These young Londoners only truly discovered how unalike they are after their son was born Ilona, a 25-year-old British Caribbean, is a teacher in an inner city school.

She met and fell in love with Will, a thoroughly English Old Etonian, who seemed to be looking to break out of the life that he was born into.

That sense of destiny, which so bonded us at the outset, did not take account of how cultural differences can leave the strongest marriage’s mooring posts wobbling. There’s surely never been a greater need: one in ten Britons has a partner from another faith, ethnicity or race.

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Jigna, 39, is a Hindu who works in the social housing sector in Colchester, Essex. I was going through the agonies of divorce and had a young son to raise.

Both times, I’ve come home, red with rage and pain, and straight-away blamed my husband: ‘Your people still won’t accept me. Today I hate you.’Of course, as soon as the words shoot out, I realise how stupid and hurtful I am being.

But still, deep down, after so many years together, I feel the difference between us.

Our wedding took place on a snowy December day in 1990, a civil ceremony to which my open-minded mosque leaders sent good wishes. Islam had not yet been corrupted by noisy hardliners.

While Colin had long abandoned his once ardent Christianity, my faith was still important to me. He can sound superior when we discuss this subject, or ghosts, which I think exist. When Jigna and Darren first got together some members of their extended families were not best pleased.

In my opinion, British culture has become too promiscuous and abandoned. Colin, in contrast, having grown up in the Sixties in Britain, is much less worried about modern societal changes. While she adores her Scottish husband, she has left him twice because he carps about her table manners.

Despite being together for 11 years, the couple can’t agree on how they should marry.

Liz Tumbridge, 36, from Thurrock, Essex, has managed to keep her relationship together in the face of a huge difference - but only just.

A full-time mother, she is a devout Roman Catholic.

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