Weddings tend to bring out the warm fuzzies in folks, especially in folks who have been married for years. For us, whenever we watch a bride walk down the aisle, we, for a brief moment, remember what it once felt like to be in love. It brings a sweet mist to our eyes.
It’s for this reason, I believe, that so many people are captivated and downright obsessed with the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. There we are along the sidelines, cheering for this royal couple, “You can do it. You can stay in love! You can remain faithful and attracted to one another for years! Yes, you can! Give us cause for hope!”
It’s almost a desperate prayer because if Will and Kate manage to do it, perhaps there’s hope for the rest of us.
It’s for this reason that I think Will and Kate could use a little help. If we want them to stay in love, those of us who married long ago and are now recovering divorce daydreamers or already divorced might offer a word or two of advice in an effort to prevent this in-love couple from making the same mistakes we did. Here is my best advice for the royal couple:
1. Kate, people are going to tell you that you are beautiful on your wedding day. They will say this because it is true. You are. Make sure to tell William how great those words make you feel. Make sure he knows that you need to hear them, especially during the times when you are not feeling beautiful. Those times will come when you are not wearing a gown that cost thousands of dollars. They will come when you’ve been up all night with a baby or when you’ve got vomit on your shirt. Make sure he knows that those are the times when it’s most important for him to whisper, “You are so beautiful.”
2. You are both good looking, rich and famous. As a result, people will continually throw themselves at you and offer their beautiful bodies to you free of charge. It’s important for you to know when you are emotionally vulnerable and to take precautions. Just as a dieter knows not to go into a chocolate shop when she’s hungry, you both ought to make an oath not to go to nightclubs after you’ve been in a fight or when you feel distanced from one another. It’s just safer that way.
3. Every marriage goes through a rough patch. When you go through yours, you will be tempted to believe that marrying each other was a mistake. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a list now of all of the reasons you’ve decided to spend the rest of your lives together. Then, when you can’t remember why you ever got married, you can read your lists.
4. There will come a time when the urge to jump each other’s bones ebbs. It might even completely disappear. When this happens, it doesn’t mean you married the wrong person. It just means that it’s time to learn the art of getting one another in the mood.
5. Kate: In the beginning, you will think that you wear lingerie, shave your legs, and get waxed for William. Eventually, you will come to realize that you do these things for yourself because they help you to feel sexy. Welcome to the new feminist sexual revolution.
6. Associate with good friends who will not leak your marriage problems to the tabloids and who will not reinforce your negativity when you rant about your spouse. Good friends ask questions like, “What are you going to do about this?” They do not encourage you to believe that your spouse is despicable.
7. William, whenever someone in your family asks you to do something that will affect Kate, say, “Let me check with my wife.” Kate, whenever someone in your family asks you to do something that will affect William, say, “Let me check with my husband.” If you make a decision without getting input from your spouse, say, “I’m sorry” and then make it right.
8. Every problem has multiple possible solutions. Even if your spouse wants to try a different solution than you do, just be happy that you are doing something about the problem. Many couples don’t even get that far.
9. You have already seen one another at your best, and that is why you’ve decided to get married. You will know you are truly in love, however, once you’ve seen one another at your worst and you’ve decided to stay married despite what you just saw.
Readers: What marriage advice do you have for William and Kate? What have you learned the hard way that you hope the royal couple learns the easy way?
Alisa Bowman is author of “Project: Happily Ever After” and collaborator of seven New York Times bestsellers. She offers marriage advice at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com. Alisa is a former magazine editor and newspaper reporter who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.