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By Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D.

The 19th century English poet, Lord Alfred Tennyson, put this universal truth in writing: “In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turn to thoughts of love.” And there’s no better time of the year for a royal wedding! Apparently the April 29, 2011 marriage of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton, at Westminster Abbey with 1900 guests, will be watched by almost 2 billion people worldwide. Their long walk to the altar will be one of the most viewed TV events of the century.

Lots of girls grow up reading fairy tales about princesses and hoping to find a prince of their own. But living life in the limelight can make it difficult to build a successful relationship. Whether your marriage will last depends, in part, on how you prepare for the challenges. Some of the following tips may be helpful to you as well as the young royals:

1.Don't surrender your self.  Carve out a space in the marriage, maintaining the activities and friendships that make you who you are. Take creative action in your own life. You'll have a more positive attitude, be more interesting to your partner, and your relationship will reap the benefits.  

2.Keep your communication honest. Talk out misunderstandings before they become full-fledged arguments. Try to be patient and let go of issues that aren't crucial. And stay present and engaged. Use the same conversational etiquette that you would with anyone else you care about and respect.  

3.Compromise works in most conflicts. Be direct, yet open and flexible as you make your way through disagreements. Truly understanding the other's point of view can help resolve a conflict more easily and quickly. A gentle touch or quick hug releases oxytocin, a hormone that facilitates bonding as well as reduces feelings of stress.

4.Keep the fun alive.  Lightheartedness is often one of the first casualties of a busy and hectic life. Inject humor and laughter by joking around. This can turn into an affectionate moment which helps you feel closer, loved and even more relaxed. Making time to be playful with each other can often lead to greater intimacy.  

5.Be sensitive to your new role as in-law.  Competition may surface if your partner's parents experience you as usurping their relationship with their adult child. Be yourself. Slowly but deliberately establish the ground rules in your marriage. Even so, include your in-laws from time to time – it can make a big difference.

6.Bring out the best in each other.  Instead of focusing on the negatives, talk about what you want from each other. Then actually change some of your attitudes and behavior. When you are thinking something nice, say it out loud to your partner. Invest in your partnership and grow your emotional bank account - the dividends will last a lifetime.

When Kate marries the heir to the throne, she’ll take on civic duties and get involved in some of the Queen’s 200 charities. Kate and William are also interested in working together on projects that benefit the Commonwealth of Nations. Let’s hope the new marriage won’t take a back seat to all these responsibilities. They’ve been together for 8 years and their relationship has stood the test of time. Kate is from an intact and loving family, had a normal early life and is down-to-earth. Despite the emotional trauma of his parents’ divorce and his mother’s death, William seems to be resilient and well balanced. Both have strong personal qualities that can only enhance a relationship that seems off to a good start. Best wishes to the newlyweds!

© Her Mentor Center, 2011

Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. are family relationship experts with a 4-step model for change. Whether you‘re coping with stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang kids or difficult daughters-in-law, we have solutions. Visit our website, [Link Removed] and sign up for our free newsletter, Stepping Stones, and complimentary ebook, “Courage and Lessons Learned.”


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