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Advice on how to have happy marriages from Diane Rehm, Ted Gibson, Mary Cheh

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He owns Chevy Chase's Ted Gibson Salon, and spends his time with Backe in Washington and New York, where he owns another salon. While the couple have no kids yet, Gibson says it's "in discussion."

Mary Cheh

On paper, Cheh appears to be very strait-laced. She's the District's Ward 3 council member, a law professor at George Washington University and married to Neil Lewis, 62, a journalist who wrote for the New York Times. In person, however, her left hand gives away her rebellious side -- she doesn't wear a wedding ring despite having been married for 30 years. Cheh, 59, describes her path to marriage as being "out of order," having lived with Lewis for several years before marrying him.

Nearly 40 years later, she believes two things have been critical in helping to make her and Lewis's marriage a happy one: "Not only do we have a respect for each other's activities, but the other thing that I think has worked well for us is that we have common interests that have gone over the course of time. . . . Having that common interest is an important part in keeping people together, whether it be a marriage or even a long-term friendship." For them, those interests lie in sports and public affairs, and a conscious effort to let each other pursue individual endeavors.

The couple have two daughters and live in Washington.

Warren Brown

It's been almost a year since CakeLove owner Brown tied the knot. So far, marriage has been -- what else? -- a cakewalk. "It's all good," he says. While Brown, 39, doesn't have any specific words of wisdom, he has a newfound appreciation for the emotional and legal connection he now shares with his wife. "There's even more depth of feeling since we've been married. I think it's something that should be available to everyone regardless [of sexual orientation]," he says. "I don't think anyone should be refused the opportunity to express and receive unconditional love."

And that form of expression doesn't have to be extravagant. Giving each other a high-five after a workout or cooking dinner are all forms of "I love you" in his household. Brown and his wife, Pam Brown, 34, just had their first child, daughter Poplar, and live in Washington.

For more "Staying Power" interviews, visit http://washingtonpost.com/stayingpower.


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