Share a meal every night
George Loftus, 100, and his wife Phyllis, 94, below, of Cannock, Staffs, married on August 10, 1940.
Phyllis said: “Always keep your husband well fed.”

Here, five couples tell JENNY FRANCIS their surprising secrets and celebs give their tips for lasting love matches.

Celeb Secrets 1

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson – 27 years

Tom: “We just like each other. You start there . . .  I still can’t believe my wife goes out with me. If we were in high school I would never have the courage to talk to her.”

Taking separate holidays

WRITER Sarah Newton, 48, and engineer Eddie Gibbs, 52, from Semilong, Northants, have been together for 17 years and have two teenage girls.

Sarah says: “I love the sun and beaches but Ed hates going abroad. His idea of heaven is tramping round a historic building.

“Once every other year we go on separate holidays. When we tell friends, they always go awkwardly silent but we think it’s healthy.

“This summer I’m going to upstate New York and Florida for six weeks without Ed and I can’t wait. Trust is everything to us – as it should be for anyone together for the long run.”

Eddie says: “Instead of us arguing the whole time about it, I let Sarah go where she wants and I do the same.

“I enjoy my walking holiday on my own as it gives me space, but I also realise how much Sarah does for us as a family when she is away.

“It stops me taking her for granted when she’s around. I know she misses me when I go away so when we’re with each other we’re happier.”

Having a dog

HAIRDRESSER Jenny Khota, 50, has been with Orlando, 46, a carpenter, for 21 years. They live with their two children, aged 12 and nine, in Streatham, South London.

Jenny says: “We met through friends in 1996. Children were a natural progression for us but when we started trying, we had problems.

“After various tests we didn’t think we could have kids, which was devastating for us.

“It put pressure on our relationship. Then one day Orlando surprised me with a pet dog. It was one of the happiest days of our lives.”

Orlando says: “A dog changed everything. It got us out of the house early to walk together so we talked before work, and again in the evenings.

“We loved having the joint responsibility for it. We did end up having our first child via IVF and were lucky enough to conceive again naturally. But our dog has always been the secret to a happy household.

“Tiger is our current dog. If the kids are ever arguing or fighting, she gets in between them and somehow calms the situation down.”

Our own bank accounts

TEACHING assistant Cathryn Whitehead and Hugh, a farmer, from Lincoln, have been together for 31 years. The couple, both 56, have two grown-up children.
Cathryn & Hugh

Cathryn says: “My mum always said it’s smart for a woman to have her own money. I agreed but worried about bringing it up with Hugh.

“Luckily, he was pleased I suggested we kept our money separate. We’re still together because we’ve kept our financial independence.

“We both have our own businesses and it’s so much easier to spend without having to check with the other one. Hugh is a saver but if I see something I love, I want to buy it on the spot.

“It prevents us arguing and stops me feeling like I have to hide what I’m buying or lie about it.”

Hugh says: “I trust Cathryn implicitly and although I like to be in control of money, this system’s worked for us for more than 30 years.

“Cathryn isn’t answerable to me if she wants to go on a shopping spree either, it’s her money. We get to manage our cash the way we want to.”

Celeb Secrets 2

David and Victoria Beckham – Married 18 years

Posh: “Bite your tongue and preserve a bit of mystique. Never let yourself go completely (at least brush your hair and clean your teeth). And always make time for each other.”

Dirty weekends away

ILLUSTRATOR Lynda Mangoro and husband Mike, an IT manager, both 38, have four children and live in Worthing, West Sussex. They have been together for 20 years

“When our eldest son was a few months old we left him with my mum-in-law for a night and booked into a hotel.

“We were on our own for an uninterrupted 48 hours. It was so amazing we’ve done it every few months since. It gives us space away from the kids and the humdrum of family life at home.

“We have sex when we want and enjoy a day of lazing in bed together. It’s important to get that time as a couple.”

Mike says: “We start the night with a romantic dinner. We both make the effort to get dressed up, which gets us in the mood.

“When we retire to the bedroom we know that’s our uninterrupted time together without the worry of a little one knocking on the door.

“Friends ask for advice about how to make their relationships work. We never forget to be that pair of frisky teenagers when we first met.”

Doing morning crossword puzzles

RETIRED Angela and Sid Landes, both 65, have been together for 40 years. They have three daughters and live in Temple Fortune, North West London.

Angela says: “I love that Sid still gets up and buys us the paper. While he’s out I pop down and put the kettle on and make us a cup of tea.

“When he gets back we have a cuddle in bed and do The Sun crossword and it makes the start of the day special.

“We don’t need to say much but it means we appreciate one another

Sid says: “I’ve learned after all these years of marriage it’s the little things that make someone know how much you love them.

“That’s why every morning I pop out to the shops and get the newspaper for her.

“Granted, it isn’t a big romantic gesture but it means I start every day showing her I love her.

“If I didn’t put myself out for her, who would I do it for? I’ve done this for years and as you get older you realise your other half is more important to you than anything

Celeb secret 3

Barbra Streisand and James Brolin – 19 years

Barbra: “Twenty years in Hollywood is like 50 years in Chicago. The trick? Kindness. Give truth with compassion. I used to use truth as a weapon. Truth with compassion will say it a different way.”

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