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Relationship Advice: How True Love Can Last a Lifetime

By Brenda Novak

While doing a signing for my latest romance novel, a woman passed by, picked up my book, and immediately wrinkled her nose. "I don't read these kinds of books," she said.

"What do you read?" I asked. She slapped it down on the table as if it was so far beneath her she couldn't bare to touch it any longer. "Something with at least a hint of realism."

"I'm sorry for you," I said. And I meant it.

Why? Because, good romance novels aren't fairy tales. They are snapshots of love at its finest. I should know. I've written 28 of them, and read hundreds of others.

The complaint shouldn't be that these romance novels are not realistic. Many of us just don't know how to make this kind of love last, but that doesn't mean we can't learn. It's basically a matter of behaving as we behaved when we were courting the love of our lives. And, then taking it a few steps further to establish deeper ties that make "true love" every bit a reality.

How to Make Your True Love Last a Lifetime:

  1. Avoid negative thought patterns. Allowing yourself to mentally or verbally tear down your significant other is like gnawing at the bond that holds you together.

  2. Remember that your true love means more to you than anyone else--including your parents and your kids. Those who put their children before their spouse are often disappointed to find that they have no relationship left once the kids head out on their own.

  3. Be more flexible and forgiving with your spouse than anyone else. We expect our spouse to "understand" our stress or limitations (in other words, put up with our crap). Instead, reserve your patience and kindness for the person who means the most to you.

  4. Understand that relationships work on a spiral. The more thoughtful you are to your loved one, the more fulfilled and happy your spouse will be. In return, your spouse will give back to you.

  5. Don't get too practical. Some couples forego the flowers, the cards, the dinner dates and the chocolate boxes in favor of saving money. But what's worth more to you? A few bucks or a relationship that will likely affect your whole life and the lives of your children?

  6. Do something nice for your spouse every day, even if it's just a chore they typically do. These thoughtful touches will act as reserves against the tough times.

  7. Be physical. Touch your spouse a lot, even when there is no hope of it escalating into a sexual encounter. These little reminders that a spouse cares are nurturing to the soul and sends wonderful signals to your children. They feel secure and happy because you are secure and happy, and they are more loving because of the example you've set.

  8. Remain loyal and unselfish. Have the grit it takes to stick through thick and thin. And, start worrying more about whether you are being a good spouse than whether your spouse is being a good mate to you, and you'll be glad you did. As much as it may seem otherwise, life isn't all about you, how you're feeling and what you want.

  9. Take care of you. You don't have to be model thin or in the blush of youth. But be the best you can be-mentally and physically.

  10. Laugh. Don't take life too seriously. It's no fun to be around someone when everything means too much and weighs too heavy.
Best known for her evocative Stillwater Trilogy, Brenda Novak is a national bestselling author of romantic suspense. She has three books coming out this summer: TRUST ME, STOP ME and WATCH ME, that will show you exactly why true love isn't a fairy tale. For more information on the Stillwater Trilogy and Brenda's upcoming books, go to BrendaNovak.com. And, don't forget to check out her new online auction with all monies donated to Diabetes research.

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