Al Roker and Deborah Roberts Revealed the ‘Secret Sauce’ on Overcoming Challenges in Their Marriage
Today Show star Al Roker and ABC News correspondent Deborah Roberts tied the knot over 25 years ago. Often sharing personal stories of family life, Roker and Roberts have learned over the years what works best for them in their marriage and aren’t afraid of getting outside help if needed.
Al Roker had to balance a new relationship and his daughter
Roker was divorced when he and Roberts headed to the altar in 1995, and had a a daughter, Courtney, from his previous marriage. Roberts commented on how her husband tried to give his new relationship the attention it needed while also being there for Courtney.
“Since Al came to the relationship with an ex-wife and a daughter, we were destined for complications,” Roberts wrote in their book Been There, Done That: Family Wisdom For Modern Times. “I thought our happiness and love would cure any problems we faced, but that was wishful thinking. … Al felt a tremendous amount of guilt about his daughter Courtney. … like any child of divorce, she was hurting and blamed me for her broken family. Of course, I wasn’t the reason her parents divorced, but that didn’t matter to Courtney.”
With Roker feeling torn between his new wife and his daughter, Roberts realized they couldn’t handle the hurdle on their own.
“There were times when I wanted Al’s full attention and devotion, and he was terribly conflicted. … It was as if he were being pulled on by the two women in his life. We began to have small arguments. … It was the classic struggle that so many blended families feel and deal with. We needed help, and fortunately, Al was open to the idea of therapy to talk out our problems.”
Al Roberts and Deborah Roberts sought counseling
After getting a referral from a friend, Roker and Roberts began speaking with a marriage counselor and soon learned how to communicate more effectively.
“[The therapist] advised us to talk more and to discuss the hurt we each felt,” Roberts recalled. “I had to put myself in Al’s shoes and appreciate his pain. And he had to be sensitive to moments when I needed him and to learn to let go of the guilt.”
The couple saw how instrumental an objective voice could be in providing insight, especially in circumstances where both spouses are only seeing their own point of view.
“We realized it was good for us to have a neutral third party to talk to,” Roberts explained. “I think a lot of spouses go through a period where problems or feelings seem to be falling on deaf ears. But if it comes from a third party, suddenly, that same idea is crystal clear. Seeing a therapist was an outlet. … He also helped us see ourselves and each other’s point of view without judgment.”
Deborah Roberts and Al Roker place a priority on their marriage
Roberts noted the surprising statistics of couples who don’t try marital counseling prior to splitting up. The journalist recommended the benefits that therapy can bring to marriages going through tough times.
“Two-thirds of all divorcing couples today never sought therapy before calling it quits,” Roberts remarked. “We aren’t saying it’s the answer for everyone, but for Al and me, it has been our secret sauce to navigating situations we weren’t capable of handling on our own. … The thought of going to therapy can be scary, daunting overwhelming and disappointing – but it beats giving up. At least it does for us.”
Clearly, Roberts and Roker both take their marriage vows seriously and are devoted to sharing their lives together.
“Marriage – even love – takes work,” Roberts wrote. “And it certainly takes commitment – a lot of commitment. Al and I are totally committed to each other and to our family.”