Tips for a long-lasting love

March 1, 2010 9:22:52 PM PST
If you've heard enough about cheating celebrities who've wrecked their marriages, we have something new for you. Meet some high-profile couples whose marriages are working, and the things they can teach us to strengthen marriages. Houston Astros first baseman Lance Berkman is known for taking his career and his marriage and family seriously.

"To me, it's just the way to be," said Lance.

He has been married for 11 years, and he and his wife Cara have four little girls. They credit their Christian faith for staying affair-free, even during a season that entails 81 games on the road and weeks of spring training.

"You just have to make that effort to spend time together, so we don't forget about each other," said Cara.

She often meets him on the road and tells the children why it's important.

"'Because Mommy loves Daddy and Mommy wants time by myself with Daddy,'" she said. "We make it a point with them."

If you think this kind of advice is for high-profile couples only, think again. All marriages require work. Therapist Cheryl Simmons says in marriage counseling, she sees one problem again and again.

"You can guarantee there's unresolved conflict," said Simmons.

Dr. Ed Young, Pastor of Second Baptist Church, has been married to Jo Beth for 50 years and has authored books on marriage.

"We've been having an affair for 50 years. And that's how you keep the chemistry and the joy and the sharing," said Dr. Young.

He says they try to keep marriage fun.

"Jo Beth's fun to live with and she's taught me how to be fun when we're at home," said Dr. Young.

However, Jo Beth says like everyone else, they deal with problems, stress, and conflict.

"I'm not going to say it's always wonderful but they're there. All of us have that. There was never a question that we wouldn't work through that. I'm just grateful we did," said Jo Beth.

"Sometimes I have to ask myself periodically, what is it like being married to me? And that's a tough question," said Dr. Young.

Lance Berkman said, "We're always focused on ourselves, when marriage is all about, it should be all about the other person."

Here are some of their secrets to making love last: Remember what brought you together.

"It's still in there, that personality you first fell in love with. Go back and recapture that," said Simmons.

Listen without getting defensive, and resolve conflict without getting angry.

"There are words you have to learn in a marriage: I was wrong. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. I need you," said Dr. Young.

Let adversity pull you together, not apart.

"This world gets tough. It'll chew you up out there. We need to come home to feel encouraged and supported," said Simmons.

Learn to forgive.

"What is it that I need to forgive you for? What is it you need to forgive me for? That's a tough thing to sit there and hear someone say this is what I know I need to forgive you for. Because you're listening to all the ways you've hurt them," said Simmons.

And finally, put your spouse above all others.

"Jo Beth is number one in our life over our three boys, over our 10 grandchildren and over our dog," said Dr. Young.

"I know people are having a tough time, but you've got to be willing and want to work at it," said Jo Beth.

Lance added, "There are things that are wrong with our marriage, that we're still working on, but we're both committed to each other and we're not going anywhere. I tell her, if you leave I'm going with you."

This week, you'll find Cara with Lance at spring training, and as always, they took the whole family.

You can see the complete interviews with Lance and Cara Berkman, Dr. Ed and Jo Beth Young, and therapist Cheryl Simmons, you can click on the videos and links above.

How do celebs let affairs destroy marriage?

Cheating celebrities are in the news a lot these days. People like Tiger Woods who have it all, yet seem to self-destruct. We're left wondering why so many famous people have affairs that destroy their marriages.

How do high profile and intelligent people like Woods, John Edwards and Elliott Spitzer end up letting affairs destroy their marriages or careers or both? Maybe it's ego. Or maybe they're like many people.

"They don't intentionally set out to have an affair," said family therapist Cheryl Simmons.

She says long before the affair, there are changes in a marriage that set up what she calls a "perfect storm."

Simmons said, "They've not kept their emotional connection strong with their spouse. Maybe they've let their jobs, family life, raising kids get in the way of nurturing their relationship."

Experts say the evolution of an affair often begins with neglect which turns into resentment and unresolved conflict.

"So with unresolved conflict in the daylight hours, sure, other people can look great to us," Simmons said.

However, studies show that affairs don't last. Only one to three percent of relationships that start as an affair form a lasting marriage. And as the world saw with Woods' recent apology, the cost in terms of pain is tremendous. Astros first baseman Lance Berkman is in the public eye, too. He says he and his wife Cara are saddened to see what happened to Woods.

"There's no happiness there. This has caused a tremendous amount of pain. It's cost Tiger a large amount of money, it just doesn't work," said Berkman.