David puts it simply from the get-go: “One of the secrets of us staying together – since we’ve both worked [as lawyers] in divorce work over the years – we understand how ugly and horrible it can be.”

He goes on to say, “I have nothing against divorce … it’s a positive in certain circumstances. I’ve always said a kid that grows up in two separate happy households is better than the kid who grows up in one unhappy household.”

David and Israela’s temperament is typical of people living in the northeast. They speak quickly and their humor is dry. Their home is midway between Boston, MA and Providence, RI. They’ve both been in that house and married for 20 years this year and have two teenage children.

David Cass and Israela Brill-Cass in their home in Newton, Massachusetts in 2015

Israela jokes, “I keep telling people he’s my starter husband – because I did not marry for money – and I probably should have – but I still haven’t left my starter home so…” David adds, “Starter husband, starter home, so we’re kind of stuck in this whole thing now.”

They emphasize their similar sense of humor is critical in their marriage. David says, “You try to figure out where the line is and you don’t go over it … When you can laugh about something you did, it makes it much easier to accept that you’re not perfect.”

Getting to what makes their love last – they value communication above all else. Israela explains, “Marriages don’t break up because of infidelity; they break up because of a lack of communication. Infidelity is a way for people to express that something is wrong without actually having to deal with the issue.”

David adds, “Infidelity is a side effect – it’s not a primary cause … What it comes down to though, is a lot of marriages break up because of a lack of communication. People are afraid to say, ‘I’m not happy with this aspect of our relationship. I’m not happy here.’”

So they agree – if one of them has an issue, they try to let the other person know and they work it out. Aside from their careers as a reminder, it also helps that they have plenty of opportunities because they really, really like to spend time together. They’ve both have crafted their work around being home together more often with both of them working from home sometimes. Here’s Israela:

We’ve always said we’re rather do something that we don’t enjoy – together – than do something we enjoy without each other – and that holds true … We didn’t go to a movie for the first 8 months of our relationship because we didn’t feel like we wanted to sit in a dark room and not talk.


David also points out, “It’s different than people that work outside of the home for 80 hours in separate areas and don’t see each other as much.”

How does your professional work influence your outlook on your home life with your partner? How do you let your partner know when you’re not happy about an aspect of your relationship? 

Tell us about it in a comment!

Daniel is a founding author of How Love Lasts.

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