As the world waits with anticipation for the upcoming nuptials of Prince Williams and Kate Middleton on April 29th, we have to ask:“Will they be a successful couple?” To answer this question, first we have to define what successful couples look like and what they do.
When one is in the media, such as Kate and Prince William, all eyes are on every move they make individually and as a couple. But are their keys to success any different from any other couples?
Let’s look at a few secrets to success for any couple, including a royal one:
DO write your own history and don’t be colored by those couples who have gone before you. Why are so many people watching Prince William and his betrothed? Because of the sad situation that his mother and father found themselves in with their own marriage. Could we have felt any more let-down by how Charles and Diana turned out? But this couple is different. Their relationship is different. They need to figure out what works for their situation and leave the past to the past. Rather than being compared to Charles and Diana, they need to insist on forging their own path and creating a public persona and private relationship that is right for them – and only them.
DO agree what you will share publicly and what you want to keep private, and DON’T feel the need to act, speak and communicate as one. Just because they are becoming a couple doesn’t mean they have to approach everything in life as one unit. Disagreements between them as regards their personal lives should stay between them, but they are entitled to their own opinions and their own communication styles otherwise. Many very successful couples have drastically different perspectives on the world and that’s okay, as long as they respect one another and agree to give each other the freedom to speak their own mind. However, having an understanding about how this will work, and how much they will air, is critical. Intimacy comes from determining what our coupling will be and how we will act in it. Other people can read what they want into the actions, but if the couple is in agreement behind the scenes, their relationship will stay strong.
DO work hard to understand one another and communicate needs, concerns, joys and plans on a regular basis. Communication is the most underrated skill, because we assume it will just happen naturally in a relationship. Unfortunately, as many couples know and as Kate and Prince William have likely already experienced, communicating together and having an open, understanding dialogue requires active and reflective listening, a willingness to put aside “me” and a focus on the other person. Public personalities have so many more opportunities for misunderstanding and making assumptions that the communication aspect becomes absolutely critical. They need to establish check-ins and clear the air and clarify often.
DO have a connecting component that can be shared even in the midst of a public setting. Having a secret sign, or phrase or intimate look, between one another gives a couple the feeling of “us” versus the rest of the world. Focusing on that “us” in spite of everything else going on will continue to strengthen the relationship.
I wish Prince William and Kate much happiness and know that with a little work and focus, they can be very happy together.
Beverly D. Flaxington, corporate consultant, college professor, behavioral expert, communications coach and author of “Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior”