Unless you don’t go on the internet or watch the news, then you know that the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took place in the last couple of weeks. It’s estimated nearly three billion people tuned into the event. That’s over one-third of the world’s population. The Dawson household was one of them.
The Royal Wedding
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip (Married 11/20/47) –
200 Million on the Radio
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales (Married 7/29/81) –
750 Million on Television
Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge (Married 4/29/11) –
2.2 Billion on Television and Social Media
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Married 5/19/18) – Estimated –
3 Billion on Television and Social Media
Clearly, we can’t get enough of the royal spectacle.
And if you’re married or engaged, then you know that everyone has advice before your big day.
- Never go to bed angry.
- Your kids should come first.
- Marriage is 50/50.
These are marriage myths that research and history have proven wrong. The Dawsons have spent the last 35+ years studying and living marriage and trying to understand why marriages succeed or fail. So while we could send flowers to the royal couple, we feel that the best wedding gift we can give is sound relationship advice.
Dear Prince Harry and Meghan Markle,
Congratulations! We are not attending the wedding (our invitation must have been lost in the mail), so we’d like to take this opportunity to share some science-based words of wisdom with you. We are fans of The Crown, so we have a pretty good idea how this Royal Family thing works.
Don’t stop dating
While a wedding feels like the culmination of your relationship, it’s really just the beginning. The first things to fly out the window in a marriage are fun and romance. So take time for fun—just the two of you and make it a ritual that you can count on—whether it’s traveling somewhere for a weekend getaway or meeting once a week for afternoon tea.
Keep dating each other and keep trying to win each other’s attention and affection. Openly admire your partner and tell them something that you absolutely adore about them every day. And don’t forget to be affectionate. We recommend a daily 6-second kiss.
Sometimes, when couples settle into married life, they turn their attention to their careers and raising a family, and in doing so, they lose sight of what made their relationship special. So those rituals of connection that you can count on are very important.
Marriage is hard work
Nobody tells you that marriage is going to be hard work, so we are. It’s not easy. You will have good days and bad days. Sometimes you might not even like each other. Keep working at it.
Think about your relationship like it is an Emotional Bank Account. You make “deposits” through positive interactions and “withdrawals” through negative interactions. Keep your balance high by doing nice things for each other every day and recognizing when your partner does nice things for you. It’s the most important investment you’ll ever make.
You won’t solve your problems
Our research revealed that almost two-thirds of relationship problems are unsolvable. These “perpetual problems” are caused by personality differences between partners. As long as you can talk to each other about these problems with respect, then you can manage them.
Some of your perpetual problems may not be what everyday couples deal with, but you’ll still have to discuss those unavoidable marital issues that do come up, like how to make time for each other in your busy lives.
It’s also important to process big fights and arguments. We call them regrettable incidents and they happen in every relationship. They’re inevitable. When you do fight, take some time to cool down, then listen to each other’s perspective about what went wrong and own your part in it.
Honor each other’s dreams
It’s important to understand and support each other’s dreams in life. This can be especially challenging in royal marriages. Princess Grace Kelly gave up her career as an actress when she married Prince Rainier III.
Will Meghan also transition from an acting career to being full-time royalty? If so, what does that mean to her?
Ask each other open-ended questions to understand what your dreams are and why, and do as much as you can to make them happen so that you both feel fulfilled and satisfied in your marriage. Be each other’s champion.
Find causes that you can support together. That’s honoring each other’s dreams in a way, but it’s also creating a sense of shared meaning: this is who we are as a couple, and this is what we believe in.
In your first interview after announcing your engagement, you said, “Whatever we have to tackle together or individually, will always be us together as a team.” It sounds like you’ve been reading our blog! That’s a sign of solidarity in your relationship, and solidarity is key to lasting love.
We wish you the very best in your marriage. You know the entire world will be watching!
Mike and Susan Dawson
Adapted from blog Gottman Institute by Michael Fulwiler