Jan and Jonathan
Both age 44, married 21 years
Trouble in Paradise
Jonathan: "I think the most difficult thing has been those times when we're under stress for whatever reason—work, parents, moving, or kids—and I'm trying to figure out: How do I deal with this? How does she? How do we handle it together?"
A More Perfect Union
Jan: "You have to learn what makes each other tick. You'll be fighting about the same things the last day you're married as you did on the first if you don't look at each other and say, 'This is who you are and this is who I am, and this is what makes me mad, and this is what gets you irritated.'"
Jonathan: "I know Jan has some anxiety at a level that I just don't have. So I think, 'Okay, I understand you're stressed and it's not me you're mad at. Take a minute to be anxious and angry, and then we'll talk about it.'"
Jan: "I know he's the big-picture guy. So I can't just ask him to have our son Matthew in bed by 8:30. I have to explain to him that Matthew didn't sleep well last night, and it's really important to me that he get to bed early. I can never make punctuality important to Jon. But I can make me important to him. And the respect he has for me will make him think, 'Right, check, I love her and this is who she is, and I need to do this because she needs me to do this.' And I have to do the same for him."