Editor’s letter: Love always shines through (even with a hangover)

I admit that I’m not one of the world’s great romantics. But I probably hit a new low on that front on the occasion of our 22nd wedding anniversary last month. We hadn’t got around to planning anything special, then the date ended up being the only day that a friend could bolt down from Manchester and meet me for a girlie lunch. My husband, ever the understanding type (no doubt with a backlog of Netflix shows he loves that hold no interest for me), gave me his blessing.

The menu included the offer of ‘bottomless prosecco’ and, oh dear, did they deliver on that. And so it came to pass that on our wedding anniversary, I staggered to bed at 8pm and arose the next day with a very deserved sore head. It’s fair to say that my understanding husband did not fall in love with me all over again that day.

If he was angry, he hid it well. And, in fact, what happened before my anniversary lunch probably says a lot about our relationship. We’d each bought a card and when we saw the envelopes we knew immediately that we’d both chosen the same one. On it is a picture of an old couple with the words ‘Happy anniversary. I wouldn’t want to put up with anyone else’s s**t.’ I grant you, Wuthering Heights it ain’t – but a lovely summation of where we are with each other, laughing our way into old married life.

But if there’s one thing that this issue of YOU has really demonstrated to me, it’s this: there is no one way to love. Our stories this week are a fascinating look at just how wildly different everyone’s love journey can be, but they all have their touching and inspiring lessons. Consider the 1970s TV stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Purl, who waited almost 50 years to become the love of each other’s lives. Or Beatrix Potter, the famed children’s author, who was determined to shut down that part of her life – but found that love itself had other ideas.

Then there’s our indomitable cover star Kate Garraway and her husband Derek Draper. It’s in the past two incredibly bleak years of Derek’s Covid nightmare that you see what cruelties and unpredictabilities can really test a relationship. I know I’m far from alone in being in awe of the couple’s strength and courage. What Kate has to say in our interview with Cole Moreton about how she and Derek will move forward and redefine – and strengthen – their marriage is one of the most moving and inspiring features you’ll read.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, I like the fact that our stories are about deep, real, warts-and-all love – including my own wedding anniversary tale of disgrace. (Though maybe I will try to make amends by throwing a few rose petals on the bed tomorrow!)

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

gingham bag

I have a gingham weakness, especially when it’s so practical. Bag, £60, boden.co.uk