By Willie and Korie Robertson
Willie and I have always thought that your home should be the happiest place for your family. If you’re excited when your kids or husband walks in the front door, then you’ll have a much happier family. A lot of people don’t make it a habit to do that. They go to work and give their best to the outside world because they know if they’re negative or griping or complaining, they might lose their job. They’re not going to make a sale with a frown on their faces, so they’re always putting on their best smile. It should be that way at home too. I always tell our children that the people they love the most and the people who love them the most are their family. So your family should be the people you treat the best.
When the kids come home every day, we really try to make it a point to greet them, be happy, and ask them how their days went. I do the same thing for Willie, and he does the same thing for me. When Willie comes home, I’m excited. I hug him and kiss him. We find out what happened in each other’s day, and it sets the right tone for everything else. Our kids see our love for each other, and they realize that’s how they should be treating one another too.
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I think having happy kids and a happy marriage is all about respect. Willie and I have a mutual respect for each other, and we try to treat each other respectfully. Sadie once asked me why marriage is so hard. She realized married couples don’t always make it and that there are a lot of people getting divorced. Our kids see that Willie and I are happy and think marriage looks pretty easy. Of course, they didn’t see us during the early years, when times were tough. In those days we fought our way through all the things newlyweds have to figure out in order to live together peacefully. I told Sadie that sometimes it’s hard because you go into a marriage with expectations, and you think the other person is going to be a certain way. You want them to be that way because that’s how you always envisioned your husband or wife, or that’s how your daddy or mama was when you were growing up. But until you can let those expectations go, and value your spouse for who he or she really is and be thankful for it, then a marriage is never going to work.
I’m very different from Willie’s mom, and Willie is very different from my dad. So if you go into a marriage with all these unrealistic expectations and try to change your spouse to be exactly like you want them to be, then you’re always going to be fighting and miserable. But if you can let those false expectations go, you can learn to appreciate and be thankful for who that person is, and then marriage can be a great thing.
Willie: I think marriages start to go bad when selfishness creeps in. Korie and I are super laid-back, in a lot of ways like my parents were. I never liked taking orders, never liked being bossed around, and I didn’t marry a parent figure. There is no sense in my giving her orders or her giving me orders; we’re both adults. I married somebody to share my life with. You have to let your spouse be the person they want to be, and you have to let them do the things they want to do. If she doesn’t feel like cleaning the kitchen one day, she doesn’t have to. If I feel it needs to be cleaned, I can do it myself, or hire someone to do it. I don’t tell her what to do. I’m not her father. She does the same for me.
Korie ended up working at Duck Commander with me, but if she wanted to do something entirely different, I would have supported her. As the kids have gotten older and as the business has grown, there have been times where I’ve told her, “If you want to stop, you can stop. Don’t feel like you have to work.” I’ve asked her several times if she didn’t want me to go on the road, and if she hadn’t wanted me to go, I wouldn’t have gone. Now, she’d have had to realize that the business might have suffered from it, but if it did, then so be it. Making a little extra money is never worth it if it’s at the expense of your family. If you work with your spouse, then you really have to respect each other and communicate well. Those are the keys to living and working with your spouse happily.
Duck Dynasty Season 2 premieres on A&E Oct. 10 at 10PM/9C. Willie Robertson is the CEO of Duck Commander, a family operated business that creates products for duck hunters including duck calls, clothes, and videos. Willie, along with his wife and business partner Korie Robertson, also owns and operates Buck Commander where they create products for deer hunters. Willie and Korie live together with their four children in West Monroe, Louisiana.