What is a good marriage?

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While working as a graduate research assistant for the Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative, I have gained not only knowledge, but experience working with people from different cultures and age groups. On July 16, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the Let’s Get Real: Healthy Teens, Healthy Families and Responsible Fatherhood Regional Summit in Montgomery, Alabama.

One of my favorite parts of the ACHMI conference is how we, as a group, honor youth from across the state of Alabama and the families that they write about in “The Best Marriage I Know” essay contest. It is heartwarming and uplifting to learn about the families who are setting a great example of what a marriage should be for the youth of Alabama.

When I think about the best marriage I know, I think about my parents. After only 9 months of knowing each other, they married on September 13, 1981. They have always told me, “When you know, you know.” They saw the same values and morals in each other. As my mom has said about my father, “He was honest, he didn’t play any games, and he showed me exactly who he was from the very beginning. I knew he was the kind of person that I could be with for the rest of my life.” My dad has always appreciated the fact that my mom let him be true to himself. She never tried to change him and supported him for who he was and the goals he set for himself and his family. They started off as friends and allowed their love to grow for each other without being inhibited by fear of losing each other. They made a strong, knowledgeable decision to spend the rest of their life with each other and dedicate themselves to the other.

Life was not easy for the two of them at first. They had no money, no job, and no support. As corny as it may sound, they said that was the closest they ever were because they had love. They were both still in graduate school but fought relentlessly to keep their marriage alive.

They trust each other, honor each other, and respect each other. It has not always been a perfect marriage. Conflict is inevitable in every relationship; however, it is how you handle the conflict that matters. My parents have learned how to communicate and meet each other in the middle. They have also included their faith in God in their decisions for their family. They have kept a strong faith in God, themselves, and each other.

My parents have set a very high standard for me and my future husband. I will keeping looking until I find a man that will treat me with as much respect and priority as my father does my mother.

Thanks mom and dad.

As you look for a future partner, know what you want in a husband/wife. Know yourself first and the goals, plans, and expectations you have for yourself. Make sure whoever you choose to be with is ‘on the same page’ as you for the future. Don’t jump into anything you are not ready for and haven’t made a conscientious decision to be in. Love yourself, then allow yourself to love someone else.

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