Stars Reveal the Secrets Behind Their Long-lasting Marriages

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Mariksa Hargitay & Peter Hermann

“I never thought that I would laugh this much in my marriage. That is such a fundamental ingredient of who you are, this insistence on joy,” Hermann tells his bride of their 16-year partnership. “And I think what sustains our marriage is that I know you love me in spite of who I am, and that is the definition of grace.”

Seeking out that happiness is key. Even after a particularly robust argument, “One of us will test the waters with a joke—about the very thing we were fighting about,” he shares in the book What Makes a Marriage Work of life with the Law & Order: SVU star. “It’s like one of us says, ‘I’m not saying I was wrong, and I’m not still insisting I was entirely right, but can we at least inch our way back toward the place where we caught at stuff together?’ Once that happens, it’s a pretty good sign that things are on their way to getting patched up.”

Chip Gaines & Joanna Gaines

They’ve avoided need for any major renovation by sticking to the same advice they got in premarital counseling ahead of their 2003 vows. Even five kids in, Tuesday date nights are a must and they’ve held off on purchasing a TV, instead finding other ways to connect.

But if Chip were to offer any tip to follow, it’d be to pursue the person you love “like a hornet.” Some two decades in, he says, he still feels like the guy hoping to get a second date. “I’m not saying she’d never cheat on me,” he explains, “but it’s not going to be because I never told her I loved her or because I didn’t send her flowers or I forgot our anniversary.”

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