NI couples share their romance and relationship secrets ahead of Valentine’s Day

NI couples share their romance and relationship secrets ahead of Valentine's Day

NI couples share their romance and relationship secrets ahead of Valentine’s Day


Love is in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, prompting several Northern Irish couples to share their romances and secrets to a long-lasting relationship.

Northern Ireland Love Story is a new film from BBC Northern Ireland, set to air on the evening of Sunday 13 February, just in time for the most romantic day of the year.

Filled with nostalgia, the show dives into the archives to relive some of the most memorable romantic moments in TV and film that captured our hearts.

Featured couple Trevor and Margo Burns, both 79, Donaghadee, Co Down.

The two first met as teenagers in 1958, and their love blossomed through a shared passion for music, culminating in their marriage in September 1965.

Trevor and Margo Burns at their wedding on September 18, 1965 (Image: BBC NI)

“I had a guitar that my uncle gave me and I took it to the shop where Trevor worked one day,” Margo told Belfast Live.

“I asked him to tune because he was in a music group, so it all started there. He showed me some guitar chords and told me I should take it, I did that for a few years, but I wasn’t that good !”

In addition to working with the Cyril Lord Carpet Factory in Donaghadee, Margo joined the band and Trevor soon noticed her amazing vocals.

“I took the guitar off her and it caused an argument!” recalls Trevor. “I told her we were going to rebrand the band Margo & the Marvettes and put her first.

“My mom already told me ‘If you put that little girl in the band, that’s the best thing you’ve ever done,’ so the romance started there.”

The couple are part of the five-piece band Margo & the Marvettes (Image: BBC NI)

The five-piece band later relocated their base to London and went all out to make their mark in the music industry, starting their lives on the road and traveling to Europe, the US and Australia.

Margo added: “Music has taken us all over the world and we never thought we’d be here in a million years. We’ve lived a great life because of it, it’s just luck of the draw.”

When Margo & the Marvettes disbanded in 1972, the couple went on to perform as a duo called Take Two, which kept them entertaining around the world for six years.

The duo teamed up with some old buds and played for a few years in Rock Circus as Margot and Trevor.

Trevor and Margot have retired back to Dona Hardy (Image: BBC NI)

The couple took a detour and moved back to Northern Ireland in 1980 after burning rubber for 17 years on the road, but they still took every opportunity to perform globally.

“We’ve been traveling together 24/7 over the years, so it’s nonstop. Of course, we do have our moments and a lot of travel, but it’s mostly about our work,” Margot said.

“We had some great memories, but as we got older, we just went out and enjoyed life!”

Elsewhere in modern romance, the love story between Craig McCullough, 31, of Ballymena, and Alice Lougheed, 28, started online and led to their first meeting in January 2013.

“There wasn’t a dating app like Tinder at the time, and online dating wasn’t such a big deal, so I think there’s still a question mark in all of this,” Craig explained.

“At first we were a little reluctant to tell people that we met, but through mutual friends because we did have some things in common.”

While Craig admits that he soon learned he’d met the girl of his dreams, Alice wasn’t that keen at first.

“We’d been talking for a few weeks, but when we first met, I thought Craig was embarrassed and it didn’t feel right,” she recalls.

After months of no contact, Alice read a book recommended by Craig, and she quickly began to reconsider. The couple met for what they called their “second first date,” and the rest is history.

Craig asks the question at the end of a well-planned treasure hunt, leaving Alice speechless. (Image: BBC NI)

The couple got engaged in May 2015, just days after Alice’s 22nd birthday, when Craig decided to keep the proposal a surprise and arranged a treasure hunt.

Alice sets off at a coffee shop in her hometown of Bangor and tracks down all the clues, eventually arriving at Ballyholm Beach, where Craig is waiting.

The location was chosen because the couple enjoyed walking together for the first time – Craig first fell in love with Alice.

Fairytale lights and pictures of the happy couple hang from the tree, flowers and cameras are set to capture the lovely moment.

Craig and Alice on their wedding day (Image: BBC NI)

Six months later, the couple married on Friday, November 13, and are now parents to Micah, 2, and Maggie, 1.

Craig said: “On our wedding day, we walked from church through the tattoo parlour to the reception and had us both wear size 13.

“It’s sure to be a big talking point later that night. So if we forget the date, we can look at our legs!”

So what’s the secret to their success?

“Listen to your wife,” Craig joked, adding: “We’ve always been honest, we don’t have any big secrets. If we’re annoyed at something, we’ll have a good talk.”

“You are equal in marriage, so one shouldn’t do more than the other,” Alice added.

From love letters to dating apps, the way we find that special someone may have changed over the years, but couples can all agree on one thing — staying in lasting love is worth the wait.

Northern Ireland Love Story will be broadcast on BBC One NI and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 13 February at 7pm.

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