C’mon, what’s really the fascination with William and Kate getting married? Now, I have to admit like everyone else, I am waiting with bated breath to see what Kate’s dress is going to look like on Friday as she walks down the aisle of Westminster Abby. But I had to ask myself, why do I really care? The answer, for me, was simple. I, like most of the world, LOVE weddings—especially ROYAL WEDDINGS! I think “surely with a start like that it’s bound to work!” (Don’t we kind of look at marriages today like we’re looking at the betting odds in Vegas?!) But I am hoping, wishing, praying even that Will and Kate will beat the divorce odds (that are in his own family) and will conquer the beast of marriage and I am hoping that they truly will live, “happily ever after…”

Will and Kate’s impending nuptials have me going into my memory vault to my own marriage archives and pulling off of those dusty shelves my story of the nervous, excited, bubbly thoughts, feelings, hopes and desires that I had 48 hours before my big day, 25 years ago. Looking back I honestly didn’t have a clue (no more than Kate and William have)! I don’t care how long you’ve dated, how much you think you know before you say I do, YOU DON’T until you transition from the wedding to being married.

I’ve scanned the volumes of history my marriage to Tony has produced and I want to say to Will and Kate and to anyone who wants to turn a “Royal Wedding” into a “Real Marriage” use these simple strategies to help in the process:

1.       LISTEN INWARD BEFORE JUDGING OUTWARD

Be intentional about listening to what’s really going on inside YOU first before judging what your spouse is doing or saying! When I learned to ask myself, “Why are you upset that he’s late?” BEFORE I jumped on Tony for being late, I learned a lot (about myself of course but also about how to diffuse arguments or disagreements BEFORE they got started).  My prayer for Will and Kate is that they too will be quick to listen to what’s going on inside their own hearts and heads before they judge one another. I hope the future King and Queen learn quickly how to correct, judge and adjust their own hearts first BEFORE they judge the other person.  After many years of practicing this principle, life became so much easier with Tony, because I figured out, if I figured out what was going on with me, I didn’t need to “fix” what I felt was wrong with him!

2.       DEVELOP AN ELASTIC MIND

An elastic mind is one that stretches far and wide to embrace who our spouse is becoming rather than being rigid in our expectation that they will stay the same. I woke up one day after 20 or so years of marriage and looked at Tony and realized he’s NOT the man I married all those years earlier. He’d changed! A new man had invaded his body—complete with a different perspective, a different take on life and different thoughts, ideas and behaviors.

And I loved it.

You see men and women DON’T stay the same (or at least they shouldn’t). And after the royal wedding day is finished and the cake crumbs are swept away, the music fades and the wedding dress is packed away, you and I and Will and Kate will have to realize that humans aren’t designed to stay the same. The man or woman you marry today will inevitably want to expand, and explore different careers, different hobbies, different educational achievements; they will want to grow. And our minds MUST become elastic enough to stretch with our mates newness and becoming! I hope Will and Kate especially get this, so that as they grow into Monarchs… they will allow the other person to become who they’re destined to be without hesitation.

3.       BUILD LIFE TOGETHER AS BFF’S NOT AS BUSINESS PARTNERS

We can ‘fire’ our business partners. We’re not likely to fire our BFF (best-friend-forever) . Best friends are there, always. Best friends are the go-to person. They are the one you share “firsts” with…monumental events, changes in your life—they are the ones who get the phone call first, the 411, the scoop. They are the one we can’t wait to see, can’t wait to be with, can’t wait to “tell, share or laugh with.” BFF’s are the glue that holds our lives together and it’s my feeling that this person can and should be your spouse. Over the years, I can honestly say that Tony has become mine and I his, and I hope that Will and Kate will keep BFF status reserved for one another.

I hope that in the midst of the incredible ‘fish-bowl’ life that the royal couple are embarking on that they will (1) listen to their own hearts first, before judging the other person; (2) they will develop elastic minds capable of expanding to where their partner is growing and (3) that they will build their lives as BFF’s instead of business partners.

This strategy just may help turn this ROYAL WEDDING into a REAL MARRIAGE that lasts for a very long time.

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