I have written before about how few marriage skills I acquired from growing up with my parents, who were staying together only for the benefit of us kids.
Today I want to speak in praise and even awe about my son and daughter-in-law. Theirs is a cross-cultural marriage lived in three very different countries, and they’ve been going strong for 22 years already.
Her parents are in an arranged marriage in another culture, and her mother had to give up a big dream when she married. Two of their five children required a good bit of extra care, too.
His parents (my first husband and I) were a very lucky match made in heaven for his first seven years and an unskilled disaster at handling the challenges of the next two years, which ended when his father died very suddenly right after our son’s ninth birthday. I did not remarry while he was growing up, so I did not get to model much of how to succeed at marriage.
Somehow, both of them have found their way. In his culture, it’s important to marry a person you love, but these days much less important to stay married if you fall out of love. In her culture, it’s wrong to know someone well enough to fall in love before marriage but important to work at loving whomever you marry. Perhaps these two different approaches are mutually supportive. I don’t know.
All I know is that I am very proud of them. Marriage isn’t easy even when you grow up with the same values and live in one place all your life, not unless you’ve learned some healthy marriage skills. They have so much love and admiration for each other, and they have raised three really great kids as a team.
My second husband and I are two years behind them on our marriage journey. Our stressors have been fewer, but we need to rely a lot on marriage skills we learned as adults, and these skills have served us well. We would have been a disastrous couple if we’d married younger.
If your parents were not great role models, I hope you will take the time to learn about marriage. The rewards are really great, not just for you but for your children, too.