you’re engaged, please don’t get married without first learning who you are (if you haven’t already), and who your intended spouse really is, and creating a game plan to intentionally work together to build a happy, life-long marriage.
You’ve got this amazing potential, this bright future beckoning you on. Take the time to create a solid foundation to build upon!
And hey, if you discover that you’re in the wrong relationship, a broken heart before marriage is so much less traumatic than an ugly awful divorce with kids in the middle! You have no idea–but you will–if you insist on marrying Mr. or Ms. Not-That-Person-God-Intended-For-You!
IF you’re married (I hope Tarek and Christina really do read this):
Stuff happens. You totally lose your temper. One of you treats the other with disrespect, hurt feelings multiply, someone freaks out, the world implodes, and now you’re wondering if it’s ever going to be all right again!
Maybe it’s happened more than once. Maybe this has kept happening.
You know what?
Don’t be hasty to throw away what began as a good relationship! Find a way to work together. Find a way to forgive. Find a way to safely express your feelings of frustration and misery, and work to relieve them without destroying your marriage.
Remember what’s most important.
If you’ve got kids, their best safety, stability, and happiness resides with both of you working together, loving each other, loving and sheltering them together. Your marriage is vital to you, but for them, it’s their whole world! Being a good parent means taking that seriously.
Making money is good in its place, but putting each other first is what keeps a marriage healthy and strong.
EVERY MARRIAGE needs work. Every marriage.
Every couple has their moments of marital disaster and most couples, like you, are going to sometimes have total meltdowns!
Here’s the secret to a happy marriage: you don’t have to live there.
- You can forgive each other
- you can ask God to forgive you and give you the strength and wisdom to avoid another meltdown
- you can sit down and sort out the reason for the meltdown
- you can make plans to avoid another like it in the future
- You may not entirely succeed the first or second, or even the fifteenth time around, but it’s only by working together that you’ll truly be a real team
It’s easy to be a team player when everything’s going your way, when there’s unanimity and harmony, but this is a fallen, broken world, and we are, all of us, broken hurting people needing forgiveness and healing.
Our efforts at team building will never measure up completely. Sometimes, we’re going to get it really wrong! Being a success as a couple means that you’ve got each others’ backs even when you’re in utter and complete disagreement, and fuming and totally fed up!
When that happens, don’t give up and go date other people. Sit down with a counselor, talk through the issues, but (this is key)–don’t dwell on the negative stuff.
First, find a way to eliminate some of the outside stresses on your relationship. If your job is getting in the way, find a way to disconnect from it for a while. Take your spouse and head for somewhere you can be alone together. Leave your kids with the grandparents or someone else you trust.
Take along your scrapbooks, take along your family albums, look at all your photos! Bring your love letters or retrieve all those emails or texts, or whatever you did to draw closer to each other to begin with.
Remember TOGETHER why you fell in love. Remember why you decided to get married. Remember why you’ve been working together, and above all, remember that your kids deserve a stable loving home.
Look each other in the eye, hold hands, sit close. Recover the romance. Resolve to stick it out. Resolve to give your marriage two hundred percent!
FIGHT for what you’ve built, for that dream you wanted to have together!
There may be situations where, it doesn’t matter what you do, your world is going to fall apart. I’ve lived that. I know the pain and despair of that.
Sometimes there aren’t happy endings.
Sometimes one of you is willing to work to make the marriage a success, but the other person isn’t or isn’t able.
Sometimes they’re too damaged emotionally or trust has been irrevocably broken.
If you’re there, if that’s the truth hiding behind your public split, then I feel your pain.
But I urge you, again, not to jump from one relationship into another. You need to sort out your own heart first, and heal and grow before entering another relationship. Please do that not just for you, but for your kids, who are depending on you for emotional support, love, stability, security; all those benefits they were receiving from your marriage and now aren’t.
You owe it to them and you owe it to yourself to discover what you contributed to the failure of your marriage and how to avoid going there again, to be the kind of person it is safe for someone else to draw close to. You owe it to your children as well as yourself to pursue healing and growth, to model being a healthy, responsible adult and parent.
I’m praying for you. I’m praying that God heals your hearts and mends your marriage, and steps into the gap where your brokenness, your pain and failure are eating away at your souls, and pulls you together again.
I’m praying for your kids’ protection in the middle all of this.
Whether or not you continue to have a television show is not important, but YOU matter!
You will always matter, not because you’re famous or good at flipping houses, but because God created you and loves you with an everlasting love.
This is true for everyone. I pray that His love embraces you and makes you whole again,