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What I Want My Daughter to See in My Marriage

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.

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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.

Especially when 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.

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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.

Image via Getty Images

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