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I love talking to powerful women who are willing to testify about the ups and downs of life and how they were able to overcome and win.

When it comes to matters of the heart and the challenges of making relationships work, someone who has seen and heard it all is “Divorce Court”’s Judge Lynn Toler. Judge Toler has been married for over 23 years. She does more than talk to other people about their relationships. She talked to me about her own.

I asked her directly, “What’s kept you out of divorce court?” She said, “We went to marriage counseling before we got married and while we were married, we weren’t afraid to go back to counseling when we needed it.”

“I didn’t expect to be happy all of the time. So even when things got ugly, and it did get ugly, we were committed to the proposition, we stuck through it. It’s not a fairy tale, but it is a good thing.”

As smart and accomplished as Judge Toler is, she was even smarter to understand that she did not have all of the answers. Everyone, even experts, need help sometimes. If you really want to be successful, don’t be afraid to ask for support. Sometimes based on our positions and pride, we judge ourselves and feel like we should already have the answers. As a result, we don’t communicate our needs and we don’t get the help that we need in order to move forward. But consider this: if Judge Toler, someone who gives advice to others daily about their relationships needs counseling to save her marriage, then maybe you too will realize that smart and successful people understand that they need other smart and successful people to help them win.

Having a successful marriage may be one of the hardest jobs there is. But regardless of what you’re trying to work on or work through, the truth of the matter is that you don’t know how strong you are or what you’re really made of until there’s conflict, a rough patch and things get tough.

Anyone, and I do mean anyone, can say that they love someone, and that they’re down for the cause when things are going well. But who’s your friend when all hell breaks loose? You’re so in love with your guy when he has a job and the gifts and drinks are flowing, but what about when your man loses his job? Are you the first one to say, “I didn’t sign up for this?”

On the flip side, how did people treat you when you lost your job, when you didn’t have any money, when you got a divorce? Did you discover who loved you for you vs. who had love for you because of what you had?

Who loves you from the inside out and who do you love from the inside out? When you consider it that way, these are the people and relationships in your life that are most authentic. They are keepers.

There is a place for various types of relationships in our lives and you need to figure out the roles. It really is okay to have people in your life for a season serving a particular purpose and then they’re gone. Everyone does not need to be nor do they deserve to be in your life forever.

But when you find those people who are ride or die, these are the friendships and love relationships that you preserve and don’t let anyone or anything come between you to destroy it.

You may not always get along nor will you agree about everything – so what? But when you’re between a rock and a hard place, who can you call upon and they are always there?

Play-Off’s: Ready to Win in Life and Love?  was originally published on

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