Last week I had the unique opportunity to chat about marriage, parenthood and lots of stuff in between with my mom, my fiance and his mom. The four of us happen to engage in this very impromptu (but life-changing) convo with a 78 year-old widow and her single forty-something daughter. The entire conversation was enlightening but below are my highlights from the encounter. I was blessed by them and I think you will be, too. As I’ve mentioned before — although I’m planning a wedding, I’m much more concerned about my marriage. For the record, I had heard many of these things before but hearing them come from complete strangers was confirmation in a sense. Here goes:
1 – Often, temporary fixes lead to longterm problems. – I happen to know many folks (males and females) who have expressed similar sentiments after cheating on their partner. But this mantra can even be applied to shoe shopping, chocolate cake and alcohol.
2 – You’re a team; act like one. – If you can’t attend an affair/event (think wedding, housewarming, etc.) with your spouse, then you should both RSVP with regrets. If said event is a fundraiser, send your donation as a couple and apologize for having to sit that one out. Of course there will be exceptions, but you send a message (consciously or not) when you consistently attend affairs solo as a married person.
3 – The best gift you can give your children is a solid marriage. We all know marriages that are fake, dysfunctional and probably do the children involved more harm than good. And we also know single parents that rock and raise amazing children. (Ahem, see President Barack Obama. Love him or loathe him he changed the game.) But I think the moral of the story here is — and this tidbit was from the single, unwed daughter — if you’re going to get married and have children, realize that your spousal relationship being unified, honest, caring and loving will outlast and is much more important than any iPad, Wii or Barbie doll.
4 – Don’t let yourself “go”. It is easy to slack in the image department when you get all warm, fuzzy in love and thus comfortable. But rarely is the easy way to do anything the best way, right? And this applies to both sexes.
5 – Contrary to popular belief, the best marriage advice might not come from someone married. Generally speaking, I seem to seek relationship advice less and less. This isn’t because I’ve figured it all out (at all!) but rather because I now realize I need to talk to my fiance more about us and how we plan to define our marriage rather than always running to my co-workers, homies or even family members. But when golden, sage advice lands in my lap like it did last week, why shouldn’t I accept it? The giver could be a widow, single and never married, separated or divorced. If it makes sense to apply to my personal life and situation, I’ll take it!
So what are your thoughts on the above tips? I wanna know, good, bad or indifferent. I also want to know who your marriage role models are or if you even think such a thing should exist. Sound off in the comments, folks!