TODAY | September 04, 2012
>> this morning how to make your marriage thrive by learning from those who couldn't. why do some couples make it while others fail? it's the ultimate question in the complicated journey of love and family.
>> when i saw sue's photograph, i realized i just knew instantly this was the woman i would marry.
>> at first glance bruce and sue have the perfect relationship. they felt like soul mates after meeting in their 20s and they married and had two sons.
>> we just really loved each other and it was beautiful.
>> but after 15 years they began to drift.
>> i just don't think we were expressing ourselves to each other.
>> reporter: and bruce met another woman.
>> he fell in love . it was very, very hard on both of us.
>> reporter: bruce cut it off to try to save their marriage. despite intensive therapy they found it too hard to reconcile. sue found it hard to let go of the hurt.
>> once we've gone so long without being in sync, or there's infidelity, the pain is so terrible, we feel so disrespected, we feel digging our way out is impossible.
>> reporter: they didn't let their divorce ruin their friendship. in writing, if you ever need me, i won't be far away, bruce realized their love evolved. despite living separate lives, in many ways they are closer than ever.
>> even though the marriage contract is over, the love still remains and i'm sure always will.
>> good morning to both of you. great to have you here.
>> good morning.
>> with that title, "you can be right or you can be married" it's provocative at the very least. what do you mean by it?
>> it's a piece of advice given to me by someone i interviewed who came appropriately from her stepmother trying to tell her how to fight productively, if you fight to be right, you fight to win, there's a loser or there's somebody who is going to be not part of the union . you should never prioritize the individual over the union. it's really just teaching us how to be fair and how to keep the eye on mutual agreement.
>> there's a lot of good takeaway in the book. you say success may come from our failures. that's exactly what you found. by interviewing hundreds of men and women and their stories about divorce, some salacious details, including the secret affairs of one woman at the waldorf astoria to the cross dressing husband, what is some of the -- what are some of the most intimate details that you found that we can talk about?
>> well, what's interesting about those stories you mentioned, the man who actually is a therapist, who is a cross dresser , his first marriage dissolved because he wasn't able to explore that side of himself. he's someone who likes to dress up like a woman occasionally and be with a man. now in his second marriage, he was really open about his desires, put it all on the table. this is me, this is what i like, who i am. do you want to get married and have a family. i'm really interested in leading a heterosexual life. now they have two kids. once a week, he is allowed to dress up like a woman and see his boyfriend.
>> very open. that's a new definition of an open marriage . right? in the book there's a lot of stories about infidelity. you actually concluded in the cases where there was adultery, the marriages didn't end because of the act. most of the time people cheated because they were unhappy at home. do you think people are driven into affairs? is that what you found by talking to those couples?
>> that's a slippery slope to say you made me do it. i think the key to any relationship is really taking responsibility. if you're unhappy really expressing that and saying i'm unhappy because of x, y, off z and let's try to work on it. a lot of times people are seeking validation elsewhere because they feel unloved, unseen, unsexy. they become very vulnerable to the attention of other people. i do think a lot of times they are unhappy at home. rarely will you find a couple very, very happy together and one of them --
>> cheats. let's bring in the therapy session here. what are some of the most common mistakes couples do make?
>> people fail to protect quality time , couple time. you get so difficult with kids, job, extended family members. you forget you're a couple first. so often people become invisible to each other. they don't have that way of reconnecting. oftentimes they don't talk about stuff. that pink elephant becomes a stampede. you have to talk about hot button topics likes sex and money, difficulties you have. if you don't talk about it, it becomes problematic. sharing way too much information about your relationship with other people, have one confidant, not someone who won't understand, when gow to family dinner nobody talking to them.
>> sometimes people think divorce is the best solution. even if there are kids involved, couples are simply incompatible. are there ways to work through, if you are couples fighting to keep that marriage going?
>> there's many ways to work through it. sometimes you have to focus on the positive. lots of times we can give you a laundry list of the negative things. at the end of the day we focus on what we do have rather than what we don't have. nurturing the relationship is key. if the grass is greener, maybe you better water the grass on your own side. focus on the love language. that can help lots of things.
>> i know you're single. are you going to stay single after writing the book?
>> i think the book has given me very helpful voices in my head .
>> enlightened man, good husband material. thank you very much.
>> thank you.
>> again, the book is called "you can be right or