For most couples, spicing up your relationship might amount to a romantic night out or a quick trip to Sexyland. For long-term couple Robbie and Dan, 30-something professionals coming up for their 10-year anniversary together, spicing up their relationship meant competing for a huge cash prize (a jackpot starting at $100,000) on a national TV show, Australia’s Perfect Couple, screening from this week on Channel Nine.

But it wasn’t about the cash at all, Dan told Sydney Star Observer.

When we signed up we knew there’d be a prize, but didn’t know what it’d be. For us, it was really about taking on a new challenge as a couple.

We’ve been foster parents for about three years, so we also wanted to put that out there for people to see. We’re just regular guys -“ been together for about nine years, have had a commitment ceremony, starting a family. We wanted to show that there are lots of different families out there.

So how exactly does one determine the nation’s most impeccable pairing? If the first episode is anything to go by, the producers have employed similar methods to those used in Guantanamo Bay.

One -˜trust exercise’ sees one person from each partnership hooked up to live electricity, while their beloved is entrusted with keeping them shock-free.

They’re looking at how we as couples relate by putting us into stressful situations where we have to really have trust in each other. A lot of the challenges were hilarious, though, and I think we did really well, Dan said.

In a stressful situation, it can go either way. We found that it brought out the best in us and showed that we have a very strong bond.

Having been with Robbie for almost a decade, Dan admits it didn’t take a reality show to confirm that the two had a strong connection.

They had a commitment ceremony several years ago after Robbie proposed while on holiday in Bali, and two years ago took on a 10-year old foster daughter, Samantha.

Having our foster daughter Samantha basically dropped off to our house one afternoon, to go from having no children to a 10-year-old girl, was a big change for us, Dan said. It’s big things like that that have really strengthened our relationship.

But as the only homos among seven hetero pairings (each coming with a bite-sized media-ready tag -” the virgins! The modern-day Brady Bunch! The high school sweethearts!), have he and Robbie ever felt like the token gay couple on the show?

To be honest, I think they were searching for a couple who weren’t the token gay couple, Dan said.

They were trying to find a couple who are a bit more mainstream than the couples who have been portrayed on TV in the past.

info: Australia’s Perfect Couple, Channel 9, Wednesdays at 7:30pm.

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