April 9, 2010 at 11:40 am , by Lisa M. Gerry
I am fascinated by relationships—what makes them last, what makes them end and all the nitty gritty in between. Thankfully, LHJ is too (as evidenced by our most popular column, Can This Marriage Me Saved). So, when I got the chance to talk to Judge Lynn Toler—who since 2006 has been the host of Divorce Court, television’s longest running court show—I wanted to know what she’s learned about love from her time on the bench.
You’ve been married 21 years. Has being exposed to so much divorce caused you to lose any faith in marriage?
It does two things: One, it teaches me what not to do because you see the same mistake made over and over again. And two, even when my husband and I aren’t getting along, it makes me appreciate what I’ve got.
So, what’s a common mistake people make in their marriages?
They break the “False OK” rule. I’ve done it in my marriage. I kept saying “OK” to my husband when things weren’t OK. Men take you at face value. You don’t make things better by not telling the truth.
We’re seeing so much in the news about unfaithful men—from politicians to pro athletes. In your experience, how often are couples able to work through infidelity?
Women who have been cheated on tend to stay more than a guy who has been cheated on. Women tend to defend the home…we have a strong biological desire to keep the family intact. That drives a lot of what we do, even when we have difficulty.
What makes you a lady: Strength and restraint—the ability to do anything that you need to do, coupled with the good sense not to do the things you could do, but shouldn’t.
Favorite guilty pleasure: Double stuffed Oreo cookies.
Three things on my life list: (1) I would like to be fluent in a second language. (2) My mother said to me about a year ago, “Your sister and you have arrived.” And she said “arrival” is this: If she were to die tomorrow, she’d know we’d be just fine. So, I want my kids to arrive. (3) This is a silly thing, but I’d like to commit to memory John Dunne’s Seventeenth meditation. It’s the most beautiful piece of writing in the world.
(Image courtesy of Twentieth Television)