What 11 Women Learned From Their Parents’ Marriages

What 11 Women Learned From Their Parents’ Marriages

What do we take away from our parents’ marriages and into our own love relationships?

By Judy Koutsky

Whether your parents had a good or not-so-good marriage, their relationship shaped the way you would ultimately handle things in your own relationship. These women explain the good, the bad, and the sweet things they learned from Mom and Dad.

1. “It sounds corny, but I really feel like I learned true love from my parents’ marriage. There were problems along the way -- money, job loss, trouble with the kids -- but they stuck it out. They just celebrated their 50th anniversary and they still hold hands every day. Marriage is an endurance race -- one I hope me and my husband can complete.” -- Nancy, Montclair, New Jersey

2. “I try never to fight in front of my kids. My parents fought constantly. Little things, like my dad coming home late, to big things, like my mom spending too much, erupted into screaming matches. I don’t want to put my kids through that.” -- Maryanne, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

3. “Kindness. My father is taking care of my mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and the patience and kindness he shows her is really beautiful. Yes, he loves her, but just as important, he’s kind to her.” -- Suzy, Dallas, Texas

4. “Make date night a priority. My parents had six kids and they never went out. Then when all the kids went to college and left the house for good, my parents had nothing to talk about. I don’t want that to happen to me and my husband. I do date night twice a week, so my marriage isn’t just about the kids.” --Maureen, Fort Worth, Texas

5. “Go on weekend trips. My mom said she was happiest with my dad when the kids weren’t around. Not that she didn’t love us, but it was so exhausting being a parent, that it was great to get a whole weekend away with my dad to talk about non-kid things. I make it a point to go on a weekend trip with my husband at least once a year.” -- Natalie, Santa Fe, New Mexico

6. “Respect. My parents didn’t always agree, but they were always respectful of each other and listened to an opinion that was different from their own.” -- Julia, Chicago, Illinois

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7. “Put money away for a rainy day. My parents always lived paycheck to paycheck and it was tough. Some months were harder than others. Once I got married, I made sure we set up a savings account that we both contributed to monthly. It made me feel more safe and secure.” -- Haley, Bennington, Vermont

8. “Always say, ‘I love you.’ My parents are very affectionate -- hugging, kissing, and saying, ‘I love you’ -- and I think doing those little acts are good for kids to see. I thought it was sweet seeing it growing up and I always tell my husband I love him before he leaves for work and when he gets home.” -- Claire, Maplewood, New Jersey

9. “My parents spent a lot of time dealing with my sister, who has issues. While I get that they had to do that, my brother and I often felt neglected. As a parent myself, I try and give to all four of my kids equally. Even if one has more challenges, I don’t think it’s fair to give most of my time to just one child.” -- Liza, O’Fallon, Illinois

10. “Laughter. My parents still make each other laugh, after 30 years. I think that’s important.” -- Marie, New Rochelle, New York

11. “My dad always told my mom she looked nice. When they went on date night, when they went to weddings, or even just going to church. He’d always comment on her outfit, hair, or lipstick. I always thought that was super sweet. I try and do the same with my kids and husband. Find something nice to say.” -- Lucia, Rockford, Illinois

What did you learn from your parents’ marriage? 

Judy Koutsky is the former Editorial Director of KIWI magazine, a green parenting publication. She was also Executive Editor of Parenting.com, AOL Parent and BabyTalk.com. Follow her on Twitter @JudyKoutsky.

Image ©iStock.com/laflor

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