Once, long ago, I was an 18-year-old who knew it all. I remember sitting outside on the front porch with my parents one summer evening and telling them, "My marriage will be nothing like yours." The words weren't spoken out of anger, it was simply a fact. I had fallen for the fairy tale stories hook, line, and sinker. My parents never held hands. They weren't affectionate. When I asked my mom how she knew my dad was the one, she answered, "I'm not sure I ever did. I just made a decision and it worked out for us." What? No moment of certainty gazing into each other's eyes? No fireworks? In my mind marriage was a journey with a best friend, someone you couldn't get enough of, basically fifty years of one endless perfect date.
The husband and I will celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary this December, and I am much older and wiser about the subject of marriage. Although I adore my hubby most days, we both have days where we don't like each other much. It's hard to hold hands when they are full of babies, and that endless perfect date has turned into sleepless nights, diapers, and trying to build toward a common goal. My parents were right-marriage is a lot of day-to-day work, practicality, and basically just getting through it. There are magical moments that make it all worth it, but they can be few and far between.
My parents relationship taught me lessons I never thought I would need: how to work hard, stay together, and just do your best. It might sound harsh, but sometimes reality is a well-needed lesson.
When the kids are in bed, we watch TV together and hold hands. I'm still a bit of a romantic, but now, twelve years later, I would tell my parents, "I'd be pretty lucky if my marriage turns out like yours."
Is there anything in your parents relationship that you learned... good or bad?