FRAN My cousin phoned and invited me to a party one day, and Dexter was there. I don’t remember us making an immediate connection, but that night, and for the next three days, he was all I could think of. I was only 16, but I knew he was the one for me.
DEXTER I got Fran’s number from her cousin a few days later. She was magnificent, so I couldn’t believe she wanted to go out with me. That feeling has never changed.
FRAN Our families were worried we were too young, and we did break up a couple of times – Dexter had a few commitment issues to begin with.
DEXTER I proposed after we’d been together for five years. She said yes, but then broke it off, as she got cold feet. I was devastated, but I never felt that was the end of it. We were just destined to be together.
FRAN I guess it was my way of getting back at him for breaking up with me a couple of times before. We got married in 1969: I was 21, he was 23. The happiest time we’ve had is when the twins came along five years later. We’re positive people – glass-half-full types. We’ve had a good life, and thank goodness we have our health.
DEXTER We have had our ups and downs, financial worries and so on, but no different to most people. One of our happiest times was when the boys were bar mitzvah’d.
FRAN We have had difficult times. I used to be a terrible flirt – a shocker. It gave Dexter some sleepless nights.
DEXTER I’d get very jealous, but we realised there was a problem, so we went to marriage guidance. It taught us why we both felt and acted the way we did. Couples shouldn’t be afraid of asking for help.
FRAN Many people go into marriage thinking if it doesn’t work, you can just move on. But you have to work at a relationship like it’s a full-time job.
DEXTER You have to be OK with doing each other’s heads in sometimes. The most important thing is to be friends as well as lovers.
FRAN You have to give one another space to achieve and experience things as individuals – that helps you grow.