Mom and Dad are quite different from each other. Mom can't stop talking and chattering and laughing. Dad is quiet, mostly engrossed with his newspapers and his thoughts. But he listens to Mom. Well, she makes sure he listens.
In my siblings and me, they have instilled a great family bond. My brother, sister and I are great friends. There aren't any unnecessary egos in our relationship, and that bond has come from the upbringing our parents gave us.
Dad always wanted us to be completely independent. His logic was "We are not going to be with the children for their entire lives. We have to make sure they grow up sensible, to be able to make their decisions themselves." Mom would worry, Dad would calm her down. I went to college across the country, and my mom would be on edge from the time I left home, till the time I reached college and could be contacted on phone (there were no cell phones back then, so when you were out, you were really out).
I grew up in India, and that's where my parents still live. In India, to a large extent, arranged marriages are still the norm. (A lot is changing now, but parents would still like to make the matches). When I decided I wanted to marry DH, and I told my parents, their reaction completely surprised me. Dad said he did not want to ~make~ me marry someone else, because then I would be unhappy, and would keep my husband unhappy. And that would make DH end up marrying someone else, and they would be unhappy too. My parents did not want to be responsible for 4 people being unhappy. Worked out well for us. :-)
My parents have recently learnt to use the internet, and I am so proud of them for doing that! My biggest surprise came when my dad pinged me and said he had got a webcam and a skype account and he wanted to video conference with us! When you live half the way across the world, that's a great blessing!
In the 37 years that I have known my parents, I've never seen my dad angry. He is so calm in the face of so many ups and downs in life. I've never seen my mom stop supporting him. They have always laughed their way through anything that challenged them. There is tremendous amount of respect and love in their relationship, and even now, they share a spark which is so rare.
This post is to wish my parents many many more years together. Many more laughs together, many more moments together.
And I sincerely hope that one day I can give them their first grandchild (unless my brother or sister beat me to it - which wouldn't be too bad either), and with their help, I can instill the same sense of family and sensible, honest independence in my children.