It's terrific when happily married people give you love advice but the ones who really know the pitfalls of a life together are those that failed to avoid them.
"In a weird twist of fate my sister's divorce was final a week before my wedding. Right before I walked down the aisle Emily took me aside and said, 'Learn from me, Pam. Bill was always saying I never complimented him. He's right. Not only wouldn't it have cost me anything to say, 'You look so handsome today'; 'You have such good taste in clothes,' those types of comments might have saved my marriage.'" —Emily
"While I feel secure that my marriage will last forever, I take to heart the advice of Val, my college roommate who wound up getting screwed over by her ex during the divorce: 'Make sure your name is on all the legal and financial documents and that you know all the financial assets, income and liabilities of what is called the marital estate!' Love is one thing; protecting yourself another." —Annie
"My brother-in-law, who'd been divorced twice before meeting my sister, gave me advice I will remember forever: 'Don't be threatened when your partner changes. You will change too. It's about accepting each other and welcoming growth, not trying to keep your other half in a box.'" —Sheila
"My divorced mom gave me sage advice, 'Never forget you are part of a team. Keep growing together instead of in opposite directions and you've got it made.'" —Beth
"Three years after her divorce and one month before my wedding my friend Sandy told me, 'Stop picking at the scab. Once he apologizes and you forgive him, truly let it go.'" —Sloan
"My friend Sondra told me, Remember the expression: 'Walk a mile in the other person's moccasins? Empathy is key. I think the major reason Dan and I got divorced is because we never truly tried to understand for the other person's point of view.'" —Anne
"Here is what my best friend Diane told me she's learned from having her marriage fall apart: 'Don't always rely on your spouse to come up with fun adventures for the two of you to nip boredom in the bud.'" —Naomi
"My friend Tammy told me, 'I put way too much pressure on my ex to satisfy all my needs and make me happy. That's why he left. It was a hard lesson to learn that no one else can be responsible for your well-being.'" —Linda
Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.