I've heard the saying, "The best gift parents can ever give to their children is to love each other."
I've had the pleasure of witnessing the truth of this statement for over 40 years. From as far back as I can remember my Mom and Dad were a team. A great partnership. They were more than just a partnership. It was as if they were one person.
Sure, they argued, but there was never any doubt in our minds that any disagreements would be worked through and resolved. Mom and Dad began their married life poor, but they worked hard and over the years, built a very successful business. They each had their strengths and weaknesses, but the way they worked together, you never saw the weaknesses, just the strengths.
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Dad was the outgoing, more public person with whom people met and fell in love with right away. Everyone knew Dad! Then, when they got to meet Mom, they felt the exact same way about her as well. Mom, although not at all shy, was more comfortable being the person behind the scenes. More details oriented, she ran the books and according to Dad, was the one who really made the business work.
The biggest lesson about love and marriage that my mom and dad taught us kids was how to talk "about" your spouse. Have you ever heard husbands and wives when speaking to others make unkind remarks about their spouses? It's one of those things people just seem to do. Sure, they're "only kidding" or maybe they are not. But words matter. And words teach, whether positively or negatively.
You would never hear such a thing from my mom and dad. Dad always speaks of Mom in the most complimentary, glowing terms. Mom does the same of him.
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This lesson made such an impression on me. I still remember when I was age twelve and we were installing carpets in our home. The crew boss was one of those stereotypical beer guzzling, hard-living guys, who would have probably belonged to Ralph Kramden's Raccoon Lodge from the old Honeymooner's TV show. For lunch, my folks bought pizza for the crew. Dad went to talk with the boss about the job. I was around the corner listening.
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