Falling in love is the easy part. Staying in love, as we all know, is more difficult. Ten couples reveal how they keep romance alive, their relationships intact and make love last.
Call to say you care
Caroline Griffin, 29, has been with Nathan for six years, and married to him for three. They have a daughter, Sophie, three, and a one-year-old son, Keiran.
‘My husband works away once a week, so he always phones home. We’ll ask about each other’s day, and say how much we miss each other. And I always send him a goodnight SMS once I know he’s in bed – sometimes I’ll attach a photo of the children in their pyjamas too. It keeps that connection between us when we can’t be together.’
Never argue about money
Charlotte Jordan, 28, has been married to Darren for six years.
‘All the statistics show that money causes the most arguments in a relationship – and I can well believe it, listening to some of my friends. My husband, Darren, and I know exactly how much we spend on bills and how much we have left over for luxuries – and we’re both happy with how the money is used. But the most important issue is that we’re both pulling in the same direction financially. One thing we’ll never argue about is money, and that definitely helps to keep our marriage strong.’
Show your appreciation
Jan Wrigley, 42, has been married to Mark for 17 years. They have a daughter, Charlotte, 15, and an 11-year-old son, Tom.
‘My husband encourages me to go out with my friends and always volunteers to stay in and look after the kids. Before I go, I’ll stock up the fridge with sausages, eggs, bacon and mushrooms, and the next morning, I’ll get up and make us all a cooked breakfast. It’s his favourite – and it’s my way of showing how much I appreciate his thoughtfulness.’
Never let things fester
Morwenna Sowell, 30, has been with Danny for 10 years and married for six.
‘I work nine to five, and my husband works shifts, so sometimes we go for two days without really seeing each other. We don’t argue often and, if we do, it’s usually because we’re both tired. Even so, we always talk things through, there and then – we never let arguments go unresolved.’
It’s OK to have different views
Aletia Gilbert, 34, has been with Gary for nine years, and married for two.
‘Gary and I are both quite opinionated so we don’t always see eye to eye! We can disagree on anything, from politics to perfume, but our disagreements lead to discussions, never rows, because we respect each other enough to know that we’re entitled to believe different things.’
Share a secret
Nikki Horne, 40, has been with Charley for 17 years and married for four. They have two daughters, Amy, 16, and Lucy, 12.
‘When I’m out with my husband and a group of friends, if I tap him on the thigh three times, he knows that I’m in the mood for love. It’s our secret code and makes us feel close and connected, even though we’re in company.’
Enjoy some time apart
Sarah Jane Voyce, 39, has been married to Rob for 10 years. They have a two-year-old daughter, Lucy.
‘My husband and I are happy to give each other the time and space to do things alone. Rob plays guitar in a band and I’m learning French at evening classes – we both enjoy our hobbies very much. It gives us time to chill out and meet new people, and loads to talk about when we get home. Without time apart from your partner, even the most idyllic relationship would become claustrophobic.’
Make time for sex
Charlotte Krzanicki, 32, has been with husband Marek for eight years. They have a daughter, Wanda, three, and a two-month-old son, Max.
‘Now that we have children, it’s more important than ever that we still find time to do things as a couple, whether it’s seeing a movie, going for a walk – or having sex. No matter how tired I am, I always make time for sex with Marek because I believe it helps keep our relationship healthy.’
Know what’s important
Sarah Martin, 29, has been married to Simon for four years.
‘After my previous relationship, I decided never to live with a man again without being married. When I met Simon, I explained how I felt. Even though he was divorced and didn’t particularly feel another marriage was for him, he knew it meant a lot to me and he proposed. Simon taught me that you have to work out what’s important to each other. Simon has shown me that hardly anything is important enough to fall out over.’