Dear Kate (if I may be so bold as to address you, potential future Queen, by your first name),
First, congrats on your impending nuptials! You hung in there for eight years and your patience paid off. You won the heart of a real-live prince - not to mention his royal family, and Britons at large. In a Redbookmag.com poll last week, 59% of readers said no man was worth waiting for that long...but perhaps this is why we're not all princesses-in-waiting. You're no doubt already planning for your big day, slated for next spring or summer. Just in case my engraved invitation gets lost in the mail, I thought I might offer you some expert advice (from our story "Love Lessons Ripped from the Headlines!") on how to make sure your fairytale engagement has a happily ever after:
#1: Protect Your Relationship from the Outside World
"Certain things should be kept private, or the relationship will be destroyed," says therapist Gilda Carle, Ph.D., author of Don't Bet on the Prince!. Ironic book title, no? But she does have a point. Though it may be tough with the whole world watching you, and paparazzi on your trail, being discreet and keeping mum about the intimate details of your love may protect it in the long run.
#2: Don't Get Blinded by Romance
Coming from a family of "commoners," it might be easy to get caught up in how grand everything is. On the proposal, you said of Prince William, "He's a true romantic and we had a wonderful holiday in Africa and it was out there in a very quiet lodge and it was very romantic and it was very personal time for both of us." Royal events, getaways in Mustique, and an upcoming storybook wedding would impress just about any gal with a heartbeat. But don't forget that there will be boring obligations and everyday moments down the road, and the small stuff is what love is all about.
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#3: Steer Clear of Other Couples That Behave Badly
"Couples should spend quality time with people who are living healthy emotional lives so they can bounce role modeling off of each other," says Carle. (Note: This may mean spending less time with your fiance's scandal-magnet brother, Prince Harry.)
#4: Don't Jump into Marriage Too Fast
The article notes that "studies have shown that the closer a couple's courtship is to average length (two years, four months), the more likely they are to last," so maybe waiting eight years was about right after all. Good on you, Kate!
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#5: Keep the Passion Alive
"Just like you have to maintain your car, you have to maintain your passion," says Carle. We suspect the car thing won't apply, as you will surely have help to do that for you, but more sexy dancefests and teeny bikinis couldn't hurt to keep things hot.
#6: Don't Be Afraid to Work at Keeping Your Relationship Strong
"There's no such thing as a relationship that's magically right," says Carle. "It's only right because you worked at it." But we want to believe in magic, Kate. We want to believe - as you wear the ring of William's late mother, Princess Diana - that your marriage will be happier than that legacy. You've proven yourself for eight years. Stay as patient and steadfast as you have been, and your love may also prove the test of time. Best of luck!
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.