Love is easy enough when you’re infatuated. That first stage of a relationship is like walking on air. You’ve got no worries and it’s difficult to stop smiling.

At some point after your engagement or even wedding day, that love changes and develops. It may not be so romantic, but it’s different. It can still be great, though. You’ve really got to know your partner (warts and all!). Maybe there’s offspring in the equation too. Now  you’re part of a relationship that requires commitment and responsibility. You’re looking after others, and that’s not always easy. You won’t always see eye-to-eye over everything.

The maudlin nature of this blog surfaced when I realised that my wife and I will have been married 22 years, come Wednesday. I still remember the romantic love section of our relationship. That is a lesser part of our relationship nowadays. However, there are compensations.

We still exchange kisses and hugs. We do things for the other person that we might prefer not to do. We laugh at the same things (usually!). We help each other out and are grateful to each other. We ask each other when unsure of things. I do certain tasks (which I’m better at or prefer doing); Isobel does others. We mostly share the burdens.

I can only speak for myself here, but I believe we have built a close, solid relationship. Yes, over the years we have had disagreements (lots!) and rows (occasionally), but I think we enjoy being in each other’s company and feel we’re generally united.

How have we achieved this?

At the outset, Isobel demanded that I let her know if ever she was upsetting me. She told me this should work both ways. I went along with it. It’s been great at defusing any potentially major crisis before it becomes serious.

We respect each other. If one suggests something that appears dubious to the other, we discuss it. Reasonably and calmly in 99% of cases. We aim at least for compromise. We try and please the other, and try to respond appropriately to the other’s change of mood.

Love takes many forms, and building a relationship demands hard work and persistence. When it works, you can’t beat it!