From Fifty Shades of Grey to William and Kate's royal romance, these are the best love stories of 2012. By Lauren Bradshaw, REDBOOK.
We still want the fairy tale.
On TV (Once Upon a Time) and in film (Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror), we embraced badass princesses who require no saving from a guy on a horse. They win their happily-ever-after endings with grit and guts, which is actually how it works in real life.
The anti-dote to couple over-share: William and Kate
Other celebrities--and us plebes--could learn a lot from the royal newlyweds. Their sweetness in public (and their horror at having their private moments splashed across the tabloids) made their love feel that much more relatable. Hollywood, take note: Cute and classy is in.
Women are as "visual" as men.
From Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey wearing G-strings in Magic Mike to Ryan Lochte's low-slung swim tighties, there was a smorgasbord of eye candy this year, and we were loud and proud in our appreciation. The biggest takeaway here: Your husband doesn't care what's got you so worked up, as long as he reaps the benefits. (And if you're looking for new material to spark the home fires, Google pictures of Olympic rower Henrik Rummel... just don't do it at work.)
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Another key to making it last: matching outfits!
Mel and Joey Schwanke, who got press attention for the 146 custom-matching ensembles they own, say that coordinating their duds every day is the secret to their 65-year marriage. "We've worked together on [that]," says Joey. "In the morning we say, 'Well, what do you feel like wearing?'"
There's one more reason to be glad you're not 22.
Thank you, Girls--HBO's hit show about four friends navigating the post-college years--for reminding us how grateful we are to no longer be in a 20-something relationship. We'll take our well-worn marriages and demanding kids over sexting, hookup awkwardness, and "Am I doing this right?!" insecurity any day.
Twitter is for lovers.
The topic "#howtokeeparelationship" trended worldwide earlier this year, with more than 883,000 tweets from such far-flung places as Chile and Mozambique sharing advice on how to make love last. A few of our favorite insights:
"Be like Beyonce & Jay-Z. Everyone knows they're together, but no one knows their business." -- @IDYLANBARKER
"If you forgive someone, don't add their transgressions to your 'List Of Things To Bring Up Later.'" -- @OLORISWANK
"Learn to make bacon and cupcakes for each other. Lots of bacon and cupcakes." -- @NICKASAURRelated: 25 Sweet Ways to Say "I Love You"
Never doubt a woman who wants out.
Throughout Katie Holmes's five-year marriage to Tom Cruise, it looked like he was the one calling the shots. That was, of course, until Katie executed a split with military precision that left him reeling. Just weeks later, she debuted a fashion line at New York Fashion Week and was spotted around town with an easygoing smile on her face, causing everyone to wonder, "Tom, who?" Katie, we underestimated you.
God lover = good leader.
Or so it would seem from the gush-fest speeches both Ann Romney and Michelle Obama gave at this year's political conventions. "I'm still in love with that boy I met at a high school dance... [and] he still makes me laugh," Ann said, while Michelle joked about the couple's first dates in Barack's rusted-out car. Did you squirm a little, watching their choreographed kisses and hugs? Never mind: Both husbands scored bumps in the polls, proving that we like a commander in chief with heart (and flowers, and candy...).
Marrying for money is on the downswing.
Gold-digging has lost its luster--not even the characters on PBS Masterpiece's Downton Abbey are doing it (go, Matthew and Lady Mary!). According to a recent British study, fewer women are "marrying up," thanks to their own success and, we like to think, a little thing called love.
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It's cool to spell out your commitment.
The celeb version of carving couple initials into a tree? Wearing their hearts on their hands, chests, ears--anywhere they can adorn with jewelry! Jessica Biel flaunts a "Justin" necklace, Kim Kardashian debuted her relationship with Kanye West by donning "KW" earrings, and Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux wear matching name rings. The rest of us like this craze too, according to jewelry designer Jennifer Zeuner. She says her personalized necklace for couples has become a best seller in recent months: "It's a sweet way of announcing, 'I'm taken!'"
There's no such thing as "traditional" partnerships.
Last year we found out that couples are waiting longer to tie the knot; now a new study says the number of baby births for cohabitating unmarried couples is also on the rise. Wedding, no wedding, baby before, baby after--couples are definitely deviating from the first-comes-love-then-comes-marriage playbook. Just look at France: Its new president, Francois Hollande, and his partner of seven years, Valérie Trierweiler, became the first unmarried couple ever to occupy the French palace.
A little smut can do you good.
The plot of Fifty Shades of Grey may be about sexual submission, but tons of women said reading it made them feel like taking control in the bedroom. A study out of the United Kingdom found that after reading it, women had, on average, about three times more sex; in some cases, the effects lasted as long as six months! The movie version can't come fast enough.
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