After 18 years of marriage, I've learned that successful relationships aren't about manufactured romantic moments (or else all those couples who meet on the Bachelor would stay together). So here's my advice:
1. Laugh together every day. It's really hard to remain grouchy after an episode of The Daily Show, or a Snuggie infommercial.
2. Don't blame your partner for your own personal struggles. We've been pretty good about keeping professional stresses, extended family strife, and personal unhappiness out of our marriage. Whether it's been my husband's demanding schooling, or my long, discouraging path toward publishing, I've treated my marriage as an oasis from my other problems.
3. Expect your partner to change. So many of our personal interests, hobbies, likes and dislikes have changed over the years. But here's what hasn't changed: I married an intelligent, kind, compassionate, generous person with a great sense of humor. But the teenager who didn't understand why I hung Monet prints in my dorm room--and that worried me because it didn't fit my "ideal guy" list--is now the one insisting we visit all the museums in San Francisco.
So we went to the Giants game--and had a really great time. We sat next to a couple on their first date, and giggled a bit when the girl came back with a hotdog loaded down with onions and sauerkraut. A clear sign that the evening would end in disappointment for that poor guy!