Love Lessons Ripped from the Headlines
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.
On the other hand, drive-through wedding chapels wouldn't exist if plenty of
regular folks weren't also running to the altar on the double.
And while some insta-marriages do work out (like Téa Leoni and David
Duchovny, who wed after just four months of dating, and are still going strong
nearly 10 years later), they can also fall apart as quickly -- and dramatically
-- as they came together.
"In the early phase of a romance, the dopamine activity in the brain
goes up, making you feel high," says REDBOOK Love Network expert Ian
Kerner, Ph.D., author of He Comes Next. "But relationships are
eventually about how you are at your calmest."
Translation: Wait until the first flush wears off a little before tying the
knot. In fact, studies have shown that the closer a couple's courtship is to
average length (two years, four months), the more likely they are to last.
#5: Keep the Passion Alive
Sometimes, celebs' taste for the grand gesture can actually help their love
-- like the way Lisa Rinna treats husband Harry Hamlin to the moves she picked
up at striptease lessons.
Most of us aren't as naturally dramatic or exhibitionist as your average
Hollywood star, but we can all find creative ways to surprise and tantalize our
"Just like you have to maintain your car, you have to maintain your
passion," says Carle. "It's even more important the longer you're
together. The deeper your friendship, the more meaningful it becomes to explore
It's also not a bad idea to acknowledge that your partner will be attracted
to other women occasionally.
You don't have to give each other cakes decorated with your crushes, as Jada
Pinkett Smith and Will Smith reportedly do (the Rock and Oscar De La Hoya for
her, J.Lo and Salma Hayek for him), but accepting each other's little fantasies
doesn't have to be scary or threatening -- in fact, it might just help keep you
both in a sexy frame of mind, which is nothing but good for your twosome.