I think I am blissfully happily married. Andreas and I have been living together for almost twenty years, married for fourteen and are still genuinely excited to see each other every evening after work. In my book, this rocks.
Interestingly though, we were at a dinner party the other day where I said just that and a friend raised her eyebrow enquiringly at me.
"Your relationship? Blissful?" she trilled incredulously. "Unusual, I would say. And... challenging."
Okay, so perhaps not a friend friend. Just a meanie acquaintance, who deserves a fork through her pinkie. Which brings me to my first secret of a happy marriage.
1. It's personal
Only those in a marriage can judge it. There is no 'happiness touchstone' upon which to measure yourself – so look into your heart rather than listening to others when deciding whether it's working for you or not.
This really works for us. I tell Andreas everything... from the fact that I, not the kids, ate his leftover pizza to when I am sorely tempted to shag others. He tells me everything. (Well, if he doesn't, I now look like a real Charlie. Hah.) Relationship therapists say absolute truthfulness is a shocking idea, but I really do think it is one of the secrets of my happy marriage.
3. Nice sex
I think it really helps if the sex is good and you do it often. And it makes you blush when you, er... type about it.
No one makes me laugh as much as Andreas, or says as many things that I find genuinely interesting. He is my favourite date and I love that.
This column is fast devolving into a very cheesy love letter. The point is (see no. 1 again) I believe that a happy marriage is made up of all the little things, the cheesy bits, the details which brick in your love.
And those are my four top secrets. Now, I'd dearly love to hear yours.
If you either have a happy marriage, have had a happy marriage or think you know why others have them... please share the secret(s) with us below.