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Have you ever wondered what kind of relationship your child
will gravitate toward as a young adult? We all hope for a loving and lasting
relationship for our kids. Having a marriage that weathers rough times, the
baby years, stock market crashes and raising teens isn't as easy as it seems.
My husband and I have been together so long I can't always remember what life
was like before we met. And while marrying your high school flame isn't always
the best route to lasting love, somehow back when we were passing notes in
class and going to the prom, we must have known it was something special.
See, the crazy thing is that our daughter is 16 now—the
same age I was when we started dating in high school. And while 16-year-old me
felt incredibly grown-up and mature, playing the role of the mom this time
around feels crazy. But having parents who pretty much just fell in love and
that was that makes for a pretty unrealistic picture of dating, love and
marriage for a teenage girl. What do I want my daughter to see in my marriage?
1. True love isn't all hugs and kisses
My husband and I aren't big on flowery gestures like holding
hands or walking arm-in-arm. But he has my back 24/7 whether I need advice, an
extra set of hands in the kitchen, a shoulder to cry on or just someone who
will listen to me whine. That right there is worth more to me every single day
than a year's worth of roses. But I do love the flowers that always seem to
appear on our anniversary. Aw.
2. Laughing matters
One thing I wouldn't trade for anything is my husband's
sense of humor. It doesn't always make sense to the kids, but he makes me laugh
every single day. I want my daughter to find someone who not only makes her
heart beat a bit faster, but makes her snort-laugh several times a week.
3. Love doesn't equal stuff
Over the years, I have seen several marriages where the
couple seemed to have so much—on the surface, anyway. Expensive vacations,
jewelry, luxury cars, divorce. The couples who have all the things are often
the couples who truly don't have it all. My husband has given me some of the
most thoughtful and beautiful gifts over the years, and I have tried to do the
same. I want my daughter to appreciate gifts, obviously. But I also want her to
see that things don't equal love. There's a big difference.
4. As much as you love him, don't lose yourself
It's easy to get so wrapped up in each other that everything else fades away.
you're in a young relationship, it's easy to get so wrapped up in each other
that everything else fades away. But some of the very things that draw a couple
together blur and disappear if they spend too much time together. I like to
write, read magazines, meet up with friends and go wine tasting. My husband
likes to ride his bicycle, work on perfecting his home-brewed hard cider, watch
old war movies and build things. Not a lot of overlap there, but I promise, it
keeps things interesting. And we have lots of things we love to do together, too.
5. True love weathers the storms
Life has rough edges. And the thing about true love in a marriage—and
true friendship, for that matter—is that it helps to smooth these edges. You
never know what your storms will be, but if you find someone who will be your
rock in the middle of the swirling seas it's worth all the flower bouquets and
diamond rings. Trust me. I want my daughter to find her rock.
Does my daughter really see all these things in her parents'
relationship? Maybe not now, but the first time a young man makes her
snort-laugh she will probably make the connection. It might be true love.