When it comes to writing romance, I tend to draw a lot from personal knowledge and experience. Though I have lived a few interesting stories of my own, the truth is that I learned most of what I know about love from my parents. They’ve been my inspiration for as long as I can remember, and they’re the reason I have so much faith in love today. My love stories feature healthy relationships and happy endings because that’s the reality I grew up witnessing every single day.

So what are the secrets to writing a love that’s true? Here are a few tips I learned from my parents that I love to implement as much in my stories as in my personal life. I hope you can learn some valuable lessons from them too! Enjoy!

1) The best kind of love blossoms from friendship.

LovebirdsAnyone who has read at least a few of my romantic stories has no doubt noticed that most of the love I write grows between characters who start out as friends. My parents met well before they got together, and I think the reason they get along so well today is because they’ve known from the very beginning that they have enough in common to make things work. Not too much, of course, but that’s where the next piece of advice comes in…

2) The key to everlasting love is mutual respect.

As alike as they seem sometimes, my parents are two very different people. My mom is soft-spoken and attentive, while my dad is loud and passionate. The key to their successful relationship is that they never try to impose elements of their personalities on each other, but rather appreciate each other’s strengths and accept their differences as the dynamic that keeps their marriage interesting. In other words, they avoid making that common married-couple mistake of trying to change each other. Not that they don’t learn from one another, of course, but when they do, it’s thanks to their intelligence and willingness to each be the best spouse the other deserves, which makes for a much healthier kind of relationship. They’ve become better people together not because they felt obligated to, but because they wanted to.

3) It’s important that you make each other laugh. Always.

When I think back on all the times I’ve noticed my parents interacting, I realize that I’ve heard them laugh much more often than I’ve heard them argue. Even when I’d overhear them getting upset about something, it would never take too long for one of them to say something silly that would start them both laughing about the whole thing. And I’m certain that’s what’s kept them together to this day. If I’ve learned anything from observing my parents’ relationship my whole life, it’s that love is only worth holding onto if it brings you much greater joy than sorrow. This may be the most important piece of advice my dad ever gave us: if you’re not laughing anymore, it’s time to jump ship.

4) Marry someone you love talking to.

Something else I’ve always noticed about my parents’ relationship is that they talk to each other about almost everything. Maybe it’s because they have similar yet distinct ways of thinking, so they’re usually interested in what the other has to say. Occasional difficulties in listening aside (mostly on my father’s part), my mom and dad have always been on the same page when it comes to communication. Of course, this made it nearly impossible for me and my sisters to get away with anything, but that just helped us to grow up as well-disciplined and happy children. That’s another important lesson we learned from our parents: to maintain a healthy relationship, communication is a must.

5) Learn to let the little things go and just enjoy life!

Keep Calm and Love ForeverThis advice technically applies to anyone, but it’s especially important for committed couples. If you and your significant other get hung up on every little thing in your relationship that upsets you, you’re eventually going to drive each other crazy. That’s why my mom and dad never get stuck on minor issues for very long. When it comes to their arguments, they’re more about the “forgive and forget” philosophy, because they know that in the long run, those little spats are not worth stressing over. Instead, they focus on the important things, they support each other through thick and thin, and they make the most of each other’s company to just enjoy life. Can you really imagine a more perfect love than that?

These are the lessons about love that I’ve learned from my parents, and I’m grateful to them every day for the example they’ve set for my sisters and me. I only hope to experience a love like theirs throughout my life, but for now, I’ll keep using it as inspiration for my romantic fiction, as I hope you can too. Good luck! Thanks for reading!

Dedicated to my parents, the happiest couple I know. Thank you for teaching me what true love really is. Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! I love you!

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