Some couples choosing to live apart in order to stay together

Rewriting the rules of marriage to make it last

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We've all heard, read and seen that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.  America's divorce rate began climbing in the late 1960s and skyrocketed during the '70s and early '80s.  Some couples are rewriting the so-called rules of marriage so they can live happily  ever after.

Lise and Emil Stoessel are still very much in love but the married couple doesn't live together.  They have been living in separate houses about five miles from each other for the past five years.

After years of a conventional marriage, they hit a rut.

"I realized that I still loved him," said Lise, who wrote the book Living Happily Ever After Separately.

So Lise and Emil  figured out how to make it work, by living separately.

"It's not just about getting your own little needs met, it's about creating something really powerful," said Phylis R. Koch-Sheras, PhD, who's a clinical psychologist and the author of Lifelong Love.

Koch-Sheras says couples need to stop focusing on the rules and focus on themselves.  And she says she has the key to long, lasting love, the 4 C's in this order.

Commitment is number one, followed by cooperation, communication and community.

Koch-Sheras has  been married to her husband Peter for 37 years.

"If there's a secret, it's to keep that love alive by keeping the fun alive," said Peter.

According to the Center for Divorce Education, more than half of already divorced people say they wished their spouse had worked harder to save their marriage and their money. 

Getting divorced is not only painful, but it can be expensive.  Using a variety of statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, came to an average figure for hidden costs: about $53,000.  That's almost twice the amount the average American couple spends on their wedding day.

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