What Married Friends Can Teach You About What Makes a Marriage Work

In Chapter 5 of 15 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, entrepreneur Audrey Parker French answers "What Have Your Friends Taught You About What Makes a Marriage Work?"  French listens and learns from married couples, including those starting and raising families.  She learns about the power of transparency, communication, and family values.  Audrey Parker French returns to CYF for her Year 3 interview after a one-year sabbatical from work and getting married.  She co-founded CLEAResult, an energy management consulting firm.  In 2010, CLEAResult ranked #144 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies.  In late 2010, CLEAResult was sold to General Catalyst Partners.  She graduated from Wake Forest University. 


Erik Michielsen: What have your friends taught you about what makes a marriage work?

Audrey Parker French: Well, one of my closest friends has been married for 10 years, and I was the maid of honor at her wedding, and I’ve watched her and her husband over the last 10 years, and she’s taught me a lot more than she would probably know or say that she’s taught me. Because I’ve done a lot of observing, they have a very healthy strong marriage, and in spending time with her and with other friends who have the kind of marriages that I really have looked up to, they’ve taught me how people can be real, how it’s important to be real.

It doesn’t mean you always put on a happy face if you’re not really happy, you really have to be with whatever is in – whatever is there, you have to really be okay to talk about it or get it off your chest and it’s not always pretty per se and yet even after you go through something that’s not pretty, it can get a lot prettier because you’ve had the courage to hash out whatever is in the way. And I’ve also watched them move from being a married couple, a happily married couple into being a happy parent couple. They have 3 children now and they are just watching the – I mean the – talk about life changes, I mean marriage is one, having children is a big life altering change.

And watching them as a couple go through that 3 times and watching them interact with their children, it’s taught me so much. And I’m very, very grateful to have friends in my life who can demonstrate those values to me because, you know, I’d recommend to anybody, you know, before you dive into starting a company or starting any kind of new venture, it’s important to have something that you’ve seen before or that you can envision so that you know what you’re aiming for and I really – I’m very, very glad and grateful and blessed to have the friends that I do so that I can feel like that I’m entering my marriage in this stage of life with some really good role models and some really good teachers and some really good confidants that when I have a problem or question or whatever that I have some people that I can go to for support. It’s wonderful.