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9 Love Lessons We Learned from Our Grandmothers

Words of Wisdom That Span Generations

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While the dating scene has definitely changed over the years (hello, Tinder!), there are some truths about love that never change. In honor of Mother's Day, we asked Shape readers and editors to share the best romantic advice—some of it sassy, some of it sweet—from the wisest women in our lives: grandmothers. These tips about navigating the tricky world of romance can apply to any dating scenario, whether it's 1940 or 2014. [Tweet these tips!]

Photo: Locke Hughes

The Answers Should Be Easy

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"When I was little, I remember asking my grandmother how you know that a guy is 'the one.' She simply replied: "'Will you marry me?' should be the easiest question you ever answer in your life." The first time she went out with my grandfather, she was sick as a dog—she went anyway, though. She always said, 'I knew if I cancelled, he'd never ask again. Sometimes you just have to pull yourself together and go.' They were married 50 years." –Cassie Shortsleeve, Shape senior web editor

Photo: Cassie Shortsleeve

Stay Warm and Stay Single

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"This past winter when it was freezing in New York, my grandmother who lives in Oxford, Mississippi emailed me to say: 'Stay warm and stay single.' This is a picture of us wearing matching fur, when she cut her long coat to make me a vest! She's the best." –Cara Sanders, reader

Photo: Cara Sanders

Treasure What You Have

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"My grandmother always tells me and my boyfriend to treat each other right, put any fights behind us, and just enjoy each other because what we have is so special! If we've had a tiff, her optimism and advice to just love each other makes me realize how petty our fight is. And she never forgets to reapply her lipstick before my grandfather comes come from work—something totally old fashioned, but I find it really sweet that she wants to look her best for him!" –Michelle Postorino, reader

Photo: Michelle Postorino

Be Best Friends

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"My grandmother told me, 'Whoever you fall in love with should be your friend first. Rather than love at first sight, you have to like the person and really know the person. The love happens because of that.' She met my grandfather at a Sweet 16 party, and they wrote to each other and formed a friendship years before they started dating." –Melissa Ivy Katz, Shape web producer

Photo: Melissa Katz

Know Love When You See It

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"She tells me that she would always date tall, dark-haired men, and ended up with a short, blonde husband, who treated her like a queen. 'One day, someone will walk through the door who will just adore you, and you'll realize why all the others weren't right. Just make sure you recognize him, because he may not be exactly what you were expecting,' she says. She also taught me that yelling won’t get you anywhere: 'During my marriage, I would never scream at him. I'd wait until the next day to talk to him—calmly—about what was bothering me.'" –Locke Hughes, Shape assistant web editor

Photo: Locke Hughes

Notice Humor, Smell, and Drinking Habits

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"Memom taught me that there are three things to look for in a man: He has to have a good sense of humor, he has to have a good natural smell, and he cannot be a bad drunk. I always keep these things in mind when dating!" –Julie Sanders, reader

Be Madly in Love

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“'You absolutely have to be in love with each other. You can’t just be friends. If you don’t love each other, don’t get married. You have to be willing to give and put up with a lot. It isn’t easy, but if you love each other, it’s worth it,' she told me. Clearly that worked for her: She and my grandfather are celebrating their 62nd anniversary this June!" –Heidi Pashman, Shape social media editor

Photo: Heidi Pashman

Give Yourself

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"My grandmother showed me what unconditional love was through her relationship with my grandfather. She taught me not to be selfish, and to be authentic and true to myself—which has made it easy for me to have genuine, healthy relationships. She always said, 'Give yourself 100 percent.'" –Adriana Munoz, reader

Photo: Adriana Munoz

Take It Slow

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"My grandmother taught me to take things slowly—there's no need to rush into things." –Francisca Vergara, reader

Photo: Francisca Vergara


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