Our family walk by the crystal blue lake in Zurich. It's a beautiful, bright, spring day, yachts bobbing on the water while people in expensive-looking coats sip £6 cans of Coca-Cola in designer sunglasses. Peter, my husband, grew up in Zurich, the sixth most expensive city in the world. He recounts how he’d come "lakeside" after school and then travel home on a tram to his huge family house on a street named after his family.

I think of my own teenage after-school activities – staying out as long as I could drinking cider in the park. Returning to a makeshift, mouldy, converted flat in Great Yarmouth, with its mini fridge and countertop cooker, where I shared a bed with my mum and my sister, counting down the days until tourist season arrived and I could get myself a job and buy myself some school trousers that reached my ankles and a less mortifying pair of school shoes.

I look out across the lake and I laugh: "Our childhoods were very, very different." This year marks my eighth year with my husband and still I am amazed that we have found a way to each other, not just people from different countries but from practically different planets.

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I’ve spent eight years translating my childhood to him just as he does to me. Occasionally he will deny that he grew up rich. I will ask: "Did your house have different wings?". "It was divided into apartments for each family."

"Did your house have a lake?". "Just a very small duck pond." I remind him that my water feature growing up was the constant stream of urine up our yard wall from stag dos and we laugh, because we’ve come far since our early days of navigating these huge chasms of experience.

When you've had different childhoods, you have different responses to situations and different expectations in adulthood. Though we’re not well-off by any means, our financial situation is OK but I’m governed by the idea that the money will run out completely.

I don’t feel comfy in posh places, expecting to be politely (or impolitely) escorted out. When I browse shops I assume overly-helpful staff think I’m a shoplifter. I have working-class anxieties about presenting myself, my kid and my home immaculately lest I be judged.

Essentially, I never want to be seen as poor. I associate it with the shame of being hard up. With the stigma of poverty from my childhood. I believe you can always tell people who have had money and who haven't. Because the people who know what it is to struggle never willingly admit that they're skint. I would rather do anything than admit I’m broke to another person. Peter, of course, has none of these hang-ups and initially, he found them hard to understand because, on the surface, they are deeply irrational. Though of course, once you dig deeper they make perfect sense and are rooted in the experience of a society that vilifies the poor.

And it’s not just the material things that were different for us growing up. What was expected of us as adults was vastly different.

When Peter was struggling in the Swiss school system, his parents pulled him out and sent him to a liberal arts private International School where, as a shy, creative teen, he was nurtured and he still has lifelong friends to this day. The expectation was that he would always succeed in life. Meanwhile, I truanted through a string of secondary schools where I was bullied mercilessly for being poor and the new girl. I was told even by my careers advisor that the most I should expect was to train as a nurse, even though I was academic and ambitious. In the end I left my comprehensive aged 15 with no GCSEs. No one ever suggested Peter wouldn’t end up with a career while it was almost seen as a given that I’d be a lifetime benefit claimant.

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I won't pretend that this translation between our backgrounds has been easy. Peter has never known the true fear of poverty and always had a safety net in the form of his parents, where I have never ever had one. He can't really grasp the concept of the fact that when money is gone, there is no more to be had. When we met he was often extravagant, if he wanted something he bought it whether he could afford it or not. Meanwhile I still have a scarcity mindset. No matter how much money I have in the bank, I think about each and every purchase and look for the cheapest. I can tell you the cost of everything I own to the penny no matter how old it is. So, when our finances merged, this took a lot of work out.

But there have been benefits too. We’ve been forced to have frank, often very uncomfortable conversations about our past, what our values are, about the difficulties and benefits of our backgrounds. I think often couples never really have these conversations. And the extra understanding and the communication skills we gained have made us incredibly strong as a couple.

Most of all, we connected on our values rather than just coming from the same tribe. Though Peter could always depend on his parents, he never did. When I met him, he was a shop assistant in a health food store, before that he worked as a shoe-shiner in the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. I love him for the fact he believes in good, honest work. For the fact he is kind, absurdly funny, generous and thoughtful.

Most of all, we've helped pull each other into the middle ground. Peter thinks more about what he spends and why because I act like buying a new jumper is the same as buying a new house. Peter has helped me ease gently out of my scarcity mindset so I no longer buy the cheapest of everything and I’ll sit in a restaurant and eat good food knowing I deserve to be there as much as anyone.

Perhaps it shouldn't work. It might not have. But for us, it does. We’re a couple brought closer by our differences, standing on the common ground of shared values, interests, politics and most of all, of love for each other.