My parents have a fairytale relationship. They are both amazing people, inside and out, and deserve each other wholeheartedly. My mother is the kind of woman I aspire to be and my father is the kind of man I want to marry. I can only hope and dream I have a marriage half as wonderful as theirs. The best part about it is that they’ve risen from the bottom and started out with nothing. Everything they did, they did it together and got with the love, support, and respect from each other. Mom and dad, thank you for always putting Costa and I before yourselves and never regretting it or resenting us for it. I promise to make you proud and you’ll be happy to know I’ll never settle for less than what I deserve because you’ve shown me what love is and I don’t want anything less. Thanks for raising me in a house filled with love. Happy 24th anniversary! Here’s what else you’ve taught me:
1. 24 years doesn’t have to feel like 24 years when you find your soul mate. My parent’s act like they’re best friends. They make fun of each other and laugh. They’ve gone through the lowest lows and the highest highs, together, and I don’t think either would have made it through without each other. They don’t act lovey-dovey because the honey moon ended a long time ago but you can still see how happy they are when they’re with each other. It’s beautiful.
2. Fights aren’t really fights when you fight with someone you love. I have never ever seen my parents scream at each other. I’ve never heard either of them call each other awful names out of spite. At times, both will have different views but they voice them respectfully. It’s not a hard concept; don’t ever say something you can’t take back just because you’re mad over something that can be resolved in .05 seconds.
3. Take a chance. I love the story of how my parent’s met. My dad fell for my mom and she wasn’t having it. She was skeptical and kept her distance. My dad was even seeing someone at the time but when he met my mom he broke up with the girl and pursued a long distance relationship. Isn’t that nuts? I can’t imagine that working in today’s world. But, they should be your example to follow your gut instinct about someone.
4. Give AND Take. Don’t take until he brakes. Don’t give too much to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Give and take, equally. My mom moved to South Carolina for my dad after they got married. Then, they moved back to Mass because it was the right thing to do. They both tried and did what was best for their relationship and their family. Uprooting is a big deal and involved a lot of give and take. They both trusted each other and that’s why they’re still in love today.
5. Don’t be too stubborn. Don’t ever change who you are for someone. Don’t ever act like someone else to be what he wants. Don’t be a pushover or back down. Always be strong, rely on yourself, and do what’s best for yourself. Voice your needs and wants and be smart enough about what is worth going through any trouble for. Your actions affect more than yourself in a relationship.
6. Keep laughing. There will always be bills to pay, stupid people to deal with, and 80+ hours work weeks to get through. You’d never know what my parents have to deal with on a daily basis by their friendly faces. They are genuinely good people. They make each other happy and laugh. I can’t wait to have that.
7. Accept the whole package, not just your favorite parts. When you marry someone it comes with a whole lot more than just the person. You get their baggage, their family, their debt, their history. You don’t get to pick and choose the good parts, the parts that you can deal with. Or, ignore the bad parts, the parts that will test your patience and love. Both of my parents come from crazy Greek families, as do you, and they both were accepting of everything. They both knew what they were getting into and miraculously still chose each other.
8. You know when you find it. My parents were so young when they met each other and got married. My mom likes to joke that she didn’t even know my dad when she moved to SC and it was the scariest time of her life. My mom is a smart, strong woman. She knew exactly what she found when she met my dad. You will too.
9. Work together. I mean work together literally. My parents have worked together since before I was born in the same restaurant, side by side. I don’t think too many couples could do that and still like each other. They compliment each other and balance each other out. They know all the strengths and weaknesses and have become an unstoppable team.
10. Be supportive. Times get tough. Life throws curve balls constantly. Usually, they’re 90+ mph curve balls to the face, just saying. You have to be strong, not only for yourself, but also, for your partner. The reliability can’t always be one sided. The guy can’t always be tough and fix things. And, the girl can’t always sit back and take it. People reach their breaking points and you need to have a solid support system to back you up for those days where you just need a break.
11. Don’t rush. Always take your time. Rushing has been the downfall of most of my relationships. Just because things are fine and dandy in the beginning doesn’t mean it can always remain like that. If it’s meant to be, it will be. And, you’ll know it. So, don’t force anything and just enjoy each other.
12. Good person, good spouse, good life. You want a good person. Someone who will be nice to strangers. Someone who will treat you like a princess and not play games with your mind, even though he knows you’re wrapped around his finger. Someone who knows the potential you have and push you there, without breaking your spirits. Someone to be the father of your children because you want to raise a son just like him. Someone to love you on good days and bad days, unconditionally.