8 things we learned from our parents about marriage

It should come at no surprise that our parents are our biggest inspirations in our relationship. I mean, c’mon, there’s 80 years of marriage between the two couples!

They are our favorite couples so we just had to interview them on our I Do, We Do podcast. You can hear when Ashley’s parents built their passion for service or hear Billy’s parents talk about their greatest collaboration.

As observers of 63 of our parents 80 years, we picked up a few things along the way that serve as the foundation for our relationship...

  1. We are responsible for the maintenance in our marriage. When you buy a new car, you keep it washed and you get the oil changed, you rotate the tires, you get it inspected along the way. All of that maintenance ensures that it lasts a long time. In a relationship or marriage you must also have routine maintenance along the way.

  2. There is not such thing as a 50/50 partnership. Every relationship or marriage is about each person giving 100 percent and understanding that they will not always be at their best and neither with the other person. When your partner isn’t at their best, they may not be able to give their normal “100”. And that's okay. Marriage is about completing each other and filling in gaps.

  3. An even temper goes a long way. ...or pick your battles. Not everything needs to be a fight or argument. But when you are feeling strongly about something, let your partner know. And because you aren’t a fighter or nit-picky, your partner will know that this is something important to you and will work around your thoughts and feelings.

  4. Balancing roles. Our parents balanced kids, full-time jobs, and other commitments and managed to understand that there are not always defined roles. They came together and did whatever was necessary to accomplish their priorities. They never defined roles based on gender or the way it always had been.

  5. Friendship serves as a strong foundation. When you actually enjoy time with your partner, marriage can be quite enjoyable. The simplest moments can become the most precious.

  6. Fully support each other. A lot of people make statements like “we fully support each other” and then when push comes to shove they don’t actually do it. Our parents supported each other through careers, job changes, education, losses of loved ones, illnesses to loved ones, kids, community involvement and even personal illnesses. Our parent support for each other has never waned and that is something we strive to do as well. We are all in in our support for each other. We want each other to win and we know that WE win when that happens. There is no I in our marriage, except for that I that is literally there.

  7. Serve out of compassion, not duty. We both know for sure where our passion for service came from. There was not one major moment in our lives. Our parents set the tone for us with their hearts for service. They all served differently, but they taught us that true service comes out of compassion for those in need not out of a duty. We serve because our parents did. The model of leadership really rubbed off on us.

  8. Love each other unconditionally. Our parents love has carried them through 80 combined years. Love isn’t always logical, but it does have the power to heal, to move people through tough times. Unconditional love is hard to find and we have found it in each other just like our parents.