Their example to me has been a great one of what it means in a practical sense to no longer be two individuals going their separate ways but to cleave to each other as a married couple. During the time that I've known them, they haven't "done their own things" without considering the other. They've loved and supported each other, even showing support to the extended families that they married in to.
That's a lesson we can all learn whether we've been married for 1 year, 25 years, or 50 years. We live in a world that encourages us to do "what's best for us", individually, to put "us" at the top of the totem pole. I think we've forgotten what it's like to put others needs and desires above our own. There's no other relationship where this is more important than in the marriage relationship. It may be in reference to a specific need or sometimes it may just be a desire of our spouse, something that we'd really prefer not to do if we were thinking only about ourselves. It's times like those that I need to remember the examples that I have been fortunate enough to have in my life and specifically the example of my mother and father-in-law, Mary and Joe Smith.
In-laws have been the butt of jokes as long as I can remember. They have gotten a bad rap over the years. They're portrayed as bossy and meddling. While I'm sure there are some who fit that description well, there also are some who can teach us valuable lessons if we open our minds to that possibility.
While we haven't always agreed on everything and although we've gotten on each other's nerves at times, I'm thankful for mine. They've taught me volumes about what it means to no longer be two but one, not through any lecturing or meddling but by their example. Hmmmm...It is true...Actions do speak so much louder than words.