Lessons in love for Valentine’s Day

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Roger and Anne © Bethan Tolley

Roger and Anne © Bethan Tolley

Love it or hate it, sometimes you just can’t resist the romance in the air around Valentine’s Day.

But for many, with the rise in dating apps and TV shows such as Take Me Out, First Dates and Catfish, it’s hard to believe in the concept of true love anymore.

To find out if the older generation can teach us students a thing or two about happiness, JMU Journalism went out onto the streets of Liverpool to ask couples what the secrets of a successful marriage and life together are.

Roger and Anne, from Garston, have been man and wife for 24 years. The couple met when they both worked at Barclays bank, as Anne, 61, explained: “I applied for a job at the branch when I was in my 30s. Roger was the manager and he interviewed me.

“I liked the look of him, but he was soon transferred to another branch for nine months. We met again at the Christmas party and we’ve been together since.”

Pat and Brian ©  Bethan Tolley

Pat and Brian © Bethan Tolley

The pair believe that the secret to a healthy relationship is holding interests in similar things and being social. Roger, 63, said: “We love to host parties and we never miss an opportunity.”

Roger and Anne even said that they finish each other’s sentences and always think and agree on the same things.

Brian, 74, and Patricia, 72, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary last year.

The couple, originally from Liverpool who now live in Appley Bridge, were just teenagers when they first met at a church youth group on Penny Lane.

Patricia said: “I was going out with another guy at the time and he said ‘I’m sick of you, you fancy that lad on the skittles team.’ I didn’t even know who he was at the time, but it made me notice him.”

They married in their early 20s and have supported each other’s careers throughout their relationship. Since retiring in 2008, they now teach arts and craft on cruise ships each summer, including a trip to Barbados in December to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

Dave and Marie ©  Bethan Tolley

Dave and Marie © Bethan Tolley

On what makes a long successful marriage, Brian said: “Patience, a sense of humour and understanding each other.”

Marie and Dave married in 1971 when they were both 24 and they will be celebrating 44 years together this October.

Dave, 67, said: “We met at a rugby club dance, it really was love at first sight. I’ve been crazy about her since.”

The couple have two grown-up daughters together and both appreciate doing similar things and enjoying themselves.

Marie, 68, joked: “I’m a very, very long suffering wife, but I wouldn’t change a thing about him.”

Ken, 67 and Linda, 64, from Widnes, had both been previously married before realising they were a perfect match in their mid-30s.

Ken said: “We’d known each other within the family for years, we’d both been on our own for a while then decided to go on a date and there it was.”

Linda and Ken ©  Bethan Tolley

Linda and Ken © Bethan Tolley

The couple both had two children from previous marriages and between them they have 11 grandchildren. They will be celebrating 29 years together in July.

For Valentine’s Day, they are going away to Bournemouth for the weekend with their friends.

Ken and Linda believe the secret rests in keeping active together and they both enjoy walking as part of the Liverpool Ramblers.

Linda said: “A lot of it is showing interest in each other’s hobbies. It’s give or take and don’t look at each other’s faults. Also, don’t go to bed on a row!”

Sandra, 70, and John, 72 are celebrating an impressive 51 years together in March. The pair, who are from Manchester but now live in Widnes, married in 1964 when Sandra was just 19 and John was 21.

Sandra and John ©  Bethan Tolley

Sandra and John © Bethan Tolley

Sandra admitted: “We met because I was dating his best friend!”

They have two children and four grandchildren. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary by going to Ribby Hall Village in Lancashire with their family and then jetted off for a romantic getaway in Tenerife.

Opposites certainly attract for this couple as they have very different interests but believe a healthy relationship takes a lot of hard work.

Sandra added: “A relationship is 50/50… it’s give and take.”

About Bethan Tolley, JMU Journalism