Advice for the newlyweds
As Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot today, exchanging vows to spend the rest of their lives together, some might be wondering if their love is, in fact, everlasting.
Although divorce rates are trending downward in both the U.K. and the United States, the royal newlyweds probably can’t get too much advice. That’s why the Post asked happily married couples, sociology professors, pastors and a marriage counselor for tips.
1. Love isn’t all you need
“Research indicates that couples need more than love for their marriages to be successful. In addition to love, couples need to be able to communicate well, spend time together and apart, have an egalitarian relationship, have the ability to resolve conflicts collaboratively and to be truly committed to the marriage lasting. Married couples need to talk and listen to each other (especially about the hard stuff like money, sex, kids, expectations, etc.), support one another, respect each other and enjoy each other.”
— Dr. Maria Vandergriff-Avery
associate professor and chair of sociology at Catawba College
2. Make yourself happy
“I think the main secret is to understand that you are responsible for your own happiness. Things change, nothing is going to stay the same. If you can just hang around long enough, things always get better. You can’t change the other person, you are responsible for yourself.”
— Betty Grubb
married to Dale for 50 years after they met at Granite Lake. “He called me and we started going out,” she said. “That was it.”
3. Know each other
“The main thing that I always encourage young people to do is to get to know each other well. Be aware that, particularly for first-time married people, they are bringing their own history into the relationship as individuals. That (history) can make or break a relationship by itself. It’s just very important, I think, to be able to be clear about what each spouse wants to have happen and to be aware of their own blind spots to try to avoid difficulties.”
— Marc Williams
licensed counselor who has counseled married couples for 30 years.
4. Don’t expect perfection
“No. 1, you need to love whoever you are going to marry, which is kind of a hard thing to define. Then you have to be willing to overlook a lot of things. It’s about give and take. Don’t expect your spouse to be perfect.”
— John Burns
married to Virginia Burns for 60 years after they met in New Orleans at her mother’s suggestion. “Anything that she doesn’t like about me, she just blames it on her mother,” he said. “It’s been fun and 60 years goes by in a hurry, you don’t know where it goes.”
5. Seek advice
“I would want them to listen and to take advice from the older people who have been married for a good length of time and to seek their advice. We do missionary work in Africa, and during a wedding ceremony the bride and groom have to seek counseling by all the older people in the village. They sit down with the older people individually and talk about what to do and what not to do to make sure that the marriage will last. That’s a tradition in Africa; wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had that tradition here? (Older people) have some good advice.”
Apostle Raymond Taylor
pastor at Outreach Christian Ministries. Taylor has been married to his wife, Alease, for 46 years.
6. Take a timeout to talk
“Happy couples are those who spend their time talking, not just about the important stuff like bills, kids, etc., but everything. Talk about books, movies, the weather, etc.; and most importantly, spend a lot of time laughing together. If you have kids, make time every day, without the kids, to talk about the non-important things.”
— Carroll Hodgson
instructor of sociology of the family at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
7. Go to bed together
“I always encourage couples to always go to bed together at the same time. It sounds so simple. I think it kind of keeps everybody on the same page. I just think it keeps the romance there. It keeps the intimacy alive in our relationships.”
— Bill Godair
lead pastor at Cornerstone Church. Godair has been married to his wife, Tina, for a decade.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.