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    Love Lessons Ripped from the Headlines


    Here's the thing: We're conditioned to believe that love should hit us over the head like a thunderbolt and be punctuated with a trail of red roses. But the true lifeblood of a relationship isn't the jewelry and flower arrangements, it's the day-to-day mundane activities that make up a shared life.

    No one's saying that you shouldn't cherish all the presents and romantic surprises your partner gives you. But there's a difference between over-the-top romance, which can't be sustained, and the sweet gestures that truly stand the test of time -- such as the way Pierce Brosnan reportedly brings wife Keely Shaye Smith breakfast in bed with a single flower from their garden every day.

    After all, anyone can pick out diamonds or a dozen roses, but a guy who holds your head when you're sick, picks up your favorite ice cream from the store "just because," and has a solid track record of good behavior to boot -- he's really the one.

    #3: Steer Clear of Other Couples That Behave Badly
    In retrospect, perhaps Denise and Charlie weren't the best double-date partners for Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora.

    Although dinner and a movie with a couple experiencing marital difficulties doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up in a real-life version of Wife Swap, remember that conduct -- both good and bad -- can be contagious.

    "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. That doesn't mean hanging out only with people who think and act exactly like you do -- how boring would that be? But while the Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock of your social circle might be great to party with on margarita night, you'd be wise to also find a Paul Newman/Joanne Woodward pair to model your romantic life after.

    #4: Don't Jump into Marriage Too Fast
    Whether we're talking about Vegas mistakes (à la Britney Spears or Nicky Hilton) or ephemeral unions we're still trying to make sense of (Renée Zellweger and Kenny Chesney, anyone?), celebrities seem more eager than the rest of us to rush down the aisle.

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