Posted On February 19, 2016 by Print This Post

Making Love Last: Is it a Fairy Tale? by Brenda Novak

Romance readers and writers don’t need Valentine’s Day to make them think of romantic topics, but the heart-themed holiday does kind of aim an arrow at love and marriage. About a week ago, best-selling author BRENDA NOVAK directed a question to her long-married Facebook followers: What is most important when it comes to making a relationship last, and why? Today, Brenda shares her own experiences plus the insights the Facebook comments revealed.


While I was doing a signing for one of my books, a woman passed by, picked up my romance novel, and immediately wrinkled her nose. “I don’t read these kinds of books,” she said.

“What do you read?” I asked.

She slapped the book down on the table as if it was so far beneath her she couldn’t bear to touch it. “Something with at least a hint of realism.”

“I’m sorry for you,” I said. And I meant it. Because a good romance novel isn’t a fairy tale—it’s a snapshot of love at its finest. The complaint shouldn’t be that these books are not realistic; the complaint should be that so many of us 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, and taking it a few steps further to establish the deeper ties that make true love an everyday reality.


Based on my experience, observations and some input from my Facebook community, here are some ideas to help make love last:

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 this person means more to you than anyone else–including your parents and your kids. People who live their entire lives for their children 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 mere friends and neighbors. We expect our spouses 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 with your loved one, the more fulfilled and happy he/she will be, and the more he/she will be interested in giving back to you.

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

6. Try to do something nice for your spouse every day, even if it’s just a chore he or she typically does. These thoughtful touches will act like a hedge against the tough times.

7. Be physical, touch a lot, even when there’s no chance that it will escalate into a sexual encounter. These little reminders that a spouse cares are nurturing to the soul and send wonderful signals to your children. Your kids will feel secure and happy because you’re secure and happy, and they’ll be more loving because of the example you’ve set.

8. Remain loyal. Have the grit it takes to stick together through thick and thin.

9. Be unselfish. It might seem otherwise, but life isn’t all about you, how you’re feeling and what you want. Worry more about whether you’re being a good spouse than whether your spouse is being a good mate to you, and you’ll be glad you did.

10. Take care of yourself. You don’t have to be model-thin or in the first blush of youth, but be the best you can be—mentally and physically. In other words, be someone you’d like to be with.

11. Laugh. Don’t take life too seriously. It’s no fun to be around someone when everything means too much and weighs too heavily.


Now it’s your turn, RU followers – what do you think is the secret to longevity in romance?

Kayelle Allen joins us on Monday, February 22.



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New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than fifty books. A four-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs Brenda Novak for the Cure, a charity to raise money for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). To date, she’s raised $2.5 million. For more about Brenda, please visit

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HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE, the sequel to HANOVER HOUSE, is available for pre-order. Order your copy now so that it appears on your e-reader on release day!


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One Christmas can change your life… 

Kyle Houseman believes he’ll never find anyone he could love as much as Olivia Arnold, who’s now married to his stepbrother. Not only did he lose her, he’s been through one divorce and has no desire to go through another. He’s determined to be extra careful about the next woman he gets involved with—which is why he fights his attraction to the beautiful stranger who rents his farmhouse for the Christmas holiday.

Lourdes Bennett is a country music artist. She’s only planning to stay in Whiskey Creek long enough to write the songs for her next album—the album that’s going to put her back on top. Her dreams don’t include settling in a town even smaller than the one she escaped. But as she comes to know Kyle, she begins to wonder if she’d be making a terrible mistake to leave him behind…

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10 Responses to “Making Love Last: Is it a Fairy Tale? by Brenda Novak”

  1. Morning Brenda!

    Great post….something both men and women should read. #1 makes a big impression on me….=)

    There are days love makes you deliriously happy, and days you could murder…=) hopefully your marriage consists of more of the first…and you treasure those moments.


    Posted by Carrie Peters | February 19, 2016, 9:51 am
  2. Brenda really got me thinking because, as Carrie mentioned, those deliriously happy days are often counterbalanced by thoughts of murder. As a long-married person, I’ve definitely experienced both. Some people say romance novels give women unrealistic expectations, but I think it helps to have examples of what we’d like to have in our own lives.

    It’s like the school counselor used to tell the students at my kids’ middle school – you can’t achieve your goals unless you can envision them. I got married impulsively and it turns out I’m the same way with most big decisions, from buying a house to raising kids. I fly on instinct, and that usually works for me.

    I definitely think my choice of reading material has helped my marriage in all kinds of ways.

    Brenda, thanks so much for this post. It really gave me food for thought, both in real life and in my writing!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | February 19, 2016, 10:21 am
  3. I think you’ve got to be each other’s best friend, too. This probably fits right in with numbers 8,9 and 11.

    Thanks for this wonderful post, Brenda! I’m a huge fan and met you at RWA in July but was fan-girling it too much to say a word.

    One of my favorite books of all time is This Heart of Mine.

    Posted by Heatherly Bell | February 19, 2016, 12:59 pm
  4. Hi Brenda,

    It’s too bad some people dismiss a bit of happiness as a waste of time. If a friend told them a heartwarming story, they would enjoy it. Why not read one and share it too?

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | February 19, 2016, 1:28 pm
  5. Always: Say Please and Thank You.

    Posted by Stanalei Fletcher | February 19, 2016, 1:34 pm
  6. Hi Brenda,

    Communication and compromise is key. Knowing and understanding what’s important to your spouse or significant other is important, too.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | February 19, 2016, 5:08 pm
  7. Great post, Brenda!! My husband and I have been married for 41 years. I credit the ability to laugh as one of the reasons we’ve made it this long. I know I can be mad at him and wonder why I ever married him, then he’ll make me laugh. And I think, oh yeah, that’s why!

    Looking forward to the latest Whiskey Creek and the sequel to Hanover House. Love all your books!

    Posted by Carol Opalinski | February 19, 2016, 5:49 pm
  8. Great post Brenda, every single point resonated with me. Ashamed to say that number 9 ‘Be unselfish’ is something I need to practice much more, not forgetting any of the other points either LOL!

    I find it’s the everyday, the hugs and kisses, the sincere ‘how are you?’ at the end of the working day, the shared understanding on the minutiae of daily life, that help my husband and I get through the tough times. He says it all when he tells me, ‘we’re a team’. What a sweetie!

    Best wishes!


    Posted by Nikki Weston | February 21, 2016, 1:50 pm
  9. After several marriages, this last one still beautiful after 26 years, and after spending almost that same amount of time practicing family law, I have a simple message: There are two important aspects in marriage: sex and handling money. If both the sex and handling money are at least satisfactory,the marriage can last. If one or the other works, the marriage can survive. If neither sex or handling money works, the marriage is doomed.

    Posted by Linda | February 22, 2016, 12:26 pm
  10. I think every one of your points is good. It’s a shame we forget the romance. If we want to keep it, we can. And, it’s really great to keep.

    Posted by David | February 23, 2016, 12:16 pm

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