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Working To Make It Work

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AP
The divorce rate in the United States hovers near 50 percent.

But, one couple looked the "divorce devil" right in the face, stared him down and wrote a book about it.

The Early Show National Correspondent Thalia Assuras spent some time with the dynamic duo.

"Communication in the marital or familial context is something I didn't know how to do when we got married," said John Rehm.

Throw some of the most contentious issues at stake in marriage at this couple and you'll see sparks.

"Money — don't like it, don't particularly like to spend it," said John.

"I enjoy money, and I love clothes," said Diane Rehm.

They've raised successful children and had countless happy times.

"Here you have two grossly opposite people, with this enormous attraction that's held us together for all these years," said Diane.

But Diane and John will tell you straight out that it's been a tumultuous 42 years. John said he felt he was at his lowest point in the relationship when he felt himself attracted to somebody outside the marriage. "Thank God, nothing came of it. But that was very hard," said John. "Because that struck at the heart of the relationship."

"I had come pretty close to the conclusion that this was just not going to work, it was too much work, " said Diane. "Dealing with his moods, dealing with his withdrawals, dealing with his non-attentiveness, his unsociableness. All that had become more than I wanted to put up with."

Now they say the biggest problems are behind them. Still, some things — like renovating the kitchen — are sure to cook up tensions.

"I just keep coming back to the issue of need, which drives Diane up a wall," said John. "We have a lovely house as it is, so why do you want to do this?"

"15 years to convince him to do the first renovation," said Diane. "Two years on this one. Two years, just talking back and forth."

Talking and listening at home and at the office seem to do the trick. Diane is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host. John is a retired lawyer.

"The biggest problem we've had to overcome is to recognize that each of us has very different styles of communication, of dress, of socializing, of eating," said Diane. "We're just very, very different people."

And now, in a new book, these two are talking about negotiating the pitfalls of living together. They hope it will be a helpful reality check for new couples.

"There are too many fairy tales that remain in your women's minds, especially young women's minds, about what marriage is, what it's going to be, and how things will work," said Diane.

Four decades later, Diane and John believe they have at least some of the answers.

"Two people have to keep asking questions, listen to the answers carefully and ask the follow-up questions," said Diane.