By Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman, SELF magazine
Just over a month until Kate Middleton and Prince William's Big Day! And as the beautiful bride-to-be counts down the hours until her April 29 wedding, we're thinking that this royal couple has a pretty good chance of achieving a love that lasts.
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To confirm our gut feeling, we asked Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (a.k.a. Dr. Romance), psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, to give us four reasons why Kate and William are a good match -- and some qualities that you should look for in a potential partner.
Her response ...
1. Their ages
Kate is 28, William is 29. So while they're certainly not old, they're not babies anymore.
"I've seen studies saying relationships tend to last longer if people are a little older when they get married. They have more life experience, so they're better able to evaluate a potential partner," Tessina says.
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And in their late 20s, "Hopefully they're past their acting-out and partying stages, and ready to be responsible grown-ups and parents," she adds.
2. Their shared sense of humor
When Kate and William became engaged last November, you could see that despite their status as a prince and princess-to-be, they don't always take themselves so seriously.
Asked about the rumor that she had a poster of Prince William on her wall when she was growing up, Kate said, "He wishes. No, I had the Levi's [Jeans] guy on my wall, not a picture of William, sorry."
William shot back: "It was me in Levi's, obviously."
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"A sense of humor can take a lot of stress out of difficult situations," Tessina says. "William and Kate especially are going into a very stressful situation -- they have some wonderful luxuries, but being in the public eye as they will be especially during and after the wedding, they need to lighten up with each other." But a sense of humor only works if it's shared, Tessina warns.
"It needs to be a similar sense of humor, because if one jokes and the other thinks they're not taking things seriously enough, that's a problem."
3. They courted for a long time
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After dating for eight years, Kate waited so long for William to propose that the British media dubbed her "Waity Katie." But Tessina thinks this lengthy history together is a good thing.
"A long courtship gives a couple a chance to have many experiences together, get to know each other's hidden qualities and character and also bond with family and friends. All of which supports a successful marriage," she says.
Kate also knows what it's like to step out of a limo and be surrounded by paparazzi -- not to mention have her weight and clothes be part of the international conversation -- and she seems ready, willing and able to handle it.
"Kate, unlike Princess Diana, has had time to see exactly what she's getting into, so she's going in with eyes open," Tessina says. "Couples who see the reality of each other's lives -- demanding work schedules, difficult extended family dynamics, financial stresses, dreams and passions each has in life, likes and dislikes, quirks and fears -- have a much better idea of what real married life will be like. Spending time in each others environment provides this information."
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4. They have some good love role models
Even though William comes from a broken home, Kate's parents are still married, so she knows what it takes to make a marriage work.
"Having the experience of seeing your parents get through the day to day successfully -- you learn a lot from that. Skills like talking, working together, compromise, partnership, cooperating. If one partner knows that they can help the other partner."
Plus, William's stepmother Camilla has been around a long time and his grandparents are still married, so he has some good examples in his life, too, Tessina adds.
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But even if you and your partner don't meet all of Kate and William's criteria for a happy marriage, it doesn't mean you're headed for a split.
"The important thing is that you're able to talk about anything and everything. If you're good as a team at working through problems and coming up with solutions, then you're fine," Tessina says.
What do you look for in a potential partner?
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