Friday, July 17, 2009

The Parental Relationship Effect

When it comes to what you think about romantic love, it’s no secret that your parents’ relationship tends to exert the greatest influence. Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about how true this is regardless of how well – or not – that relationship stands the test of time.

Much has been said about the impact of divorce. As someone fortunate enough to grow up with a mother and father who genuinely adored each other, though, I can’t help wondering – does that circumstance too bring its own complications?

Having gone through quite a few bumps in the road before getting married (including two divorces between them and a fiery courtship), Mom and Dad were all the more appreciative of what they found in each other.

Like any couple, they had their difficult times. But they never took one another for granted. I remember walking into their room on many occasions to find them giggling and curled up like newlyweds. And seeing Mom run into Dad’s arms whenever he came home at the end of the day.

I also remember a conversation with Dad about my quest to find a similar version of happily ever after.

“Well,” he said bluntly, “You might not find what we had…how many people do you know that have been swept off their feet?”

“I know a few,” I insisted, dismayed at the suggestion that I should lower my expectations – while also understanding the loving intentions behind it.

“I just want to see you settled,” Dad said.

Sometimes I wonder if my fear of settling period – of not doing justice to the legacy of my parents’ love – has kept me from taking the leap of faith that goes along with truly committing to another person. Which is why, for as happy as I am being single, I remind myself of something Mom often told me--

“You can try and you can fail. But if you don’t try, it’s for sure you’re going to fail.”

That’s the great thing about love. As my parents discovered for themselves, you get more than one chance to get it right.

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