Stéphane and Ben have the most ordinarily beautiful love story.
Meeting through a mutual friend at a party, the duo noticed each other immediately, recognising a “strong connection” but didn’t have the chance to pursue it. They left the party and headed back to their respective lives.
Three months later, their paths crossed again. This time they exchanged numbers and grabbed a coffee. That coffee date was 11 years ago.
Although the beginning of their relationship is one heavily etched in Ben’s memory, it wasn’t always the way.
“You know, it’s funny,” he tells me, as he recounts the story over the phone, “but we were together 18 months before both of us realised we had met at that party. That first meeting was so fleeting we had forgotten about it. It was quite bizarre.”
There’s a real sense of buoyancy in Ben’s voice when he talks of their relationship. Like pure and simple joy – and pride – in who they are and what they have created. It may be the fact the couple were married last year, or perhaps that after such a long time together the respect only deepens.
It’s nice, positive, feel-good stuff, if not totally unremarkable. It’s ordinary love in it’s most precious form.
Because in a country where Ben and Stéphane aren't recognised for what they are -- husbands -- that sense of ordinary is important. In a country that has failed to legalise same-sex marriage, we forget the ordinarily beautiful love stories that are behind the politics. We forget the remarkably unremarkable. Their love is no different. And nor should their relationship statuses have to be.
I ask Ben if, in the 10 years the couple were together, at some point they assumed they would always be able to marry on home turf.