Most men and women grow up with expectations and opinions surrounding love, relationships, and marriage, and they're often based off of the example that was shown to you by your parents. You watched how they interacted with each other after a long day of work, you listened to how they communicated during arguments, and you felt the incredible love in the room when they would embrace in a happy moment. For better or for worse, the examples your parents set surrounding romantic relationships shape the husbands and wives you will one day become.
In addition to seeing what it takes to make a marriage work, you've likely received valuable words of wisdom from your parents about how to carry on meaningful and long-lasting relationships in our own life. Here, brides and grooms share the marriage tenets they learned from the unions that came before them.
Daniel S. says he was taught the importance of leaving the stress of the day at the door. Not only did his parents encourage him to do this if he had a difficult day at school or work during the summer, but he saw them try their hardest to follow this rule, too. "My parents were not perfect, and often would vent to each other about their troubles, but they made sure the first hour or so they came home from work, they were simply happy to be around each other and the family," he explains. "By resetting and showing that love, the positive feeling they gave each other really manifested into such a positive relationship." Daniel now tries to incorporate this into his marriage with his wife, Jennifer. "I fail at this quite often, but even when I fail I make sure I recognize my actions, reset with my wife, and then show her how happy and positive this relationship and life is when we have each other."
It may not be easy or practical every day, but Amy K. says that she also tries to follow the example her parents set. Despite the fact that they divorced when she was young, she was able to learn that marriage requires a lot of work. "It isn't just a part time job, something you do on the weekends, or whenever the skies are blue—marriage is something that you are committed to and it requires more than just vows and a ring." Her father remarried when she was eight and she says his 30-year-long marriage has taught her what it takes to work through obstacles and how communication can make or break a relationship.
Communication is something many men and women learn from their mothers and fathers. Nicole P. says that everything she knows about communication was instilled in her by her parents. What's more, they also instilled the importance of sharing household responsibilities instead of designating them based off gender roles. "In my house growing up, there was no men's work or women's work. It was all shared," she says. As a teacher, she says has to bring her work home with her most nights, and while she's busy correcting school work, her husband reads to their son and does the dishes. "He loves taking care of our yard and lawn, but when he's working late or out of town, I'm out there with the hedge clippers!" she adds. "He and I agreed early in our marriage that we would be partners, and especially when our son came along we further committed to just getting what needed to be done in an equal way so that neither one of us felt 'stuck' in one household role."
Shannon T. grew up witnessing her parents' incredible friendship. "They were the best of friends—they wore matching t-shirts from their travels, they laughed every day, and were very affectionate with each other," she explains. "As a young adult, I saw that not all of my friends had such an amazing model for marriage, so I asked my mom how they kept it going after 25 years. She explained that although she and my dad both have our friends and a few outside interests, they get invested in each other's passions and try to do as many things as they can together." Shannon's mother even learned to golf so that she could see her husband every Saturday morning. Shannon tries her best to instill this level of commitment in her marriage. "When I travel for work, my better half comes along whenever possible. We never go to bed angry and we try to cut back on the bickering. Life is busy, you have to make time with your partner a priority."
While all of this wisdom is important, Lisa Dyson says her parents taught her something a little funnier. They had a rule that they'd always have separate bathrooms—one for each spouse. "If that's not a possibility, at least get his and hers sinks and vanities...so far, so good!" she says. "Even though you're married and you love sharing your life with your partner, there are certain things that should remain a mystery, no matter how long you've been together or how comfortable you are with each other."