Today is Mom and Dad’s 35th wedding anniversary. Which means they’re officially Marriage Champions of America. NAY. Marriage Champions of the UNIVERSE. So in all my years of being their child (which, surprisingly, is my whole life), here’s what I’ve learned from them along the way.
1. Marry your Best Friend. You know, someone you actually want to be around most of the time. Someone with interests similar to yours. And foster that friendship throughout the years. Develop hobbies together. Hang out in sweatpants together. Or whatever.
2. When you fight (and you will), don’t make a spectacle of yourselves. True story here: I’ve never actually seen Mom and Dad yell at each other. Sure, they get frustrated with each other. But whenever they have things to deal with or situations to talk through, they do it in private. Just the two of them.
4. Marriage isn’t easy. In fact, there are times where it’s not fun. But you made a promise to that person, to God, to your friends. Keep your promises and continue to work it out. It gets better. SO. MUCH. BETTER.
6. My Dad collects friends. He loooooves talking to new people. Mom, though, sometimes needs a break. (I take after Mom.) Allow each other space to do your thang. While Dad goes out to make new friends, Mom takes some time to decompress. Both are totally fine. They’ve got room to do what each needs.
7. Keep the romance alive. How, you ask? If Dad’s in the mood for chips, Mom will buy him some. If Mom’s in the mood for some baseball, Dad takes her to a game. How, you ask, is that romantic? Because it shows each is caring more for the other than for themselves. And that is a wonderful thing.
8. When life gets hard, and it will, turn your eyes to the Lord and not to each other. Your other can’t solve your deepest needs for security, hope, peace, and comfort. You can walk through the situation together, and talk through it/ process it together, but the Lord is the only one that can (and will) heal your broken heart.
9. Pick your battles. Next week’s dinner menu? Not a battle to fight. How much money to spend on a new car? Potentially a battle. But again: same team.
10. Compliment! Kind words go a long way. If spouse looks great that day, tell them! Even if they look like they got run over by a semi, it’s okay to still tell them they look great.
12. Mom always respected Dad… She allowed him the space to make decisions for our Family- how to lead us, specifically. That doesn’t mean that Dad had all the decision-making power. Nope. Mom weighed in, gave her opinions, and gave feedback, but ultimately, Dad chose.
13. Develop systems. Little unspoken ones. For example: When Dad runs out of something, he places it on the counter, upside-down. Why would I say this is a piece of marriage advice? Because it’s funny. And because they figured out an additional way to communicate, without words.
15. In all your time together, never give up on each other. It will get hard, it will get tiresome, but the other is your person. Love that person with all your might, and hold tightly to them.
Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. You’re the best.