She says, "Don't get me wrong. I love your dad. I always have. We created a beautiful life together and I wouldn't change a thing, but now I know that I like to talk. When I was younger, I didn't know how much I needed that. Back then, people married for life. I didn't really think about things like 'Will he watch The Ed Sullivan Show with me?' We both just wanted to have a good life and healthy kids. Do I wish we had long, soulful talks? Sure. If I had known then that I needed that, I may have chosen a different kind of person, but I also knew he was a very good man."
My parents didn't demand from each other what we seem to demand today from our relationships. My dad loved sports but didn't insist she be on the golf course handing him his driver. Instead, he taught my sister and brother to play. My mom didn't complain about his lack of conversation; she found other outlets. She had us kids, her friends, and her extended family.
My parents knew it was all right if not every single one of their needs were being met by the other, because commitment to the life they shared and created was a bigger reward than anything else. So what if my dad wasn't clued in on the latest gossip? Or that my mom was perfectly okay never learning to ride a bike or swim? (A side note: I venture to say that my mom never exercised because she had to escape from her village during the war by hiking—at night, by herself—over some seriously steep mountains. I think she just thought, "That's pretty much it for exercise for the rest of my life.")
As we pull up to church, my parents are laughing and humorously harassing each other. My dad is helping my mom out of the car. The boys are helping my dad help my mom. I let my parents walk ahead, and, as Dad guides Mom toward the church, ask myself, "Would I ever want two other people as my parents?" The answer is immediate: "Not me!"
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