The Divorce-Proof Marriage: Does It Exist?

After all, the threat of divorce looms large for many of today's brides- and grooms-to-be. And according to a study by Jay D. Teachman (Childhood Living Arrangements and the Intergenerational Transmission of Divorce), parental divorce has a significant effect -- a 38-percent increase -- on the likelihood that the children will divorce. But that doesn't mean every child of divorce is promised the same fate. "Some couples who are children of divorced parents have an even better chance at a good marriage because they know how painful divorce is and don't want to make the same mistakes," says Dr. Brenda Shoshanna, author of Zen and the Art of Falling in Love (Simon and Schuster). "They are often willing to put in more effort to make things work ."

Liz and Tyson recently got engaged during a trip to Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. Liz believes the time commitment involved with answering the questions in Don't You Dare Get Married was an invaluable investment in their long-term happiness as a couple. She found every chapter of the book worthwhile, especially the chapter on religion, which is a complicated matter in her relationship. "Tyson comes from a churchgoing family; his dad is actually a minister," Liz explains. "I come from a split-religion home where my mother is Catholic and my father is Jewish. As a result, we had very different views on how to incorporate religion into our children's lives and whether or not to baptize them. But the basis of a good marriage is two people who really care about each other and are willing to tough it out, even when they don't agree." She says that discussing each issue -- no matter how challenging or emotionally draining -- made her confident that she and Tyson would be able to work through the problems they encounter in years to come.

But she also acknowledges that marriage is always a leap of faith to some degree. Dr. Shoshanna agrees: "Even if the person is perfect for you when you wed, change is inevitable. Each will grow, possibly in different ways. It is not what happens that counts as much as how they both handle it. A good relationship involves attention, quality time, communication  and play. When both are on the same page in this area, that is the best way to 'divorce proof' a marriage."

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