Friday, December 18, 2009

Ode to Parents

Look at that beautiful couple! That is my dear mom and dad who will be celebrating 40 years of marriage on Sunday. So this blog post is dedicated to them.

40 years. Can you even wrap your mind around that? Tack on the 5 7 years they spent dating (thanks for the correction, mom!), and these two have been dedicated to each other for 45 47 years. They were high school sweethearts and voted Best Couple, senior year. It all started at a dance when someone told my dad that my mom wanted to dance to dance with him, and someone told my mom that my dad wanted to dance with her.

And the rest, as they say, is history. 5 children and 4 grandchildren later, they are still going strong. I've said it before and I will say it again - I'm so lucky to have grown up with such a wonderful example of what a marriage should be like.

Here are some things I've learned from observing my parents marriage:

1. Opposites can attract... - my parents are sort opposites. My mom is more high strung (I'm just like her) and my dad is a little bit more layed back. My mom likes things super tidy (you could eat off her floors) and my dad is ok with a little clutter here and there. Their differences compliment each other, though, and they make it work. I think it would be challenging for people like my mom & I to marry super high strung men - it would sort of be a recipe for disaster!

2. But you better have the important stuff in common - even though my parents have their share of differences, they have the same views on the important things that count. Like the values they want to instill in their children. They are definitely on the same page when it comes down to what's important to them.

3. Couples that pray together, stay together - Going to church as a family has always been a big part of our lives. We never missed a Sunday - even when we were on vacation. My parents have a strong prayer life and I know they have learned on each other & prayed together during tough times.

4. Communication is key - My dad has always said, "I don't have to ask your mother what she's thinking!" - and this is so true. It's so important to know how to communicate with each other. It requires trust and respect for one another. In addition, I have to say that my parents never seem to run out of things to talk about. It kind of amazes me. I've rode along with them on a couple of trips to Chicago, which is about an 8 hour drive from Minneapolis, and they can chat the entire trip. Blow my mind. You would think after that many years together, you'd run out of things to say - but they haven't. It's even more amazing when you consider the fact that they also run a business together - so it's not like they are living these separate lives 8 hours a day!

5. Don't stop dating - You are probably wondering what I mean by this! Although it was hard for my parents to go on dates since they had 5 kids, I still have memories of them going on dates when I was young. By that point, my older siblings were able to watch us younger kids, so I think it was a little easier for them to go on dates. They didn't go on a lot of dates, but I remember the occasional movie which was always followed by a trip to the super market. When my parents would come home at the end of the night, my mom would always come in my room and check on me and I'd ask her about their night and what they had for dinner. I remember thinking that it was so odd that they went to the grocery store together, but my mom always said it was really fun for them to be able to shop together - looking back, it was probably the fact that it was kid-free that made it so enjoyable!!

I could go on and on, but I'll stop there!

All 5 of us kids will be home for Christmas so we'll be celebrating their Anniversary over Christmas weekend.

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!! I love you both so much and can't wait to see you on Wednesday!!

PS - Don't my parent look young? That photo was taken at my sister's wedding in August - they are both 61!! I hope I age as well as they have!!

What have you learned from your parents' marriage?


Becky said...

Wow! Congratulations to them! And what great lessons you've learned!

J said...

Wow! My parents will celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2011 and I know exactly what you mean about all the stuff you wrote! We always went to church together every sunday! I am an only child though so its been a little different. But they are like my parents but also my good friends because they are always there to help me! Congrats to your parents! Glad you all are going to be home for Christmas!!

Abby said...

Beautiful post, Lisa! I have learned from my parents that no matter how long you've been with that person, and how much you know that person inside and out -- you always have to work every day, and there always are challenges! A perfect life doesn't come naturally -- it takes dedication and love fromt both people. And I definitely see that in Mom & Dad!

I agree about them looking yonng! Last week 2 of my friends were looking at wedding pictures -- and did NOT believe that they are in their 60's!! They look great!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

Wow! That is great! Congratulations to your parents, they sound like wonderful people!!

Marlys said...

What can I say? We are humbled! One correction, we actually dated for 7 years! Our first date, at the dance you mentioned, was Nov. 14th, 1963! It wasn't an actual date, but we danced the rest of the night together and then went for a ride with another couple around the streets of Wyndmere! And we're still here - wierd! We are going on another date tonight, to finish shopping, and then out to eat. It's your Dad's favorite thing to do!

Allison Blass said...

Congrats to your parents! I think those are very important lessons. My boyfriend and I try to attend church together as often as we can, but we haven't really found one we both click with (I like mine, he likes his, but that's it) but when we do go, we always discuss what was preached afterward.

Your parents look great! Mine do too and they are in their mid-50s. :)

Anonymous said...

I kind of felt like you were writing about my parents! =) They also have continued to go on dates throughout their marriage too. I know it's kept their bond strong. They also never run out of things to talk about which fascinates me. Yet at the same time, they can sit together and not talk and be totally okay with that. In a good way.

Your parents are so lovely! Congrats to them and 40 years. That's amazing =)

Mandy said...

Congratulations to your parents. Its completely refreshing to read and hear about couples who are so completely and totally in love. My grandparents celebrated their 52nd in the fall and we celebrated with our whole family. I am glad that all of your brothers, sisters, and nephews will be with your parents to help them celebrate!

Unknown said...

Absolutely beautiful, Lisa! Good job. Your parents are very amazing people. I know I may be a little biased. I was the maid of honor at their wedding. I was so proud. I was a freshman in college. I thought the church was so pretty with the poinsettias. We wore burgundy velvet dresses. If I remember correctly, your mom's wedding dress was velvet, too. Your dad was in his Navy uniform. A great day. And a great marriage! You have captured their relationship very well. I have always looked up to both of them. Thanks for this. And that picture of them is beautiful, too!

Emily Jane said...

Congrats to your parents!! They look LOVELY and I loved reading this post. Lessons I've learned from my parents... well my parents split up a few years ago and I learned about the things *not* to do if you want to make a marriage work. I've learned a lot since from my dad, which is wonderful, and I've learned a lot of what not to do from my mum, so I think when D & I get married and have a family I'm pretty well prepared :) We've been together a while too but we still try to go on Date Nights whenever we can! :)

Kyla Roma said...

Your parents are so sweet!

What have I learned from mine?
- Have a strong sense of humor.
- Have interests outside your relationship, the more you're learning the more you're bringing to it.
- Our parents are human and will make mistakes, they need you loving them more than you need them to be perfect.
- Dad's who can braid hair are divorced & are absolute warriors. Hair braiding is a hard skill to learn later in life.
- No one going through divorce should leave custody decisions up to their kids. I negotiated our custody agreement for my sister and I from when I was 7 until I was about 14 years old & it totally damaged me.

Leigh said...

Great post Lisa! It's good to know that you can still be deeply in love after 40+ years of marriage/dating!

Amber said...

Awww this is such a nice post! And your parents are a beautiful couple and they DO look young!!!

That's funny about the opposites attract thing becaues my mom always tells me that if I ever met someone like me I'd probably want to kill them and I'm lucky Eric's so laid back! LoL.

Little Fish said...

Too sweet!! Mazel Tov.

Sarah said...

Wow – your parents are doing really well. 45 years is an amazing accomplishment. They really are an inspiration. I totally relate to what you said about how happily married parents can be such good role-models – although sometimes I think it makes me more picky. I just won’t settle for less, or put up with crap. But then, isn’t that the only way to find the kind of person I’d want to spend my life with?
I completely agree with what you said about the importance of communication and faith in a relationship. Although my parents weren’t always the same religion, they have always both had a very strong faith in the same God. And they’re never short of anything to talk about!

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

They are beautiful. :) You are very lucky.

Anais said...

Your parents look (and sound) amazing!! It's so sweet of you to have written a post for them - and the advice was great too :D

Kelly said...

Wow, that is so amazing. I am so happy that you wrote this post. I feel like all I ever hear about anymore is how no one really loves each other after 20+ years of marriage (not to mention 40!). I always tell my fiance, we won't be like that, but it's a little scary when you don't see a lot of people who are still truly happy together, but here is one example! Yay for them!

Katie said...

Congratulations to your parents! That's amazing they've been together so long. My parents have been together for just about 37 years now and they're still having fun together too.

I guess the thing that I've learned from them is that even if you disagree that doesn't mean you don't love each other. My parents are opposites too, and sometimes they have very different opinions which they just agree to disagree about.

Ashley Gerner said...

Hi Lisa,
Oh how I love your parents, and absolutely think that picture of them is so beautiful! I remember seeing it after the wedding and thinking "wow...look at the love!" I was so excited when i got their Christmas card and they used that picutre!
Anyways, I couldn't agree with you more, it wasn't until I got to college that i realized the examples of love I had grown up in with my parents, our grandparents, your parents, were not the norm! How thankful I am to have grown up with such shining examples of love! From my parents I have learned much the same as you have, I kept nodding as I read your post! Opposites certainly can make it work, but you're right, you have to be on the same page on the important things. Communication and compromise is key and romance sprinkled here and there sure doesn't hurt!
I am so happy for your parents and wish them many more years of happiness together!!
love you!

Nicole said...

What a great looking couple! Your parents are so cute! And I love the list of advice.