Mama Knows Best

When I was going through my awkward phase, I thought my parents were SOOO embarrassing. They would hold hands when we were out in public! Sometimes they would even kiss in front of me! Gag! Now that I’m a little bit wiser, I realize how awesome my parents, Pam and Ed–I’ve nicknamed them Pammy Pie and Eduardo for really no reason– actually are. They’ve been married for 30 years, and they’ve been together for 35 years. Can you even fathom that? They started dating when my mom was a freshman in college and my dad was a sophomore! Some girls wonder, “How do I meet boys in college?” and then they automatically assume it can’t be done. Not true! My parents are just one example of college sweethearts who went on to get married and have a family. There is hope!

The reason I decided to write this piece is because I keep reading about celebrity break-ups (and celebrities impregnating their maids), and websites designed for you to cheat on your spouse, and other things that I feared signified the end of true, eternal love. Quite frankly it depresses me. Then I started thinking about my own parents and everything they’ve been through together, and I thought to myself, ” Self, there is hope!”  Since I write a lot about making relationships work, I decided to sit down with my mama and get her advice. She’s made her relationship last for 35 years. I figured she probably had something good to say. I was right.

Lauren: You’ve been married for 30 years. That’s a long time. Does it feel like that long?

Pammy Pie (my mom): That’s kind of like asking “Do you feel older or younger than you are?” It feels like a long time, but in a good way because we have so much shared history.  We don’t have to fill in any backstory. We have so many inside jokes. We can enjoy a lot of “remember whens.”

L: How do you prevent boredom in the marriage?

PP: It’s like having a best friend all the time, but you can’t spend every second together. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Each of you has to have your own interests, and you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it. I am never going to be a sports lover. Ever. But I tolerate the occasional football game to be companionable. And at the end of the day, Dad and I come back together and share our days and have new stuff to bring to the table. I guess what I’m saying is, keep growing as an individual and you will stay interesting as a partner.

L: What are some of the basic principles that every relationship must have?

PP: This is easy. Trust and space. Each partner needs to be able to trust each other. And each partner needs personal space to pursue interests without being checked up on. Once one of those is violated, the balance of the relationship is shattered. Also, each person needs to care about the other person as much as they do about themselves.

L: What are some good qualities to look for when trying to find a boyfriend/girlfriend?

PP: The ability to be loyal. Strong morals (see how your significant other treats his/her mother and father). The ability to be self-analytical. The ability to say “I’m sorry “if they screw up.

L: It seems like so many celebrities (and mortals, too) give up on marriage and long-term relationships. How did you and Eduardo make it through hard times?

PP: We refused to give up. Things were tough, but we always believed in the inherent value of our marriage. We always thought we were better together than apart. Neither of us ever thought we’d be happier apart, or that divorce was an answer when times got tough.

L: Why do you think so many people get divorced now?

PP: Some people should be divorced, but many people just plain give up too quickly. They’re not willing to do the work that needs to be done to fix the problem. They’re not able to say “I’m sorry” or admit they screwed up. It can often be really hard to stay married when times are tough, but life can be hard. You need to develop a strong inner core to get through every day without being damaged by life’s outside influences. Who said marriage was easy? Who said life was easy? But a strong, loving marriage is worth a little effort.

She’s a smart cookie, right? What do you guys think about my mom’s words of wisdom? Are you already using these ideas in your relationship? Are you trying to find a relationship that has these qualities? Talk to me on twitter @lifewithlauren1 or on my VYou channel.

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About the Author,

Proud Syracuse University alum. I work in radio by day, but at night I run my blog "Life with Lauren"( I'm also a freelance writer and contribute to other terrific blogs (such as the one you're reading right now). I've been dating a great guy for three years. Our relationship started right as I was leaving to study abroad in London for a semester, so I write a lot about long-distance relationships. Find me on Twitter: @lifewithlauren1. Thanks for reading!