David Letterman’s Top 10 Relationship Repair Tips

LettermanDear Mr. Letterman,
You don’t know me, but the endless news cycle has let me (along with a million other people) in on your recent crisis. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your wife, Regina Lasko, as you work on repairing the damage done to your marriage.

Having your life publicly dissected at a time like this has got to be aggravating. But it also provides a teachable moment– not just for you but for husbands who’ve made the same mistakes you’ve made, and for the heartbroken women who’ve suffered as a result. How you handle this will become a “how to” manual for countless other men who watch you and, consciously or not, are influenced by your words and actions.

“Work Cut Out For You”
I’m sure Regina’s already given you your job description!  But as someone who works daily with women who’ve suffered from the same kind of pain she likely is going through, let me respectfully offer a new Top 10 list which you might find useful when applying yourself to the task:

Tip 10: Work on Listening.
Regina is no doubt going through a myriad of emotions over this betrayal, and the private pain and public humiliation it’s brought onto her. At times she may scream, weep, accuse, interrogate, or retreat into silence. (Sometimes all on the same day!) One of the greatest gifts you can give her is that of a listening ear attached to a man who’s willing to hear his wife’s pain, without defending himself or running away.

Tip 9: Work on Practical Action.
If you have a weakness, count on it continuing to be a weakness even though you’ve recognized it and rejected it. Your weakness has been women, and the access you have to them through your privileged position. Well, women aren’t going to disappear, Dave. And the opportunities to repeat the mistakes you’re suffering from now aren’t going away either.

So be practical. Stay away from private meetings with ladies you know you’re attracted to, and let someone you trust question you about this regularly. Be accountable to someone for the way you handle yourself and your relations. In other words, don’t just be sorry, be practical; because if you did it once, then at some point you’re going to want to do it again. So be ready.

Tip 8: Work on Humility.
“I’m sorry” is a pretty overused phrase, though it’s a good start. But go beyond the typical apology. Show your sorrow by staying teachable, non-defensive, and considerate. Express to her the way you feel about what you’ve done, and make sure she knows you’re in pain, too. Above all (and this may be tough for a man of your stature) avoid anything that smacks of arrogance, because arrogance and repentance don’t go together. Let her see that you’re not just aware of what you’ve done, but that you’re heartbroken over it as well.

Tip 7: Work on Introspection
This didn’t happen in a vacuum, and without understanding what led to your behavior, you’re all the more vulnerable to repeating it. So maybe now’s a good time to speak with a counselor or spiritual advisor and explore what brought you to this point. Too much power? Loneliness? The need to conquer? An entitled mindset that said I can therefore I will? Ask yourself the tough questions, because they’ll remain long after the dust has settled.

Tip 6: Work on Empathy
Try seeing this through Regina’s eyes. The man she committed herself to has betrayed her trust, threatened her emotional safety, deceived her and has been willing to risk the life she’s built with him. Try remembering how you felt when someone violated your trust, multiply those feelings by at least a hundred and you’ll begin to understand her pain.  And as tempting as it may be, don’t minimize what she’s going through or the seriousness of your actions! It wasn’t just a slip, a judgment error, or a stupid move. It was a wound inflicted on the one person you’re least entitled to wound, and an indescribably deep one.

Tip 5: Work on Investment
Put some time in to communicate with Regina. She needs to see you’ll take the time to talk it out and are interested in your future together.  So whatever you do now is like an investment that will pay off dividends later—the dividend of an intact marriage and family.

Tip 4: Work on Patience
Give Regina a little space. When a wife goes through something like this, she’s in traction.  She isn’t going “to get over it and move on” very easily.  So be patient with her and give her space to grieve, be angry, and cry.  You’d let your best friend do that, right? And you need to be patient with your own process too.

Tip 3: Work on Honesty
Since the stuff you did was done in secret, it’s time get real, Dave.  Be honest with yourself and others. You’ll have to buck up about your feelings and your actions.  Like Shakespeare said, if you’re true to yourself, you won’t be false to anyone else.

Tip 2: Work on Consistency
You’ll have to commit to the long haul.  All of the above Tips, applied over a period of time equals rebuilt trust. So if that’s the result you’re after, get-your-gear-on, go. And continue to go.

Tip 1: Work on your Spirit.
A life crisis is a great time for re-evaluating your priorities and revisiting ultimate questions. If there is a God after all, then surely He knew this would happen to you because there are no surprises to Him. And some of history’s greatest men have found solace and direction from God in the aftermath of their worst failures.

After accomplishing so much in life then jeopardizing what matters the most to you, surely Jesus words ring truer than ever:  “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”  So I hope you’ll take some time to consider Him, and what He has to say to you in the midst of this. Because when a man is faithful to God, faithfulness in other matters will logically and inevitably follow.



  1. Nora,
    Thanks for your kind words and thanks for commenting here. My prayer is that the Lord will use the blog and the support groups at WifeBoat as a place where women can gain insight and direction from Him. We are “in this boat together” and the comfort we have gotten from Him we can bring to each other.

    “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

  2. Nora Seemann says:

    You’ve spoken for many women. God bless your ministry to so many hurting people.
    Blessings, Nora

  3. Thanks for the list, I am sharing it with my husband. It articulates much of what I have tried to communicate.

  4. This is so funny! He has a reputation for his top 10 lists being funny. The trouble that’s on him with his wife is not funny, so this list you’ve offered is very practical and helpful. What a good idea you had to make a list for him. I wonder if he would read it and take it to heart. If he doesn’t, it’s a good list for us to see.

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