My parents divorced when I was 16, and let's just say it wasn't an amicable split. Did that make me afraid to marry? Not at all. Did I learn a lot from their relationship? You bet I did, both good and bad. Contrary to the reasonable notion that children who witness their parents' lousy relationship or bitter divorce may be more likely to have relationship problems of their own, I like to think that we can either mimic our parents' relationship or pave a new path for ourselves. The experts say it's possible. In fact, some even say that observing a bad relationship while growing up can make us even more determined to make our relationships strong, healthy and happy.
Just what do we learn from our parents' marriage? Plenty, according to iVillage women -- some less-than-positive things but also some wonderfully helpful tips, too. Here are some of the most helpful lessons iVillage members learned from watching what went on at home.
Communication is Key
"There is no open communication between my parents," says Newyorican. "There are too many secrets and no affection. They've been married for 38 years, and I can't figure out why they're still together." Not a pretty marital picture, that's for sure, but Newyorican is using her parents' problems to help build a better relationship for herself. She says that even though her husband can be quite closed when he wants to be, they are working to keep the lines of communication open between them.
Mini17 has a good communication example to follow. Her parents have a wonderful relationship, she says: "I'm sure they've had their share of problems, but my mom is a great communicator. She makes sure she and my dad talk about everything. They understand each other and are really comfortable with each other. In fact, after 40 years of marriage, they would be lost without each other. From them, I've learned how important communication is in a relationship. So far, it has worked well -- I've been married for eight years now."