Part of growing up is learning to see your parents beyond their roles as just mom or dad. As a teen, you tend to have little interest in hearing about their love lives prior to when you were born. Teenagers don’t care about who broke mom’s heart before dad came along, or how close your dad had been to marrying his college sweetheart. But as you get older, you’re eager to hear those stories and learn from the mistakes and positive moves they made on their way to finding each other. In this article, we asked both men and women to share the best relationship advice they’ve received from their parents.
Never Stop Courting – “My dad not only gave me this advice once, he’s also truly lead by example. It boils down to ‘never stop courting.’ He told me before my wedding day to make sure you’re always doing special things for your wife to show her you love her. This not only means leaving little love notes and surprising her with small gifts, but it also means pulling your weight: cooking meals, doing dishes and taking out the garbages. Do anything you can do to help her never forget how completely devoted you are to her. My dad turns 94 in March, celebrating 42 years of marriage, and he still does all of that and more as a husband.” – Jonas Seaman
Family Has To Come First – “The best relationship advice I got from my parents was to always be a team and to focus on your family first, above all else. My parents have been married for 55 years and like most marriages, they’ve endured some tough times (the loss of a child, for one), but they remained loyal, loving and trustworthy through it all. As devoted Catholics, they have always remained true to their vows and love for one another. I respect them so much for providing me with such loving parenting and relationship advice along the way.” – Stacey Sainato
Get Comfortable Being Wrong – “My mom once told me: It’s never essential to be 100% right. In order for a relationship to work, both parties have to be willing to be wrong on a disagreement, to see their part, and to meet halfway.” – Kristin Addis
Words Can Do Irreparable Damage – “Mine is actually from my father-in-law. He told me a parable once: Your spouse is like a plank of wood, and saying something mean is like hammering a nail into that plank of wood. You can apologize and remove that nail, but the hole in the plank is still there. And if you do that enough times, the plank will eventually break. Coming from a father-in-law, I took it as a warning to think before I speak to his daughter! Later, I drew a comic of that advice.” – Jonathan Jui
Don’t Assume Everyone Wants A Relationship – “The best relationship advice my mom ever gave me was not to assume everyone wants a serious relationship. There’s nothing wrong with casual dating as long as both people are on the same page. Unfortunately, since society tells us dating should always lead to marriage, many folks say they’re looking for something long-term when they really just want some action. She told me to have the ‘what are your intentions’ conversation upfront and to objectively assess their motivation to avoid headaches and dishonesty.” – Sunny Megatron
People Reveal How They’ll Treat You Early On – “‘The issue you have on the third date you’ll have forever’ was one of the best pieces of advice I received from my mom. I’ve not only used this advice personally, but professionally to advise my audience. It’s a helpful reminder that a lot of the information we need to decide if someone is a good match is literally presented to us right away. We then get to choose if we’re ready to pay attention to the warning signs. It’s a similar intention to one of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou, ‘When people show you who they are, believe them.'” – Emily Morse