35 YEARS STRONG: Steve slept in a cupboard for love
STEVE Darlington would do anything for the love of his life - even sleep in a cupboard.
It was love at first site when Steve met Toni by chance on New Year's Eve 35 years ago.
Toni was on holidays when she met the tall AFL player and has never looked back.
Steve said he drove the eight-hour round trip to Manilla every weekend for the next year, working hard to impress his future father-in-law.
"I was working shift work so when I finished work a midnight on Friday I would leave to be there in the morning," he said.
"Every time I arrived, I had to plough the field before I was allowed to take Toni out.
"Her dad was very protective, so I slept in a small walk-in cupboard with my feet out the door.
"After a few months of this I thought bugger this and so we got engaged."
Toni said the secret to their happiness after more than three decades was they had each married their best friend.
Steve said they had always compromised well and despite hard times remained close.
"We did lose a young child but that really brought us closer together," he said.
While talking to the Chronicle, the pair often finished each other's sentences.
They said that habit started in the last 10 to 15 years.
"We read each other's minds, we are in synch," Toni said.
The pair still go on regular dates, heading out for dinner or to the cinema, and said they were always finding new passions together.
"We recently found a love of caravanning which was unexpected," Steve said.
"Now we like taking it different places every weekend.
"We were never big walkers but now we are hiking through State Forests."
Steve said any couple getting married should love each other unconditionally and not let little problems fester.
"You should always be there for each other," Toni added.