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The Beckham guide to marriage

PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 October 2018

Still a happy couple, David and Victoria Beckham. Picture:  Chris Jackson/PA Wire

Still a happy couple, David and Victoria Beckham. Picture: Chris Jackson/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

“I think marriage is all about hard work,” said David Beckham. Lynne Mortimer agrees and wonders why no one reported it before

The secret to a happy marriage? Never go to bed on an argument. Picture:  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoThe secret to a happy marriage? Never go to bed on an argument. Picture: Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It has been in the news that David Beckham said he has learned to ignore the negative things that are said about his family, and added that marriage is “hard work”.

“I think if you know each other well, if you know you’ve got great friends and great family behind you, the thing we have to do is protect our children and we are very proud of the family.”

Asked about the key to his 19-year marriage to the fashion designer, Victoria, he said: “I think marriage is always about hard work.

“Your children, they want your time and they deserve your time and we are hard working and we feel that is the right way to bring up our children to prove and to show to them you have to work really hard to be successful.

Maintain intimacy. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoMaintain intimacy. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“To be married for the amount of time that we have, it’s always hard work, everybody knows that but you make it work.

Beckham was speaking on Australian TV ahead of joining the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for the Invictus Games..

Well said, Mr Beckham. The only mystery here is why it takes a fabulously rich celebrity to break the news that marriage needs work. Having been married for 40 years (nothing compared to Diamond Wedding couples) I am, however, in agreement.

Living a single person’s life after the wedding is not an option because those little habits can kill a marriage. If you have separate bathrooms − I imagine the Beckhams do − it must help. It means there’s no one to blame if there’s no toilet paper; you don’t walk into a curtain of wet tights drying over the shower rail or encounter the newspaper sports’ supplement in the bath.

Try something new... it doesn't have to be dangerous. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoTry something new... it doesn't have to be dangerous. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s the little things that count. What do you do with the tea bag when you take it out of the mug? Where do you leave the dirty cutlery... is it in the bowl in the sink? Is your favourite chair also your spouse’s favourite chair?

Trivia like this can spark arguments but my view is that it is better to have a row about things that don’t matter rather than be in dispute over things that do, such as money and the kids.

While the Beckhams don’t have to worry too much about where the next Daimler is coming from, they have different pressures, alluded to in his interview, such as being apart and having separate, hugely successful careers. As two very attractive, wealthy and starry people, Beckham D and Beckham V must have to rely on trust when they are parted. There must hordes of gorgeous men and women waiting hopefully in the wings... Jealousy is a destroyer.

Normal people don’t generally get asked about the key to their happy marriages after just 19 years but for a celebrity couple, it is, perhaps, a more notable feat. When is temptation at its most acute? Is it when you are newly married and suddenly feeling a bit trapped - “till death do us part” can be a bit scary when you’re young. Or is it when you look in the mirror and someone older looking back at you and realise that the wild oats you once sowed are now completely tame.

The secret to a happy marriage - take her a cup of tea in bed.  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoThe secret to a happy marriage - take her a cup of tea in bed. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Over the years, I have spoken to many couples on the occasion of their golden, diamond or in one case 75th wedding anniversary. “What is the secret to a long and happy marriage,” I would ask.

“Never go to bed on an argument.”

“Give and take.”

“Keep a sense of humour.”

You can't lead a single life after you're married. Tidy up in the bathroom! Picture:  Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoYou can't lead a single life after you're married. Tidy up in the bathroom! Picture: Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

These three tenets are, perhaps, the most important things in a long-term relationship, trumping money.

There was the occasional curved ball such as: “Take her a cup of tea in bed.”

Strangely, there was never any mention of an active sex life... but I suppose that was a given.

Back in 2014, Time Magazine (http://time.com/30921/recipe-for-a-happy-marriage-the-7-scientific-secrets) published seven scientific secrets to a happy marriage and these were:

• Celebrate good moments

• Keep an eye on the ratio between good moments and bad moments − five to one is what you’re looking for

• Keep your standards high (I’m assuming that means breaking wind in front of your spouse is a no)

• Stay close to family and friends

• Don’t expect your spouse to make you happy

• Have more sex

• Excitement - try new things

You can add to these: be a good listener, maintain independence, agree to disagree, never take each other for granted and pay compliments. Obviously this applies to both partners, not just you. But even then there are no guarantees, just a better chance.

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