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The Today Show’s Janice Lieberman Tells You What the Experts Know About Happy Marriages

How to Shop for a Husband: The Hard Facts!

When I began to write my book, “How to Shop for a Husband,” I knew that although I wanted to make it a fun read, I also wanted to include solid information that would make it the dating-world equivalent of a consumer guidebook. As it turns out, the experts-scientists, sociologists, sexologists, divorce lawyers, long-married couples-actually know what it takes to get and stay happily married. The information, though, was either shrouded in academic jargon or had never been written down at all. So I decided to correct the problem. Here’s a preview of what the experts know about love and marriage–facts you can use to shop for the spouse of your dreams.

The Science of Internet Dating: Social scientists are all over Internet dating-they love it! Why? Because Internet dating provides quantifiable data and scientists looooooove quantifiable data. And what have they found? They know this: like attracts-and stays with-like. You may have heard that opposites attract, but for long-term love, look for similarities. I call this the “Mirror-Image Rule.” Literally dozens of scientific studies have proven and confirmed this: the more you have in common with a guy, the more attracted you will be to each other and the happier you will be in the long run. eHarmony knows this and uses it to help you find the one person out there with whom you are most compatible. It is scientifically proven, so shop for a guy who is like you in as many ways as possible-background, personality, interests. Remember, you won’t find everything you are looking for, but the more common ground you two have, the happier you will be together.

The Real Truth About Men Who Stay Married: According to scientific studies, men who stay with their wives may share certain characteristics. First, men who believe they married a woman who is a little better looking than they are stay married longer. Interesting, huh? Perhaps these guys figure they lucked out and aren’t going to let her go! Other studies show that divorce rates are much lower among college-educated men. So look for those degrees, ladies. And, finally, find a guy who is willing to wash the dishes and help out around the house. Studies show that marriages in which household tasks are shared last for the long haul.

Education and Eating: I decided to poll a group of my long-married relatives, friends, and acquaintances-I figured they are the real marriage experts. I asked them this: what should a girl look for in a husband? Almost to a person, they said that women should seek a spouse with a similar level of education and a similar approach to eating (i.e., vegan v. carnivore, foodie v. food-averse). Other interests-sports, the arts, television, politics-were negotiable, but education and eating, in the minds of these experts, are not.

Being Kind: I have to admit it. I had a brilliant idea. I thought: why not ask a divorce lawyer her view of why marriages break up? That way, I figured, I would get a better idea of how to avoid those problems . . . and how to avoid the men who come with those problems. Here’s what I learned: the number one reason marriages end up in divorce court is lack of consideration. It’s the little kindnesses that count. So find a guy who remembers the little things, like anniversaries and birthdays, and takes into consideration your feelings. And then be sure to reciprocate. If you are lucky enough to find someone who treasures you and is attuned to your feelings, make sure you return the favor!

Check out my book, How to Shop for a Husband, for even more expert advice on making the purchase of a lifetime.

Janice Lieberman has been the featured consumer reporter on NBC’s Today Show for more than ten years and is a contributor to Reader’s Digest. How to Shop for a Husband, by Janice Lieberman with Bonnie Teller, is available in bookstores nationwide. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Powells, Borders, Books a Million, and Indiebound .