Coward's 1930 play Private Lives is a comedy of manners about the love problems of a privileged, upper class couple.
Elyot and Amanda have married and divorced because they were fighting all the time. Each has remarried a younger person. They end up in a hotel in rooms next to each other with their new spouses. The rooms share a terrace.
Back in close proximity, Elyot and Amanda soon fall back in love, but that love means they are fighting all the time. The play is a version of the "I can't live with you, but I can't live without you" love story.
Coward's intention is a to offer a new and modern twist on love and marriage. Elyot and Amanda are clearly equals, breaking the old Victorian/Edwardian mold of subservient and superior gender roles. The early staging of the play emphasized this, showing the couple in mirror image poses, such as when they both face each other smoking a cigarette. Amanda breaks gender conventions by marrying a younger man, which is also a mirror image to Elyot's marrying a younger woman.
Coward thus shows the paradox of equality: it is the spark that holds the twosome together but it also means they are constantly fighting each other with no clear way to resolve their battles. Modern love is not easy, Coward says, but the lead characters wouldn't have it any other way.