Mary and Micheal Martin are on the brink of achieving something they have been striving towards together for a long time. At an intimate dinner with them in Cork four years ago, their commitment to each other was plain to see. What was also clear was that theirs is a marriage of political beliefs as well as hearts.
During that dinner at Barry's in Douglas, they had each other's back. Asked about her husband's mood as leader of Fianna Fail when the party took a hiding at the 2011 election, Mary said: "I would say he is a glass half-full merchant."
They both needed to draw on that view of life when Leana, their seven-year-old daughter, died tragically in late 2010 from a cardiac condition that had developed suddenly; their son, Ruairi, had died in infancy years before. At Barry's that night, Mary became emotional, even angry, when she talked about children "who had their discretionary medical cards taken off them" by Enda Kenny's government. It was, she said, "probably the worst thing they did. It was scandalous".
There were lighter moments. On their early dates in 1981, her future husband "used to wear brown suits a lot", Mary said. So she had a quiet word and that stopped.
Mary's new boyfriend was a serious young man who went to Belfast with four other students from Cork on a fact-finding expedition. "It was the time of the H-Blocks," she said. "So he would have been 21."
"One of the first guys we met was Andy Tyrie, leader of the UDA," Micheal said. "So our contact in Cork got panicky. He thought we could have been bushwhacked. But in fairness to the UDA, they sent someone to the train station that we recognised."
Later in the night, Mary talked about the warning signs that Fianna Fail failed to act on during the Celtic Tiger years. One of the biggest, she said, was the sale of the Jurys site in Dublin. A huge new development was planned but the only way it could be made to pay "was for every one of the 450 apartments to be more than a million each. I often would have said that to you," Mary said, turning to her husband. "'Why are people not screaming?' Because there were not 450 people in Dublin who could pay a million for an apartment. We should have all said it as a country: 'The place is gone nuts!'"
Micheal nodded at that and admitted: "We spent too much. We brought the taxation base down too low."
They met at a Fianna Fail cumann in Cork, but started slowly. She was "the classic 18-year-old" who believed that she would be "blowing a good friendship by just getting off with somebody".
Working in Dublin in Fianna Fail, Mary had an apartment in Sussex Road. Micheal, teaching in Cork, lived at home.
"He didn't move out until we got married," Mary said.
They were together for nine years before they were engaged, in 1989. Before he proposed, Micheal called out to Midleton to see Mary's father.
"Tony, do you want to go for a walk?" he asked. "Well, it's pouring rain," Tony replied. "But I will, so."
They married the following year. On their honeymoon, they had to return from the Aran Islands after four days when, said Mary, "the Dail collapsed".
Thirty years on, both will be hoping there's no repeat of that, with Micheal a week away from the ultimate job.