GUEST POST: Five Lessons I Learned from My Parents

8 05 2014
Not my parents but they look cute and happy... Photo credit: http://healthyblackmen.org/2012/11/17/hep-crisis-boomers/

Not my parents but they look cute and happy…
Photo credit: http://healthyblackmen.org/2012/11/17/hep-crisis-boomers/

Hi guys, I mentioned to you all a few weeks ago that some changes would be coming to the blog, including but not limited to a drop down in the number of posts per week. Well, another change is that I will be featuring guest bloggers every once in a while to possibly give slightly different perspectives on some of our favorite topics. Today’s guest blogger is no stranger to Choices, Voices, and Sole — in fact, you’ve heard her voice on numerous occasions on the Girl Talk Podcast (which, I promise, is definitely coming back soon).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy — and I can’t wait to read your thoughts in the comments section!

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By CJ, Guest Blogger

My parents have been married for 35 years. I am honestly not sure how they have done it because I can say I don’t know anyone who I have liked for that long, let alone would want to live with or have a kid with; the concept seems so foreign to me right now. The older I get, the more the idea of marriage feels weird and strange to me. I would love to fall in love and get married and have kids and all that, but the older I get, the more I think maybe you only get one of those. However, I am told I am a bit of a romantic (other’s words not mine), so for now I am not giving up hope of finding a companion that I would consider making a life. So in an effort not to be a totally jaded person and give love a chance, I recently reflected on 5 things I could take positively from my parents’ relationship to incorporate in my dating life. So here goes…

1. Know yourself, what you want out of life, and who you really are.

I know this is a common rule of life and is always said as a key to a successful relationship, but I really think people don’t take this one seriously enough. I was once in a long term relationship in college, and I thought I would marry this person. I thought I knew myself at 18, but really I am not at all like the girl that was a bright eyed college freshman and who had never being in a serious relationship prior to that. (What was I thinking?) Sure the core essence of me was there, but I feel so different now. I am so different. I am grown up. And that is not to say that getting married young is wrong or ill advised, but I just know I didn’t really know myself then like I know me now. In talking to my dad about where he was in his life when he asked my mom to marry him he knew exactly who he was, where he was going and what he wanted. Sure it didn’t all work out as planned (whatever does), but he knew who he was and what life he wanted to lead which I think lead him to meet and marry my mom. And the same with her. My mom knew who she was and found a person that accepted all of the parts of her. They knew themselves, and I think that helped them last as long as they have.

2. Ignore stupid people…really everyone

There are a lot of people who like to talk and tell you about your relationships, what you are doing, and how you are living your life, but let me be the 1st to tell you that they don’t know ish about your life. And that even goes for your very best friends and confidants. Yes they mean well, and they care, but one thing I have learned from my parents is they are a united team. They may not agree on everything, but they talk to each other about it and not other people. They work out their issues together. I think that is really important to consider when wanting to share a life with someone. At the end of the day it’s you and that other person making decisions, so block out the noise and ignore them all and just be in your relationship together. People will talk about you no matter what, good and bad, but you have to be with this person or not, so it needs to be between you two at the end of the day.

3. Push each other to make your dreams come true.

My parents both grew up from very humble beginnings and worked for the same organizations their entire careers. Me on the other hand – I seem to be in a new place and job every 2-3 years. But my parents were able to make a very comfortable life for our family. I saw them push and encourage each other in all types of facets in their lives, especially in their careers. The list is endless when I think about it. So for me wanting to pursue a pretty scary career that will have lots of ups and downs, I absolutely know I want a person who will allow me to push them a bit more and will encourage me as well. If you aren’t trying to reach the next level together then what are you trying to do?

4. Be friends and enjoy each other’s company

I don’t know if my parents will admit to being friends (cause I don’t think parents think that way, or at least not mine) but I see it. I know that when it’s all said and done they are friends, they are each other’s best friends and I think that will help a couple get through really tough times in a relationship. Yes loving someone is also essential, but genuinely liking the person and caring for them and wanting to see them do well is necessary to making a relationship last. There will be days, weeks and months where you don’t like the person, but if that friendship is there, no matter the result you will want to see them do well in life.

5. Know that all days won’t be perfect and that’s okay

I know a lot of people who have gotten married and already broken up. Now I am not judging any of these people at all, but I wonder if their relationships were really beyond repair. Being an only child I was privy to a lot of my parents relationship whether I liked it or not, but I honestly think it made me a lot smarter when it comes to knowing how successful relationships work. Now I will admit I am not the best picker when it comes to guys, but I have relationship insight that I think comes from watching my parents. I know the dark days will come and go and how you handle them means everything. Being in a relationship is hard work, marriage is even harder, but if you truly love and care for the other person, you will get past the petty stuff and maybe avoid a lot of it. It won’t be all good — I mean was every day of your life good when you were single? So I don’t know why people think every day or week or month in a relationship will be awesome. Now that doesn’t mean stick it out if it’s really bad, but let’s be more realistic when it comes to being in committed relationships. I think learning to live and grow and sharing the same goals will help you get past the nonsense and stop thinking that everything needs to be perfect because nothing is.

What do you all think? Are there any lessons you’ve learned from watching your parents succeed or fail at their relationships?

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2 responses

8 05 2014
brenda

Hey CJ! I agree wholeheartedly with every point but #2 and #5 really resonate with me. Everyone always has an opinion and this was a bit of an issue for me when I first started dating my husband. Instead of focusing on the “us”, I was trying to be like everyone else. And #5 is freaking key because I think people forget that its ok to experience a rough patch here and there as long as it makes you stronger. I don’t like my husband every single day but I still love him and am determined to make our marriage last.
Great post!

8 05 2014
dbaham

I completely agree, Brenda! I had an amen session when I originally read her post haha. I’ve definitely had to learn #2 and #5 in my dating life recently, so I can only imagine how prevalent it would be once I get married.

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