I have learned a lot of things from my mother about marriage without her trying to teach me.
FAITHFULLNESS - she stood by my father's side always: through the heights of his teaching and writing career and through the valley of his terrible sickness - truly through the good times and the bad.
TENACITY - it took a lot of determination to keep our family through the critical changes in history (fall of the USSR, change of the government and all social structure), and through the critical changes of our family (getting our own apartment and sudden progression of Dad's illness).
RESPECT - I watched my mom live with her in-laws in the same small 2-bedroom apartment for 13 years (ok, so I only remember maybe the last six as I was 11 when we moved) and I never remember her arguing with them over anything. She was always quiet and respectful of their opinions.
FRUGALITY - oh how I wish I were smarter to learn more. My mom never wasted a penny. She knows all the prices for everything all over the city and she would go to great lengths to but things cheaper, to build smart yet delicious meals around what's on sale.
DILIGENCE - she never stopped. Our house was always clean, laundry always done, homework always checked, food always prepared. And all that on top of her full-time job.
And - most importantly - LOVE and SELF-SACRIFICE. Her whole life is dedicated to our family and all her choices are made for our benefit (at least within her understanding of what's best for us).
As I look back I remember times when in my anger I would resolve to never become like my mother. And now - how I wish I had learned more while I was still under her roof.