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Janice and Tony Gifford celebrating Valentine’s Day as they really know how . . . in fantastic and authentic country style.
Janice and Tony Gifford celebrating Valentine’s Day as they really know how . . . in fantastic and authentic country style. Bubbles Barbierato

WHEN A close friend first saw this photograph he cheekily asked Yangan's Janice and Tony Gifford if it had been photoshopped on account of the kiss.

"We've been known to do our share of arguing," Janice explained laughing.

"So I jokingly told him we'd been yelling at each other between photos.

"Maybe I am overly dramatic, but I believe if you don't have the full gamut of emotions in a relationship there is something wrong."

I could understand how it had been for him while I worked away. We only have each other, so it just felt empty being here alone.

Humour aside there is no doubting the Gifford's' passion for each other.

Tony describes his wife as his soul mate and she says he has been her best friend for two decades.

They met more than 20 years ago. He was her farrier and their friendship grew over a shared interest in horses.

Fittingly, he took her on a first date to a rodeo.

Five years ago they got married, exactly 15 years after that first date, some eight years after Tony proposed.

When asked about the time lapse, this Southern Downs saddler turned Casanova laughed.

"If you want a relationship to last, it's better not to rush things," Tony said.

It's something they both agree on.

"We were best friends for three years, before anything romantic happened," Janice said.

"I honestly believe that is the way to go.

"Instead of the rush, rush, rush, we can't live without each other, approach.

"When the hot romance has died down, you want to have something real, like friendship."

Tolerance and understanding also rate highly on the couple's list of vital components for a successful relationship.

When economics forced Janice to work away from home four days a week for seven years, it was their friendship and long-term shared goals that got them through.

"It was really testing," Janice said.

"I've been home now for three years and we're together 24/7, which is lovely.

"So when Tony went away recently, I really missed him.

"I could understand how it had been for him while I worked away.

"We only have each other, so it just felt empty being here alone."

And even when you are together very day of every week the couple agree you still need to find time for romance.

"It's absolutely important," Janice said.

"It shows that you are still number one in someone's life.

"And it's really nice when someone can do something special for you even after years and years together."

For the Giffords, their special celebration each year is their wedding anniversary.

This June they'll celebrate 20 years together as a couple as well as five years of marriage.

"We always take the day off on our wedding anniversary and go to different places bush walking," Tony said.

"It's just our thing.

"We both love the outdoors," Tony said.

As for Valentine's Day, which is fast approaching this week, while it might not be their "day" to celebrate, they still recognise the romance of it.

"Blokes can't ever go wrong with flowers," Janice laughed.

"Seriously though, whatever day you chose to do it, I think it's really important you celebrate your commitment to each other."

Topics:  marriage relationships valentine's day



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