Real Simple readers share valuable lessons about relationships. 

By Real Simple
Updated January 17, 2017
@elleandizzy, #womenIRL via Instagram
@elleandizzy, #womenIRL via Instagram

@elleandizzy family photo

“It starts at home. My parents taught me that the best way to show my children love is by loving my spouse.” — Kristy Branscum, Conway, Arkansas


“Love crosses over religious, social, economic, and political lines.” — Stacey Allen Moore, Henderson, Nevada


“Love unconditionally. My parents have been married 65 years. I learned that the secret to a lasting marriage is respect, admiration, and patience. Lots of laughter helps, too!” — Susan Coyne, Hamilton, New Jersey


“The golden rule. When it comes to love, my parents taught me to be accepting, be patient, and, above all, be kind.” — Maria Speranza, Los Angeles, California


“Relationships are never 50/50. In order to be successful, you have to go all in. If it’s not 100/100 it will never work. Thanks, Mom and Dad.” — Mary Green-Durbin, Centerburg, Ohio


“She taught me love is not about how you feel. It’s what you do and how you do it.” — @bebebirdie


“Forgiveness is vital. It’s a must for individual healing, new blessings, clarity in life, renewing faith, and rebuilding trust.” — Rita Dumas, Louisville, Kentucky


“It doesn’t have to end with divorce. Even though my parents parted ways after 18 years of marriage, they continued to care about, support, and stay in touch with each other for the rest of their lives. They moved on to other marriages, but my holidays were spent with all of us together—both my parents, their new spouses, and their kids.” — Lori J. Wyrick, Vancouver, Washington


“Love was my dad coming home with surprise candy bars for me and my brother. It was being tucked in and given a kiss good night. Love was Dad with his corny jokes and great sense of humor. And it was seeing the love and admiration he had for my mother. He was love.” — Claire Fay Miller, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania


“Love is an action. My Dad ingrained in my that love is not a fleeting emotion. It’s about putting someone else’s needs before your own.” — Holly R. Layer, East Aurora, New York


“I was adopted, and my parents taught me that love is unconditional and that family comes in many forms.” — Kelly Barney, Battle Creek, Michigan


“On their 50th anniversary, my parents were asked what the secret to their marriage was. “Respect,” they said. My mother said there might have been times over the years when they didn’t like one another, but they always had respect for each other.” — Brenda Thompson, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


“Dedication. My Mother was ill when I was a teenager, and my Dad worked full-time and took care of her and three girls.” — Debbie Wnuk, Rehoboth, Massachusetts


“Love is letting you have the last bite of chocolate cake.” — Mimi Sinagoga, Dover, New Hampshire