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Dennis Weaver on the Secret of Their Successful Marriage

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Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

Dennis and Gerry Weaver at fundraiser for John Kerry in Los angeles, California, May 22, 2004

Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

Here are Dennis Weaver's thoughts on the secret of his successful marriage with Gerry.

Marriage is Not a Longevity Contest

"Well, there isn't just one secret - there are many. First of all, it's not a contest of longevity. The length of a marriage has little to do with the success of a marriage. But we normally shower a couple with applause and congratulations if they make it to their fiftieth wedding anniversary - although the love in the relationship may have expired years earlier."

Marriage is Life's Most Critical Relationship

"By the nature of marriage, because the husband wife live in such proximity, it is by far life's most critical relationship, and the one that allows us the grandest opportunity to express the purpose of life, which is to love and to be loved."

Importance of Giving Your Spouse Room to Breathe

"Any marriage that does not have mutual usefulness as its foundation will be difficult. The word "allow" is very significant in any successful relationship, whether it be between family members, friends, husbands and wives. When we truly love someone, we allow them their own thoughts, interests, and space. We give each other room to breathe."

Marriage Expectations

"No one person can satisfy all the needs of another - that only happens in overly romantic love novels. So don't expect that kind of perfection, or disappointment will surely follow."

Sense of Freedom in Marriage

"Gerry and I developed an understanding of each other, a feeling of compassion and patience that has run quiet and deep. We each enjoy our own sense of freedom...If the feeling of ownership creeps into a marriage, it will blow out the strongest flame of love."

Expressing Your Love

"Be happy with yourself. Be content with who you are.... express your love in thought, word, and action. Let your partner and the world know that you are the lover of all lovers."

Source: All the World's a Stage, page 75.

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