My parent's just celebrated their 22nd anniversary this past July. 22 years of living together, 22 years of working through arguments, 22 years of agreeing how to spend their money, and 22 years of everything in between. Since I was a child, I have witnessed them express love, joy, sadness, grief, and anger in open and honest ways that I assumed all adults did. Now that I have gotten older and am in a relationship currently, I understand that their relationship is rare beyond words. They are truthful, uplifting, selfless, and genuine with each other on all levels, and I have come to love and respect them even more than I did before.

Relationships are never easy. They require a high level of communication skills, putting the one you love before yourself, confidence in your partner, the ability to be vulnerable with someone, and the willingness to put effort into making time for someone you care about. It's a two-way street and without equal efforts, it is hard for things to work out so well. My parents let me in on some of their favorite characteristics about one another and it's safe to say that not only did I tear up a little, but it reassured me of everything I thought to be true of them.

My dad had a lot to say about my sweet mama. Some of his favorite things about her include, "her honesty, compassion, good humor, intelligence and commitment to help others." My mother has always been one with a helping hand. In my article I wrote about her previously, linked here, I talk about how she has always assisted me in anything I have ever done. But this goes further than being a giving mother, this applies to any human she meets. She is always doing something new for friends, co-workers, and others in the community. Her compassion and generosity never stop. My dad also appreciates her humor and intelligence which I think goes hand and hand. Her sarcasm and goofy remarks take me by surprise often and result in us laughing until we cry. My mother's selflessness, kind spirit, and warm personality will always inspire me.

My mom seemed to have similar characteristics she admired about him as well. When my mom sees my dad, she sees someone that is "intelligent, compassionate, problem-solving, family-oriented, fun, funny, and generous to others." There is no one more willing to sacrifice their time and all efforts for their family quite like my dad. He is the brightest one in the room, guaranteed to make all strangers his friends and to leave people better than he met them. I see a lot of my mom's characteristics in my dad often. He is also extremely intelligent in the sense that he is very worldly but also in the concept of solving problems. No matter the case, he can work through any issue he is faced with. I will always admire his confidence within himself, his abilities, and pride in tradition. There is no one in this world quite like Tom Proctor.

As I read their favorite qualities about one another, I begin to recognize just exactly why they fell for one another. The adoration and the balance of character traits they provide each other are simply perfect. I also am able to listen to them discuss a variety of topics, some in agreement and some in disagreement, but both situations including a large amount of respect for one another. They are able to see each other's views and understand the other better because of it. Now, as married adults, it seems simple to have a civil conversation about disagreements within politics, how to cook a meal, or how to deal with a financial situation. But it simply isn't. I've witnessed a large number of adults in my 20 years who can't even be in the same room as someone when they can't see eye to eye. These two make a disagreement a learning experience and grow from it individually as well as together. I will always love that about them.

Besides all of their charming character traits, their similar love for cooking, British TV, and travel have allowed my parents to bond in so many ways. If my parents could move to Italy, learn how to cook authentic Italian food and open up their own Bed and Breakfast, they wouldn't think twice. They seem to work completely in sync when they are whipping up food in the kitchen. And don't get me started on how they didn't stop smiling for an entire month as they traveled Europe together, enjoying every step of the way. Shared passions bring out the best in couples and I've been so blessed to see them thrive together for my entire life.

I have learned how to disagree without yelling, how to compromise without giving in entirely, and how to faithfully love another human being without question. The unconditional love, admiration, and generosity these two exude is everything I could ever want and need from a husband. Not many kids get to have their parents stay together during their life. Not many kids see happy, healthy marriages as they continue to get older and more intuitive. But I can say wholeheartedly that these two wouldn't be the same without the other. They are two peas in a pod and the two halves of my heart. Here is to you Mama and Dad, I love you both more than you will ever know.