Dr. Robi Ludwig Host of TLC's "One Week to Save Your Marriage," Dr. Robi Ludwig offers practical marriage advice and reveals what part of her marriage she still works on. BY APRIL Y. PENNINGTON
Dr. Robi Ludwig
MARRIAGE STATS Spouse: David Ludwig Married: 13 years Kids: 2 Notable: Psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig has shared her insight on issues pertaining to lifestyle and love as a regular on NBC’s "The Today Show," Larry King Live, Nancy Grace and Court TV, where topics can get a little more grim when she’s explaining the criminal mind. Now she’s the host of her own show, TLC’s "One Week to Save Your Marriage." Already airing Mondays at 10 PM ET/PT on TLC through August 28th, Dr. Ludwig gives some intensive care each week to couples making their final attempt to salvage their union as they face the real possibility of divorce. The show has already been picked for a second season and will return in 2007, but in the meantime, Dr. Ludwig gives us her two cents on marriage.
 What is the most common problem issue you see couples deal with? The most common problem I see couples deal with is partner disappointment. It might be disappointment over in-law issues, financial realities, and/or other flaws that rear its ugly head during marriage. We all end up with flawed partners, yet somehow this very common reality is overlooked during the courting phase and/or on our wedding day. I once came across a pillow that said, "Love is blind, but marriage is an eye opener"…isn’t that the truth?
 You are a psychotherapist, but you’re also married with children. How much of the advice you give on the show is based on your own experience or common sense, and how much is more from your expertise? The advice I give is influenced by all three factors. All three are important, and in a way can’t be separated from one another. I understand from an experiential standpoint the challenges of being a wife and mother. But it’s important not to confuse one’s own life challenges with the challenges of the couples that I work with. That’s why it’s so important to receive training. You learn how to make those important separations, so you can be objective in a way that’s beneficial for the couples you see in treatment.
 Are there any current factors that are presenting challenges to married couples that perhaps older, more established spouses didn’t have to contend with in the past? The economics of marriage have changed significantly over the last thirty years. In most cases you have dual income families. If you compare today’s marriages with historical marriages there are huge differences. Today, marriage is a union based on love and the concept of having a "soul mate". Historically, marriages were more business or practical arrangements. Today we place a lot of expectations on our marriages—for better or for worse. We want our partner to be everything and when they’re not, divorce can be viewed as the only real pathway to happiness.
 Seeing these couples on the brink of divorce, what has been the saving grace for most of them? For the couples I have worked with who end up saving their marriage, they enter into treatment with the goal to do just that—save their marriage. It might sound simplistic, but it’s really very true. Sometimes couples go to counseling with the goal to break up. You could be the best therapist in the world and have no impact with those couples.
 What has this show taught you about marriage that maybe you didn’t realize before? Good question…"One Week to Save Your Marriage" has reminded me that being happily married is a skill. Fortunately for couples, it’s a skill that can be learned!
 What are some things you and your husband still have to remind yourselves to do or not do in your marriage? My husband and I are still learning how to talk about money. I spend like I won’t have to pay bills, and David is my voice of reason. He saves us from financial ruin. I don’t always like that conversation: "What’s this on the credit card, and don’t lie to me!" but I know it’s one that has to be had. That only took me 13 years to realize. Hey, we all have resistances!
 If you could give one piece of advice for couples out there, what would you say? Everybody gets a flawed spouse. We need to remember our own imperfections and stop blaming and punishing each other for the inherent disappointments that are unavoidable in marriage. Be kind! If we want a good relationship, then we have to decide what we want our relationship to look like and then work towards it. Marriage is a creative and ever changing adventure. It’s one that requires time, attention and commitment.