Rule 1: No politics at home. That's Molinari's edict anyway. Paxon, who proposed marriage to her on bended knee on the House floor in 1993, regularly flouts it. ''Sometimes at 11 o'clock, I have to say, 'Okay, I'm shutting down,' " Molinari says, laughing. The two differ on other points of domestic policy in their rented Washington town house—she's a self-admitted "big slob" and an early morning jogger; he's a fastidious night owl. But when friction arises, Paxon says, "Our legislative and negotiating backgrounds help."
Rule 2: With time so precious, stay in touch even on the job. That was made much easier recently when Molinari, 36, and Paxon, 40, scored offices across the hall from each other, an arrangement so cozy that the couple's Labrador mix. George (as in Bush), can pad between his masters—who are often on the phone with each other. "We try to end every conversation with 'I love you,' " Molinari says, "but sometimes there are 72 people in the room." The House, clearly, is not a home.
Sometimes politics makes for strangely happy bedfellows. Representatives Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.) and Bill Paxon (R-N.Y.) had to put off their Caribbean honeymoon for four months after getting married last July. But even as they campaigned together for 84 candidates in 36 states last fall and generally led the whirlwind lives demanded of lawmakers, they discovered how to keep a higher-office romance alive.