Twenty years ago, Kersha Veix arrived at her wedding as her dad whispered, "If you want to turn around, we can walk out now."
Heading towards the altar marked the first time seeing her husband-to-be Steve, after being matched together through The Edge radio competition, Two Strangers and a Wedding.
A firm believer in fate, Kersha stayed the course and hasn't looked back.
"I felt like Steve was my fate and that we'd put in 100 percent, be committed and do anything to make it work," smiles Kersha, 46. "There have been plenty of arguments over 20 years, but we're really good at communicating. Steve will talk about it straight afterwards and we always get it sorted before we go to bed. It's a testament to how good he is."
Remembering their 2003 wedding day, Steve says signing up for the radio promotion was an "out of character" move.
The competition saw his family and friends interview potential brides before choosing for him the woman he would marry, sight unseen. Everything was documented on air, including their wedding being broadcast live.
"I honestly didn't know what to expect," recalls Steve, 47. "At the time, it was pretty bold and scary, but we exchanged phone numbers sneakily before the wedding and spoke for hours, so I felt I knew her."
Plenty of people thought it was a bad idea and wouldn't work out, but the Methven couple insist it's the best leap of faith they ever took.
"I was amazed how pretty she was and just thought I was really lucky," says Steve. "There was a sense of relief too. It's a bit like buying a car without seeing it – the salesman can talk it up, but you don't know what you're getting. It might be full of rust!"
Laughing, Kersha tells the Weekly that after two decades and three children together, Steve's playful sense of humour is still one of the things she loves most.
"He has a lovely childish thought pattern, always has a joke and doesn't let anything get too serious," she tells. "He'll keep me young. But he also puts in so much effort to work and study, and is halfway through his second Master's degree while working full-time. They're things I'm not so good at, so I look at him and really admire that."
Steve is quick to return the sentiment, praising administrator Kersha's caring nature, especially when it comes to their sons Mitchell, 18, Finn, 16, and Joshua, 12.
"Kersh does everything for everyone else. She's driven the kids to the moon and back for their sports. We're so lucky she does so much for them and me."
Parenthood came early for the former farmers. Around six months into their marriage, they both knew they'd found their forever person and not long after, Kersha became pregnant.
"I always wanted children and pretty much as soon as I knew Steve was the right person, in my brain, I was like, 'We're trying for a baby.' Steve didn't know, but I was on to it," she laughs, adding, "I knew Steve wanted kids and he wasn't worried about timelines."
Since then, their life has largely revolved around the boys and both count raising them as their biggest achievement. "I'm the soft place to fall, but Steve is a mentor and the rugged, let's go-out-and-do things type – they're very lucky to have that," says Kersha.
Steve adds, "We've been really invested in our children and to see them turn out so well is such a highlight. We've also had some hard times and some disappointments financially when we came out of a bad patch farming. But we're together, the boys are good kids with their heads screwed on and doing fantastic. We should be bloody proud."
Parenting has brought the duo immense joy, but as their sons become more independent, they're also looking forward to more time together and relaxing at the dream home they're in the process of building.
"We've enjoyed the kids so much in the different stages, but the next phase is our time," says Kersha.
Continues Steve, "We're building on a 4000-square-metre site with a stream boundary and a view up to Mount Hutt. It's going to be so nice to wake up and look at the ski field."
So after 20 years, three children and their fair share of ups and downs, what's the secret to an enduring marriage? According to the committed Canterbury couple, "don't give up".
"You have to be a bit tenacious," says Steve. "I understand Kersh inside out, as she does me. We're not perfect people – we each have weird habits and different ways of doing things – but we understand each other. You have to have tolerance and the drive to want to stay together.
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