George Stephanoulos, the Good Morning America co-host, and his comedic actress wife Ali Wentworth seem like they could be an odd pairing.
Wentworth, who starred in films like Office Space and Jerry McGuire and has written three humor books (her latest, Go Ask Ali: Half-Baked Advice and Free Lemonade is out on April 24) is a self-described WASP and a “fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants” type, who loves a dirty joke.
Stephanopoulos, a former political advisor, describes himself an “very regimented” and gets excited over political interviews, like his recent sit-down with ex-FBI director James Comey. (Airing Sunday on 20/20.)
Yet the two of them have had a successful union for 17 years, happily raising two daughters, Harper, 12, and Elliot, 15. So, PEOPLE asked, what are their best tips for staying together through thick and thin?
To read more on Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday
Their answer? Don’t assume divorce is the answer to your problems.
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“People always say, ‘Oh you have to have a sense of humor,” says Wentworth, 53. “But I always say, you just have to really come to terms with this idea that ‘I’m going to be with this person forever.’ Not, ‘Oh I can always get a divorce or have an affair.’ You have to just go, ‘We’re in it until a nurse comes in and changes our diapers and wipes the drool off our faces.’ That makes the fights less scary.”
Stephanopoulos, 57, adds, “You also have to learn how to fight.”
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“I’m dirty fighter,” admits Wentworth. “I get very street and gangster. I can be really nasty. Sometimes I try and push it really far just so it will be over. It’s like, nuke it and rebuild.”
She adds, joking, “But I’m not in therapy right now. I probably should have a team of specialists on call at all times.”
Their other tip? Try not to be glued to your phones at all time in front of each other.
“We have a no phones at the dinner table rule,” says Stephanopoulos. Wentworth says that can sometimes be tough, considering Stephanopoulos works in breaking news and there could always be nuclear missiles heading for us.
Stephanopoulos adds, “I still won’t do it at the table!”