The best way to avoid divorce? Don’t get married. But if you want to find a better way to keep your relationship intact, you might want to check out “Divorce Court” judge Lynn Toler’s new book “Making Marriage Work.” The judge on the longest running court show on television has a front seat to marital problems and her book addresses them, covering everything from infidelity to technology. Aside from work, Toler knows of what she speaks in her personal life, raising two sons and four stepsons with her husband of 22 years, Eric Mumford. The Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania graduate has achieved all of this despite inheriting the bipolar disorder her father suffered from. Toler provides a lot of information on relationships via her website www.judgelynn.com, often answering user questions. Here are some of the answers she provided on marriage and relationships. Toler’s book, “Making Marriage Work” is available for purchase or download at booksellers nationwide.
What do you think are the main factors that caused the huge increase in the divorce rate over the past four or five decades?
Now that women are legally equal and more economically able, marriage is no longer a must but a choice. The sexual revolution, having allowed more of us access to sex without the requirement of marriage, has removed yet another social pressure that used to propel many down the aisle. Now that childbearing outside of marriage is also more socially acceptable, that’s one fewer reason to make the walk down the aisle. Also we are not as dependent on each other as we were before. Gender roles are no longer so strictly defined. We can take care of our own needs without the necessity of a spouse. Add to that our having access to the entire world right in our living rooms through our keyboards, and we can get plenty of satisfaction in life outside the bounds of marriage.
What are the most common marital problems that you see again and again?
The intrusion of technology, the desire for immediate gratification, economic pressures, and the age-old problem—cheating.
What are the top three takeaways readers should glean from "Making Marriage Work?"
1. You have to be consciously married. That means you have to think about what you do and how you do it all of the way through. You have to treat marriage like a third party that needs to be fed and cared for in order for it to survive.
2. Marriage is work. And work is good for people.
3. You need to decide what your marriage is supposed to look like. What works for
one couple will doom another.