From the old-school way they met to how they kept their long-distance relationship strong, these are love lessons we all can learn from.
Ever since Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle put a ring on it and Kensington Palace announced that a royal wedding will take place in May, we can't stop watching that adorable video interview from the BBC, the one with Harry and Meghan excitedly explaining how the romantic proposal went down.
In the video, the newly engaged couple also sheds light on the old-school way they were introduced and how they kept their budding relationship strong, despite the fact that Harry is based in England and Meghan was busy filming Suits in Canada. The clip gave us the feels—but even better, it also offered relationship advice gems that prove Harry and Meghan are #couplegoals. Here are four love lessons the royal couple can teach us all about finding and maintaining a happy, healthy relationship.
Your friends can help you find love
Harry and Meghan divulged to the BBC that they met on a blind date arranged through a mutual friend. Asking friends to set you up sounds ridiculously old-fashioned in the age of Tinder. But the royal couple is a perfect example of why you should give it a try.
First, a mutual friend can bind two strangers, giving them a sense of community and trust that might not exist on a date arranged with the help of a computer algorithm. "The problem with internet romance is there is no commonalities or community, so it's a big advantage to have someone you both belong to," says Stephen Snyder MD, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and author of Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Term Relationship ($17, amazon.com). Plus, if you're both friends with the same person, you already have an icebreaker for conversation.
Toss your perfect-partner checklist
Meghan is 36 years old; Prince Harry is 33. If they went the traditional route, with Harry only seeking a love match who was younger and Meghan going for an older guy, these two never would have met. While having a general guideline when it comes to the age of a potential date isn't a problem, discounting a person who doesn't make the cut means you might miss out on someone really perfect for you. "It's okay if you have rules as long as you're prepared to break them," says Dr. Snyder.
Keep a new relationship private
Meghan said that for months, she and Harry kept their relationship out the public eye—and as a result, they truly got to know each other. Dr. Snyder agrees that staying private early on is crucial, since it lets you "pay attention to the other person without having to worry about your outer reputation as a couple." Keeping your relationship status under wraps allows you to sort out what you like about your new partner as well as the things that may shock or disappoint you. Then you can work through these issues without being overly influenced by family and friends.
"It's tricky, because there's a natural impulse to want to tell everybody about your partner that you are proud of," says Dr. Snyder. But staying low-key, as Harry and Meghan did, means you'll have a chance to strengthen the bond between the two people who matter most in your budding relationship—you and your partner.
Long-distance love is possible
When they began dating, Harry and Meghan lived in two different countries on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Meghan said that she and her prince made sure to see each other in person every two weeks to keep the relationship tight and let their feelings deepen. Conventional wisdom has it that love can't blossom when a couple is long-distance. But this royal pairing proves otherwise.
"The primitive self that falls in love wants consistency and permanence, and those things feel lacking in a long-distance relationship," says Dr. Snyder. Feelings of abandonment and vulnerability can bubble up because your partner isn't physically around. But frequent visits—and frequent sex, adds Dr. Snyder, who is also a sex therapist—can help keep your emotions in check.
The takeaway here is not to brush off an eligible partner you have chemistry with just because the person does not currently live in your neck of the woods. Schedule regular visits, and love can grow. And when you can't see each other in the flesh, staying in touch via Skype, phone calls, and texts will reassure you of the strength of your bond.