The secret to a lasting romance is simple: cuddle at least five times a day, don’t check each other’s phones and never go to bed without resolving an argument. Follow this expert advice and you’re apparently heading towards a golden wedding anniversary. Excuse me for arguing against 50 years of wedded bliss, but love isn’t that easy. If it is, then I’m a romance rule-breaker. I cuddle my dog more than I hug my husband, and would snoop on anyone’s phone left near me for long enough (ask my mum, teenage son and cleaner, and they’ll vouch for my ability to read their messages from 50 paces). As for arguments, sometimes I’ll have five of them a day and when we had a spare room, I’d happily storm off to it rather than make up.
But I’ve been blissfully together with my husband for 19 years, so we must be doing something right. For me, our secret is that we’re totally different, but we make each other laugh every day. Many a time our bemused children find us clutching our stomachs, tears on our cheeks, and unable to speak because we find something one of us has said so hilarious. ‘It’s just Mamma and Daddy being weird again,’ our 13-year-old son will say to our little girl, rolling his eyes.
They’ve grown up with us bickering over my dislike of his driving (‘Hold the steering wheel with both hands, don’t look at me, look at the road!’), his hatred of me singing and dancing (yes, really!) in supermarkets as I shop, and our belly laughs over our in jokes.
So yes, while I read the 12 romance rules from experts on page 24, I don’t think you need all dozen for the perfect marriage. I’d rather listen to the real couples on page 36 who list tolerance ahead of bouquets of red roses as the reason they’re still happily married. Happy Valentine’s Day – I hope you love this special issue!
If LOVE is easy, then I’m a romance RULE-BREAKER. I cuddle my DOG more than I hug my HUSBAND, sometimes have FIVE ARGUMENTS a day and would SNOOP on anyone’s PHONE left near me for long enough