How our marriage works: marriage advice from Carlo + Julie

Carlo and Julie Rea have been married 21 years. Here’s their relationship story and marriage advice…

Marriage advice Carlo and Julie

Julie: We met when we were in our early 20s at a Hallowe’en party in 1998. I went as an angel and Carlo was dressed as a priest (complete with wide-brimmed hat, flowing cassock and a Garfield annual modified into ‘Da Holy Bible’!).

I was drawn to Carlo’s personality; he was friendly and gregarious, and I just felt at ease with him instantly. I remember laughing until my sides hurt.

Carlo: Technically we met a year earlier on a night out.

We shared a taxi with a group of friends, and I remember actually fighting with one of my friends to get into the taxi with this stunning girl. I had never laughed so much in the company of someone I’d just met.

Julie: Carlo proposed to me in 2001 on Valentine’s Day.

I actually thought he was going to break up with me – he was ashen faced and looked like he might faint!

As I, worriedly, kept asking him what was wrong and explaining how lousy it would be to dump me on Valentine’s Day, I eventually noticed he’d got down on one knee.

Carlo: I planned to propose in the restaurant but was so nervous I couldn’t wait.

Getting married was a breeze in comparison!

Julie: We got married on 19th July, 2003 in the Barclay church in Dalmuir, with our reception at Winnock in Drymen.

It was a fantastic day; gloriously sunny, surrounded by all our loved ones. We wanted it to be relaxed and informal – a celebration! Nobody wanted to leave when the coach came for them at midnight.

We’d booked out 10 rooms in the hotel and there were about 40 still there in the morning, crashed in rooms or sleeping outside in the garden. It was a joyous day, full of laughter, which is all we’d wanted.

Marriage advice Carlo and Julie

Carlo: We couldn’t have asked for a better wedding day. Julie looked stunning, the weather was beautiful, and the reception just felt like all the guests were our family.

Julie: Our biggest struggle was probably when Carlo worked abroad for over a year.

We only saw each other for two weeks every few months. We had a strong relationship, but the distance was tough.

Carlo: It’s a cliché, but our biggest achievement is definitely our two children. I look at them and think you’re the wee people we made and brought up to be kind, generous and well-behaved. We’ve done OK!

Julie: Our two daughters are our world and are the main reason for everything we do.

Carlo is a wonderful dad, our girls worship him, and seeing how hard he works for us and how much he adores our girls only makes me love him more.

I struggled with endometriosis and we were told it may be difficult for us to conceive naturally so to have our two beautiful girls here is a blessing.

Julie: [It’s important to] laugh together. Lots.

Carlo: It might seem trivial, but it is a big thing in a relationship. We laugh all the time – and I mean belly laugh.

Julie: Praise in public, argue in private. My nanna told me this – she said that there will always be ups and downs in any relationship but to never belittle or demean your spouse in front of friends or family as it just chips away at the respect you’ll have for each other.

Carlo: We still love each other like we did 20 years ago.

We still look forward to seeing each other. We don’t like being apart for too long. I still look at Julie the same way I did the first time I met her – and I’d still fight someone to get into a taxi with her!

Read more great marriage advice in our ‘How our marriage works’ series

How our marriage works: marriage advice from Terry + Ross

Ross and Terry McCallum - with wedding photo

IMAGE | Laura A Tiliman Photography

Ross and Terry MacCallum from Dundee have been married for 27 years. Here’s their relationship story and marriage advice…


Ross: Terry and I met at work. We both worked for DC Thomson – me on The Courier and Terry on The Journal.

Sadly, The Journal eased into the history books in the early 90s and three of its staff came to work on The Courier.

I didn’t much fancy Graeme or Dave, lovely though they are, but I did rather fancy Terry.

Terry: Ross was very friendly. I was new to the staff but it didn’t take me too long to start scrutinising the rota to see if I would be sitting close to Ross!

R: I proposed when Terry cooked a meal for me. I had already bought an engagement ring and was waiting for the right moment.

Terry’s dad Bob mentioned the proposal in his speech at our wedding.

The fact I had the starter and main course before producing the ring raised a bit of a laugh.

I never got the pudding, come to think of it!

Ross and Terry MacCallum wedding day marriage advice

T: We married on 15th August 1992 at Dundee Parish Church. My jaws ached with smiling so much!

After all the rushing about in the days leading up to the wedding, I remember the still and calm of the church and knowing that I had never been more certain about what I was doing.

R: It was a joyous, happy day filled with love and laughter.

I remember just feeling so lucky that Terry had become my wife. I couldn’t quite believe it.

T: Our relationship works because we love each other deeply and trust each other implicitly.

As the years go past, we know how each other is likely to think and feel about certain situations.

We don’t argue – partly, I think, because we are so attuned to each other.

R: We love each other unconditionally. We also sing off the same hymn sheet and have broadly similar outlooks on life and politics.

We both hold by the old adage, “Treat others as you would wish to be treated.”

T: In 2004 I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Our three children were still young and we had a busy life.

The treatment was quite gruelling but Ross kept me positive and assured me we would get through it. It taught us never to take each other for granted.

R: I remember when the consultant told us the news my response was, ‘So how do we beat it?’

It was a tough time, but I always believed she would come through it and was able to be strong for her.

Ross and Terry MacCallum family photo marriage advice

T: Ross has such a big heart and generosity of spirit. He is quick to offer help and encouragement to others.

R: Terry is the most caring, selfless person I know.

Recently my mum was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and before it was diagnosed had had falls and could no longer live alone.

Terry was adamant she come and stay with us. She became Mum’s main carer in her final year, looking after her with a tenderness and compassion that made me love her even more.

T: Don’t be unrealistic in your expectations. You have to communicate so that you understand each other.

The heady days of first love are replaced by a deep and fulfilling love that will grow stronger as you share your life together.

R: Don’t downplay the commitment you are about to make to each other. It is a big deal!

But what I would say is that marriage is something that has made me complete.

After 27 years, I love Mrs MacCallum more and more with every passing day.

Read more great marriage advice in our ‘How our marriage works’ series