Thoughts. They are my (Christine) thoughts and no one else's.
Relationships: From my observations only, these make them last.
We have 2 boys that are now grown. We have told them that we have only 2 “rules” for them. 1 – We must meet them before they marry them. Whether they still marry or not is their business. 2 – They must be FRIENDS first before they marry them.
Now as to why I give them those 2 rules. For rule 1, if they cannot (or will not) introduce us what are you afraid of? You should be fine with letting family meeting your intended bride/groom.
Rule 2 takes a little more explanation. I say friends for at least 5 years because quite honestly the sex will die down or life takes it toll on time and you better have other things to talk about. You should have some stuff that you do together and some stuff that you do apart. Most people cannot be together 24/7 and stay together, there are rare exceptions thou. You must trust each other, if you cannot trust your partner there is no reason to take it any further like marriage. Always try to treat each other the same way for when you first got together. By that I mean keep opening doors. Keep saying please and thank you. Try to never take them for granted. Think about whether you not only love them but whether you like them as well. There is a difference. Remember that even if kids come along that you must never forget about your partner. Your partner must come first. I do not mean to forget about the kids but they will grow up and move out, your partner will be there (hopefully) after that. If you get so upset that you know you are gonna say something you really shouldn't then walk away, make sure you work it out with your partner that you will both do that instead of saying something in the heat of the moment that would hurt more than help. If you have a problem with they are doing then talk about it. If writing it out would help more than set that up with your partner.
Ladies this is for you – If you are with someone for a length of time and the only you can say is “He doesn't want to get married. He won't propose”. Really?!? You are basing your self worth on a piece of paper? Get on with life and live it. Stop worrying about a piece of paper.
Try to start as young as possible with meaning what you say. What I mean by that is if you say “No” then do NOT go back on that. They don't need or want 10 minute explanations as to why they can or cannot do something. If you say “Maybe, I will think about it” actually mean it and then let know your decision and again try to not go back on that. The later you start the more problems may occur. If they understand from the start that you say what you mean then when they get to be a teenager it should be much easier to help them stay on the right course. The question to ask yourself is do you want the kids to tell you how to live or are you the one to teach your child how to live in the world? If it is you that should teach them then you need to take the upper hand and keep it. Anytime you let them scream and holler to get their way you lose some of your control over the situation. If they start to throw a temper tantrum be prepared to let them, you can sit there quietly and they will realize very soon that it won't work and they will be more likely to not do that as often anymore. Of course not all kids are the same so there is some tweaking to do on stuff but the basic premise of not giving in is the same.
I got asked a lot how I got the kids to stay in their beds and sleep when there was any noise in the other rooms. I just did not try to make it quiet or try to “keep the noise down” so the kids were used to it from the very beginning. When the youngest was in middle school and high school a lot of his friends asked if we would adopt them. Not sure if it was something in their house or what I just asked why. The response was always “Because you do things WITH him”. We did not just take the kids to this practice or that place and then let someone else do things with them. We actually went places together and did activities together. We played lots of board, dice, and card games. We played computer games. We enjoyed all the games that he and his friends liked. We did not try to be his friend but his parents. But we did do lots of the same things so we were together a lot. Games are a part of life but books are also in there. There were times that games went off for a day and books were read. There were also times that we just took a Saturday and just made it a pajama and computer game day. Usually Saturday's were a major clean the house day, all of us took a room and cleaned it completely. Both of us worked and it was easier for us to put one day aside to do that, since we all were expected to step and do it then it only really took a few hours.
Remember that what ever you show them that's what they will learn to do. I don't care what you tell them to do, if they see something different that's what will show up. If you aren't always saying please and thank you then they will not. If you are screaming, yelling and cussing people out, guess what they will do? What ever you want your kids to do growing up then you need to do it. That is the only way to teach them. They are parrots in that respect.