After my parents' 30th anniversary this October, I began to reflect on the importance that their relationship has had in my life. I became appreciative of the wisdom they have shared with me throughout the years and thought it would be selfish to keep that wisdom to myself!
That being said, I decided to interview my Mom and Dad about what the secret to a lasting relationship is. Here are some pieces of advice from the mouths of my parents themselves:
1. Marriage is two imperfect people forgiving each other every single day.
2. Don't sweat the small stuff.
3. Have a shared set of beliefs and values.
4. Pray together daily.
5. Pray for your spouse daily.
6. Pray for your marriage daily.
7. Find laughter throughout the day. Laughter does good like a medicine. Keep your humor and don't take yourself too seriously.
8. Be spontaneous!
9. Find couples that are likeminded. You must have friends in common that don't just tolerate you, but celebrate you.
10. Never go to bed angry.
11. Remember that your spouse's job is not to make you happy. Joy must come from a higher source.
12. Become interested in your spouses interests. It's not all about you!
13. Be deliberate about scheduling date nights. You have to continue to keep the spark going!
14. Marriage is hard work. Don't give up.
15. Give daily affection. In the midst of your shared routine, something as simple as a hug or a kiss communicates to your spouse that you love them.
16. Remember that marriage is a sacred promise-- it is a promise to love one another, for better or for worse.
17. If tempers escalate, sometimes it is best to walk away, cool down, and revisit a disagreement.
18. Go to Texas A&M games together! Gig'em!
19. Be sincere and vulnerable. Vulnerable communication is vital. If you can't be vulnerable to your spouse, who can you be vulnerable to?
20. Be intentional about listening. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that order.
21. Do activities that make your spouse happy! If your spouse likes classic movies, watch classic movies with them. If your spouse loves sports, go to sports games with them.
22. Don't ever be afraid to go to professional counseling-- that is the sign of a healthy relationship.
23. Anything worth keeping is worth discipline. Love is an action as well as a feeling.
24. Don't ever forget the big dates (anniversary, birthdays, etc.). These are annual opportunities to celebrate one another.
25. Learn to respond versus react.
26. Share your life goals together. Ask your spouse, "where do you see us in 10 years? 15? 20?"
27. Seek to understand and empathize.
28. You can't tell the person you love that you love them enough. You simply cannot overdo this expression. Tell this to your spouse daily.
29. Negatives will always be there. Find the positives in every situation that you and your spouse find yourself in.
30. Marriage evolves in every season. Friends come and go, and kids grow up and embark on their own life journey. Remember that the person that will be there with you through it all is your spouse. They are your best friend.
Everyone who knows them loves them, but none more than me! They have taught me to always err on the side of grace, live life in constant celebration, and love others without reproach - they do so with me and with each other. Mom and Dad, thank you for teaching me about love!