Women is...: Romantic Fling or the Real Thing?

Romantic Fling or the Real Thing?

As she walked down the long aisle, she knew she looked the part of the radiant bride, and yet, somewhere buried beneath layers of tulle and silk, she also knew she was making the biggest mistake of her life. Randy (her name has been altered), 29, hasn't made it through the newlywed year and doesn't know if she will. "Once all the attention and warmth died down, we were, well, just left with each other," said Randy. "And truthfully," she continued, "I don't know that I was at all prepared for the reality of what marriage should be and could be. I think I may have been seduced by the wedding magazines and my starry-eyed visions. I think I've made a terrible mistake."

Randy is not alone. She lives in a society in which a lot of people are making mistakes. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the current divorce rate is estimated to be between 40 and 60 percent.

Why do so many marriages end in divorce? "Many women fear being alone, starting over or don't want to forsake that familiarity with another person, and as a result, settle with having a relationship that may not have the love and respect essential for a successful marriage," suggests marriage counselor Amy Heckman. She also points to the women who succumb to the pressures of the "marriageable age" concept (the older you get, the staler you get), the feeling that their peers are moving on, or their loudly ticking biological clock, resulting in a rushed-into marriage. Or, as experienced by Randy, there are those who are unable to remove themselves from the "romantic love" that all newly enamoured couples experience, failing to ensure that they have the foundations of what makes a marriage work.

What are the secrets of a successful marriage and how can you make sure your Mr. Right is in fact Mr. Right? In addition to work, work, work, this guide will help explain the cornerstones of a healthy, long-lasting partnership.