notquiteold

Nancy Roman

What I Learned About Marriage From My Parents

When my Dad died 6 years ago, my parents had been married 64 years. This week marks their 70th wedding anniversary. And we will celebrate – because they are certainly still married. In my mother’s heart and in our memories.

I learned a lot about marriage from the example they set. I’m not saying I am able to put it into practice as well as they did, but I couldn’t have better role models.

Here’s just a little of what they taught me:

Play together

My mother and father had fun. They spent a lot of time not being serious. They liked to picnic at the lake in the summer, ice skate in the winter. They liked to play cards with their friends. They liked jigsaw puzzles and parades. Even when money was short, which it often was, they searched the couch cushions and went to a movie. And later, when money was more plentiful, my Dad would say to Mom: “Get your purse. We’re going out for ice cream.'”

Play separately too

You don’t have to be together every minute. Have your own interests. My Dad liked to go bowling, and play golf, and have a beer at the American Legion hall with his buddies. My mom liked to have lunch with her girlfriends, shop with her daughters, and play her own round of golf. As much as you should have fun together, let your spouse also have fun without you. When my father came home after a Saturday round of golf and a few beers at the club, my mother would say, “Look how happy he is to have a day to himself. And we have something new to tell each other.”

Be on the same side

My parents made it clear to us kids that their marriage was more important than we were. “We love you,” they always said, “but eventually you will go lead your own lives and we will still be together.” They always had a united front, and nothing we could do could pit them against each other. The same held true with relatives and work and decision-making. Your spouse is on your side.

Respect each other

I never heard my parents bitch about each other to anyone else. (at least not seriously). My mother listened to my father tell the same story a hundred times, and although she may have rolled her eyes once in a while, she never shouted, “Enough!’ though I am sure she wanted to. On my father’s part, he once told me that my mother was the smartest person he knew.

Respect each other’s families

Before you were married, you had your own families. Those relationships are still important. Their traditions are not to be discarded, even when you add new ones of your own. We always visited my mother’s parents every Sunday. We wouldn’t think of having Christmas Eve away from Dad’s big clan. And they didn’t criticize each other’s crazy relatives. They loved them. I remember my mother once joking, “If we ever divorce, I’m keeping your family.”

Look nice

Your partner fell in love with you. In his eyes you are gorgeous. Put some effort into keeping that admiration. It doesn’t matter if you have a few extra pounds or not as much hair. Just remember to look nice for each other. My father never wore a torn tee shirt. Ever. My mother put her makeup on even for those trips to the ice cream parlor. And her hair looked great even when they had nowhere to go.

Don’t complain too much

One of the perks of being married is that you have someone built in that you can bitch to. But try not to overdo it. Your partner loves you, but you are really testing their love if you start to complain about your day the minute you walk in the door. If you are constantly negative, you are a drag to be around. I remember when my mother was going through a particularly hard time with some changes at work, and spent several weeks venting her frustration every night at dinner. One evening Dad said, as nicely as possible, “If you really hate that job, then quit, and we will get by. But if you want to stick it out, then maybe you should stop complaining – because you are only making yourself feel worse.” And she did. She didn’t quit the job. She just stopped bitching about it. We were all happier, including her.

Make memories

You don’t have to take that one-in-a-million vacation. (although that would be nice). Just make little moments that you can recall, to remind yourself why your marriage is worth it. When you can say, “Remember that time we stopped on the side of the road and grilled hot dogs in the pouring rain?” you are saying that those memories are worth keeping – and your marriage is based on those moments.

Reminisce. My parents were married on Kentucky Derby Day. They celebrated the Kentucky Derby every year like it was a holiday invented just for them. And they never even attended the Derby. It was their marriage they were celebrating.

This Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. We’ll stop at the betting parlor, and then go to my mother’s home to watch with her. We’ll celebrate the Derby, celebrate their glorious marriage, and offer up a toast to Dad.

momanddadwedding1

My mother and father – 70 years ago. The smartest people I’ll ever know.

55 Comments

  1. Excellent super couple

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. They made a handsome couple.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you. My parents were both gorgeous. My father was turning heads from high school into old age, and my mother is still quite a beauty.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Wow. This is amazing! You are very fortunate to have such good role models. Even though I do not know you well enough at all, I have read enough of your writings to see some correlation between your parents and you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, that is a lovely compliment. I only hope to be as good-hearted as they.

      Like

  5. Love the picture. What I learned from my parents marriage was to let things go and roll with things. If my Dad was 10 minutes late coming home, my mother never said anything. One of our great family stories was the time my mother got my father to eat shrimp by telling him it was chicken pieces. He couldn’t have possibly believed it but he ate it and loved it. They are both gone and we still talk about it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a great lesson, and yes, my parents always exhibited great flexibility. No nit-picking at our house ever. I try to remind myself of that now, but I am afraid I can be quite a nag.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I’ve trying to use my mother’s tactics to get my husband to eat cabbage family veggies. So far it’s not working. He can tell it’s definitely not chicken. I can be a “teacher.” I call nagging that because I’m trying to get a point across. I’ve learned to let it go. My husband is awesome the way he is. I shouldn’t screw with that.

        Like

        • I’m not sure I would call my husband awesome, but I fell in love with him the way he is. And that should suffice.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Christine Cooper

    Nancy you made me cry!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww,,, my job is done then, as we can all use a good cry. And from knowing your parents for years, I can say it was clear to everyone around them that they not only loved each other, but LIKED each other very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan

    Sounds like we come from the type of family….Oh wait a minute we did! How lucky we ALL were, we grew up with amazing marriage’s all around us, even those that ended too soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    • We were the luckiest kids in the world, because we were surrounded by love. Every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Would be appreciated if u follow my motivational blogs too

    Like

  9. Beautiful! ❤
    Diana xo

    Like

    • Thank you! Enjoy the Derby and give a thought to my sweet parents!

      Like

  10. a lovely tribute 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ray G

    Though it has mellowed over the years, I envy you. And you just wrote why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have been part of this family for a long time. Your niceness fits in nicely.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Reblogged this on arosebyanyothername2016.

    Like

  13. Reblogged- Arosebyanyothername2016 – so lucky that your role model was a happily, thoughtful couple. Arosebyanyothername2016

    Like

  14. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Insightful post. And great lessons there for the rest of us !

    Like

    • Thanks. I was so lucky to have such a good example of a marriage that really works… the least I could do is pass some knowledge on.

      Like

  16. FABULOUS. Thank you.

    Like

  17. Lovely tribute. My parents just celebrated 62 years and I agree with the wisdom they impart.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Give them my sincerest congratulations. It is an accomplishment to stay married for one year, let alone 62.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Really great advice! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Wonderful — it makes me happy for your parents, you and your whole family. Like you I was lucky with my own parents and the example they set. I try to live up to it, but…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I struggle with being on the same side. I like to be right too much.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. These are things I have learnt from my parents as well they have been married for 55 years and are still happy and show us what a good marriage is and they have also shown us that it takes work and you have to know when to pick your battles meaning don’t fight or argue over ever bloody little thing

    Like

    • So true. My parents were great at letting the little things go. I struggle with that all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Doris Kennedy

    Love this tribute to Tom & Steff. We sure had great parents and wonderful role models. I often think about everything mom & dad went through and yet stayed together up to mom’s death & 58 years of marriage. I think of what she must have thought about my feeble excuses for divorce after only 5 years of marriage. That generation took their marriage vows “until death do us part” very seriously. Marriage today has become all to “disposable”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true Doris. I did not marry until I was 40, but now we are coming up on 25 years together. It’s often not easy, but I think it would be impossible if I had been 20 rather than 40. Thank god for those extra years to give me some perspective and maturity.

      Like

  22. Beautiful post and what a beautiful legacy your parents left you. This made me really think about the example my husband and I set for our children. Parents have such a powerful influence, both good and bad. I can only hope we were good role models in at least some of the many ways your parents were. Thank you for sharing this wonderful example!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The fact that you are thinking about how your actions impact your children’s behavior makes me believe that your are probably very good role models. And you don’t have to be perfect to show children what real love is. In fact, realistic and imperfect is what kids need to see in order to understand marriage.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you for sharing this personal gem. What good role models you were blessed with!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was lucky indeed to live in a home where I saw what a good marriage can be.

      Like

  24. What a glorious photo and a glorious life they had together!! Most of us can only hope for a life like that!!! I encourage you to read my blog post titled: “Some people really do spend their whole lives together!!” Have posted the link below. Xxx

    Like

  25. Some people really do spend their whole lives together.  – passthebubblewrap
    https://passthebubblewrap.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/some-people-really-do-spend-their-whole-lives-together/

    Like

  26. I was going to say, I hope you know how blessed you are to have come from such a family. But I don’t have to say it, because clearly you do know! Thanks for sharing your parents’ wisdom with those of us who aren’t so fortunate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, yes. In the company of a happy family and a happy marriage was an amazing way to grow up.

      Like

  27. Miriam R Gerber

    I was entranced by your description of your parents marriage – it was almost identical to my parents marriage back in 1943. My Mother passed away at age 76 and my Dad did remarry a couple of years later. The second marriage was no way similar the marriage of my parents and I won’t go into details here other than say it was a disaster from beginning to the death of the second wife. My father now resides in an Assisted Living facility and will be 98 this week. I was pleased to note in conversation this week that his memories were those of the years spent with my mother not the second wife. Coincidence? I think not – more of a testament to their love and devotion to the very end. Thank you for the sweet reminder.

    Like

    • I think it is not only a testament to love, but about the human soul in general, in its wonderful capacity to remember the good, and let go of the sorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. What a wonderful post!!! Your parents were obviously very much in love. Makes me sad that my father died when I was an infant – I missed out on all this.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Beth

    Lovely comments about your parents. I’m glad you appreciate them as much as they must love you!

    Like

    • I’ve been very lucky to be in such a loving family.

      Like

  30. Keeping that united front is hard to do sometimes. They sound like wonderful parents and partners. Thanks for the hints on what I might be doing that I should change.

    Like

    • Thanks. My parents were wonderful examples, but I can’t claim that I can always follow their lead.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Sally

    Loved hearing about your parents ! Glad you are still celebrating the occasion ! Happy Anniversary and God bless you with many happy memories on Derby Day !

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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  1. What I Learned About Marriage From My Parents | Perkmeupnwa's Blog

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