8 Love Lessons from Will and Kate
Posted by Katie Ostoich on April 29, 2012 at 10:41 AM
Can you believe it’s been a year since William and Kate got married? Sunday marks their one year anniversary. It honestly seems like yesterday that I got up super early, donned a fancy hat with my pajamas and celebrated with mimosas before work! And along with obsessively “pinning” every pic of Kate’s outfits I can find (true story), I have loved watching them as a married couple. While we only have a bird’s eye view into their relationship, they seem to just have “it.” That something that makes the marriage click and work effortlessly (which I’m sure it’s not, but you know what I mean).
The world has been hanging on to every detail of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s life — from their official outings to their walks with their puppy to the state of her royal uterus. But if there’s anything about the majestic couple the rest of us mere commoners can hope to emulate, we should be looking to their relationship itself. Intentionally or not, the royal couple has followed many of the classic relationship rules — such as being friends first and respecting each others’ families — that make for contentment and commitment over time. Here’s are some royal love lessons for us non-royals hoping for happily ever after.
Be Friends First
While Kate and Wills first met in 2001, their relationship didn’t become more than platonic until Christmas 2003. In fact, Kate was dating someone else when she met the prince. The pair spent a lot of time together as pals, and even shared an apartment (with two other friends) before they started dating. The truth is: The romantic love we experience at the start of a relationship doesn’t last forever. You need a foundation of friendship to see you through tough times later on.
And science backs up the friendship factor. When University of Texas researchers tracked couples over the course of 14 years, they found that friendship played a major role in a couple’s long-term happiness. The marriages that are successful are the ‘best friend’ ones.
Although they clearly love being together, both William and Kate have their own interests. While William has concentrated on his military career, Kate has focused on beginning her volunteer work and continuing official outings with the rest of the royal family. (This outing is priceless. Oh Royals.) They both also make time for their friends, going out solo as well as together.
We women often make the huge mistake of giving up our interests to focus on our relationship. In every relationship, there should be “you, me, and we.” You need those three pieces in order for both of you to be happy and maintain a healthy bond. So if you love yoga and your guy loves to run, don’t give up your weekly hot yoga class to train for a half marathon if you can’t stand running!
Be The Tortoise
The royal couple faced very public pressure to get engaged from almost the second they started dating, and the media even snidely dubbed Kate “Waity Katie.” And although his parents had a short courtship (Prince Charles knew Princess Diana for less than a year before he proposed), William didn’t bow to pressure, and waited eight years to pop the question.
So why is this a good thing? This is clearly not a whirlwind affair. Kate has been around William long enough to understand what life is going to be like with him. She’s seen the press, the royal responsibilities, and she knows the family. And now that she’s a part of it, she’s adapted almost seamlessly. The University of Texas study supports the couple’s decision. In the most successfulmarriages, couples had leisurely courtships and entered marriage aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Respect Your In-Laws
Kate might not come from royal stock, but that hasn’t stopped William from embracing the Middleton clan. He even followed the traditional practice of asking Kate’s father for permission before proposing and the couple has since traveled with her family. It’s clear that Wills feels they will be as much a part of his family as the royal family. And Kate has worked hard to fit into her huband’s family, reportedly taking etiquette lessons to learn how to interact with foreign dignitaries and attending several events with Camilla and the Queen.
Inter-family bonding is a crucial component of a happy marriage. As someone with a great relationship with her in-laws, I know that family can be a really great support system for a newly married couple. There are bound to be in-law problems in any relationship — we’re only human — but it’s important not to let resentments build up over time.
Have Fun as a Couple
It’s cliché but true that the couple that laughs together, stays together. “We both have a very fun time together, both have a very good sense of humor about things … and she's got plenty of habits that make me laugh that I tease her about,” William told the British press in the couple’s first interview after becoming engaged. The couple shares a lot of the same interests — traveling, playing sports, and appreciating art, to name a few — and make a point to relax with one another along with fulfilling their charity and work obligations. Remember their playful dragon boat race during their tour in Canada?
The more time you spend as a couple simply having fun — free of financial, familial, or other stresses — the happier the marriage will be over time. Get this: The average couple spends 10 minutes a day talking to each other, usually about chores, finances, or kids. It’s essential to do things you enjoy together, just like when you were dating.
Learn From Tough Times
After William and Kate took a two-month break in 2007, they felt that the time apart made their relationship closer. “At the time, I wasn't very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person,” Middleton told the UK Press.
A breakup can actually strengthen a relationship, as long as it’s not later used as a weapon. When William and Kate broke up, they didn’t speak badly of one another or behave inappropriately. Kate demonstrated that she was loyal by respecting their privacy and not speaking to the press about their personal issues. It showed William that he could trust her. Fast forward to today. William just returned from a several month stint in the military and they seem better than ever because they know they can make it through anything.
Look Beyond the Wedding
While the couple was busy planning what many called the “wedding of the century,” Kate and William were also making plans for their future. They’ve set up house near William’s military base, and have tried to stay out of the public eye as much as possible to focus on their lives as newlyweds.
It’s just as important to think about life as a married couple during your engagement as the wedding itself. Make sure to communicate openly about your wants and needs after the wedding day, such as any financial concerns, plans for children and career, future goals. That dialogue is important and should continue as the years go on.
Can't get enough of the romantic royals? Check out this beautiful overview of their love story!