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Enduring Love

Updated Monday, 8th January 2018

In this collection of audio and video podcasts, we ask how some couples manage to stay together for years, sometimes forever.

In this collection of audio and video podcasts, we reflect on the adult couple relationship in the UK, how couples perceive love and commitment, and the 'relationship work' that people do to sustain their enduring love. Watch the first video below, where Ann and Owen, a couple who've been together for 54 years and married for 50, share the secret of a long relationship.

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A Fine Romance: Enduring Love

Ann & Owen

Ann

I’m Ann, I’m 71, and I have been married to Owen for 50 years.

Owen

I’m Owen, I’m 84 years old, and I’ve enjoyed marriage to Ann for 50 years.

We met, one evening, I understood that my brother was having a visitor for a fortnight, and it was going to be a young girl from Yorkshire, Huddersfield.  And so with two friends that first night we bought a large bottle of cider and went over to view the goods, see what had come down from the North, and as soon as we went in the girl was sitting on the settee in the far corner and I know I thought well this looks as if it’s the right person for me.

Ann

Owen was with two friends, and they were both extremely good looking.

Owen

And suave.

Ann

And suave.

Owen

And I was the ugly duckling.

Ann

And he was the ugly one.  So he was the one that I went for.  But I think when I saw him I was 18 and Owen was 31, and he was the one, I knew immediately he was the one I was going to marry.

Title: for better or worse

Ann

Well I did actually ask you to marry didn’t I? 

Owen

No, yeah.  Well we were sitting on these…

Ann

Because you were not going to get round to it.

Owen

I wasn’t holding back particularly, but the thought hadn’t crossed my mind at the moment.  I mean I knew I was going to, eventually, but it was just a question of timing wasn’t it?  

Ann

Twenty-four years ago I was organising my parents’ golden wedding, and I’ve done that, I’ve gone through that and I think wow half a century of being married is, there is no one thing that you can put your finger on really.  You actually got married and that was it forever.  It was for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health.  And when you went to that church and you got married you weren’t thinking maybe this might last five years or ten years, this was going to be for ever until you die.

Title: the secret?

Ann

It’s got to be that instant chemistry.

Owen

I’d been looking for that for years, yeah.

Ann

And then I think it’s very important especially as you get older to have a sense of humour.  That is very important in love; you’ve got to have a sense of humour.  You’ve got to trust each other and you’ve got to communicate, got to be huge communication, and apart from communicating you’ve got to be able to listen, haven’t you?

Owen

Yes dear.

Ann

So some of those things.

Owen

That’s the secret I’m told.

Ann

That’s the secret.

Owen

Well I say, “Yes, Dear.”  That just makes all the difference.

Ann

That’s his answer.

Owen

If not I say, “Coming!”

Title: a fine romance

Owen

I’m sure during the course of the day I say I love you one or two times.

Ann

Mm-hmm.

Owen

Or more.

Ann

Mm.

Owen

I don’t put my arms around you as much as I should...

Ann

Aww.

Owen

We have a little kiss every time

Ann

Aww.

Owen

in the morning

Ann

That’s sweet.

Owen

when we get up, don’t we?

Ann

Sweet.  Yeah, we’re physical, okay.

Owen

Yeah.

Ann

You know, it’s nice to hold hands; it’s nice to kiss, isn’t it?  It’s nice to hug.

Owen

And when we go out I’m afraid may seem soppy but we hold hands.  It’s probably to stop me falling over now but.

Ann

Are you romantic dear?

Owen

Well I would say not I expect.

Ann

No, I would say not.

Owen

But on the other hand depends what you mean by romanticist, romanticism I think, because I associate it with places a bit together with you and with excitement.  Now I mean to me it’s romantic seeing the sun come up on the beach in Bali at five o’clock in the morning when everything goes gold.

Ann

Which is nothing to do with me.

Owen

Which, but, I mean Ann is with me.

Ann

Not at five o’clock in the morning I’m not.

Owen

Yeah we were.  This is when we

Ann

Okay.

Owen

we did two mornings at five o’clock.  It’s absolutely brilliant. 

Title: love is….

Ann

As I’ve got older I nag less.  A man just wants to have a woman he loves to listen to him.  To demonstrate that love that he’s more important that she is.  So this demonstration of love I think is putting the other person in front of what you would like.  So Owen has always got to watch the television programme I like, so that is his demonstration of love, okay?  If I say right tonight we’re going to watch this he’s wonderful he will watch. 

Title: true faith

Owen

We were both very fortunate in coming from Christian families.  We also got a lot out of, we were at Christian schools basically.  So it becomes a way of life obviously, but you do have to look into it to appreciate the sort of finer points.

Ann

It brings in the business of forgiveness.  So if in a marriage you can bring that into it, because we’ve all done wrong things, and forgive one another, that is a bedrock for that sort of enduring love relationship.  By the grace of God we have kept a marriage alive together.

Title: time flies

Ann
It has got to come back to being comfortable with one another, the fact that we have made a decision not to be comfortable with anybody else, and that embraces the whole of one’s character and personality.  Yeah we are still in love!  We still love each other; we want the best for each other.

Owen

Oh definitely. 

Ann

But as I say the miracle is that it has lasted for 54 years.  That is actually mind-blowing isn’t it?

6’42”

 

 

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