My parents are celebrating their 30th marriage anniversary this month. I’ve looked up to my parent’s marriage for as long as I can remember. Their love is unconditional and they are the best of friends. Now that I’ve been married for 6 years, I can honestly say I’ve turned to them for advice and encouragement. I’ve learned many things about marriage through my parents.
I occasionally ask my parents stories about how they met, what their dates were like, and how they decided to marry. The stories stay with me. I can see the love as my parents speak about their time together. It truly makes me smile. I am proud to say my parents have honored each other and are committed to one another.
I am hopeful my husband and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage one day too. For now, looking up to my parent’s just isn’t enough to me. I look forward to passing down what I’ve learned from them to my children.
These are 12 things I’ve learned from my parent’s marriage.
1. Be supportive– My father supports my mother in all she puts her mind to. She is extremely busy with work, her community and even our family. My father is always there to cheer her on.
2. It’s ok to disagree but it’s important to compromise– When I was 9 years old my father wanted to move to Mexico where both my parents are from. Though my mom was reluctant, she compromised and we lived there for less than a year. They didn’t agree on how things turned out but at least they showed me they could compromise.
3. Be a team- My parents are always on the same team. When it came to parenting, they never over powered decisions, at least not in front of us kids. The same was with their marriage.
4. Choose your battles and forgive– Now that I’ve been married, both my parents have told me to choose my battles. I thought marriage was supposed to be like a fairytale. It’s nice to know my parents choose what to really get angry about and to always forgive one another.
5. Communicate– My parents communicate constantly with my brothers and I. They practice the same openness in their marriage. Family meetings taught me to not hold on to my feelings and to always discuss things truthfully with a heart wide open.
6. Be independent but share finances– My mother taught me to be independent. She always told me to follow my dreams and to work hard. “Be indispensable”, she always says. When it came to finances she taught me to always contribute but to make sure you do your part first!
7. Ask for what you want- don’t assume especially with gifts- My parents have never been big with gifts. Though my father tends to be the one with surprises up his sleeves I’ve seen him learn that my mom doesn’t like the finer things in life but rather treasures the moments in life. This taught me not to assume my spouse would love something just because I bought it It’s best to ask for a wish list for sure!
8. Don’t change your partner– Though my mother may differ on this I know my father feels the way I do. You don’t change your partner that is definitely a lost battle. My husband and I discussed this before we got married because I knew I didn’t want to be changed and I wasn’t about to change him even if he had a few bad habits.
9. Make time for yourselves– together and separate- Now that my parents have finished raising us kids, they have taught me to always make time for each other. They go on coffee dates together and go out to do things they enjoy for themselves. My dad enjoys working on his 36 Chevy while my mom is happy shopping. It helps keep each other sane and the love on fire!
10. Don’t take advantage of kindness– Seeing how kind my parents are to each other let’s me see how lucky they are. My parents have always appreciated each other. Occasionally, I call them and they are having lunch with each other. My dad drives to see my mom on his lunch to take her out and they sound so happy.
11. Practice what you preach– My parents morals and values of a family of a marriage are in sync. They know where they stand and how they want to live their lives. I couldn’t be more confident in knowing they are happy with how their lives have turned out.
12. Grow together– When my mother returned to school she encouraged my father to attend classes as well. My Mother always made sure that with her growth my father would grow too. My mother says, “It’s important to learn from your mistakes and grow together.” They are a team after all.
How long have your parent’s been married?
Read more of Ruby’s writing at Growing Up Blackxican