Relationships

Couples married for 70 years share their secrets to a long-lasting union

They make it sound so easy.

This month marks the platinum wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth 11 and Prince Philip.
It was November 20, 1947 that the 21-year-old future queen walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey in front of 2000 distinguished guests wearing a beautiful Norman Hartnell gown - and seven decades later the Queen and Prince Philip are still joined in matrimony.
At the time the royal couple's marriage united the Commonwealth and gave people something to celebrate after the deprivations of the war years.
Four children, eight grandchildren and five – soon to be six – great-grandchildren later – the couple will be the first British royal couple to mark so many years together.

The Queen has paid tribute to the man who’s stood by her side for almost three-quarters of a century: “He has quite simply been my strength and stays all these years.”
Prince Philip attributes tolerance as the reason their marriage has lasted so long.
“You can take it from me; the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.”
Of course, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip are not the only couple to have made it this far. We talk to three Australian women who’ve reached the same milestone in their own marriages, and ask them what their tips are for a marriage that endures a lifetime.

It was't love at first sight

Glad Jackson’s the first to admit it wasn't love at first sight when her future husband Gordon asked her to dance 75 years ago.
“I thought he was alright-looking but it certainly wasn’t love,” Glad says with a giggle. “Later down the track we just sort of clicked.”
Australia was in the grips of World War II when Gordon, now 93, was posted to the Royal Australian Air Force training centre in Glad’s home town of Ballarat, Victoria.
After meeting at the town hall dance, the pair bonded.
“We courted for five years before we got married,” the 91-year-old recalls.
“I didn’t think it was right to get married with a war going on.”
Having grown up on a farm, Glad, a former professional photographer, remembers impressing Gordon with her “bushie skills”.
“I could chop wood, kill sheep and drive a tractor,” she says. “My father took Gordon under his wing and taught him how to be a bushie, too.”
They’ve lived in the same house in Strathdale, Victoria, for more than 60 years, and have raised three children. They now dote on their five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
While they’ve experienced their fair share of ups and downs over the years, Glad and Gordon believe it’s only made them stronger as a couple.
“It's all about giving and take,” she reveals.
A shared interest in rocks and minerals has seen the sprightly duo travel around Australia three times in the past seven decades. But Glad firmly believes that pursuing your own interests is another key to a lasting union.
She says, “You can’t live in each other’s pockets all the time.”

He was so handsome he made my heart flutter

Beryl was just 15 when Ted, an officer in the Royal Australian Navy, ordered his first shake at the milk bar where she worked.
“He was so handsome he made my heart flutter,” the 87-year-old recalls. “Every time he came in after that I made sure it was me who made his strawberry shake.”
Although love blossomed quickly for the couple, Beryl’s family weren’t too pleased when Ted popped the question a year later.
“They thought I was too young to know what I was doing,” Beryl says with a sigh. “A lot of them said it wasn’t going to last. But we’ve sure shown them, haven’t we?”
They went on to have two children and are the incredibly proud grandparents of seven grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
When asked what she thinks is the secret to a successful marriage, Beryl doesn’t hesitate.
“Communication,” she replies. “Like all married couples we’ve probably had a million arguments, but we always make sure we talk things through. Sometimes we have to walk away and cool down and come back to it later, but we always resolve things.”
While Ted, now 92, has lost his central eyesight over the years and Beryl is hard of hearing, the Coorparoo couple agree they’re closer now than they’ve ever been.
“Getting old has brought us closer together,” she says. “I see for him, he listens for me – and it works.”

A wink did the trick

A couple celebrating their platinum anniversary while travelling around Europe is rare. But Jack and Joyce Carter, from Newcastle, NSW, did just that, cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest before enjoying a special dinner on board the ship in Vienna.
“We were treated like royalty on the cruise,” Joyce recalls. “The captain and crew all stood around us, singing and clapping while they served us wine and chocolate cake.”
Jack was a 16-year-old deckhand on the Stockton ferry when he met 14-year-old Joyce, who was travelling to Newcastle to attend business college.
“I sensed someone was looking at me and turned and saw Jack,” the 90-year-old says. “I hadn’t met him but he winked at me. That did the trick.”
While Jack, 92, still claims he had something in his eye at the time, the pair became more or less inseparable from that moment on.
Not even World War II could tear them apart, when Jack was posted to Darwin to serve in the RAAF Marine Section’s air-sea rescue unit.
“We wrote every single day,” Joyce reveals. “The war ended on my 18th birthday and it was the best present ever because I knew he would come home and we could be together again.”
The couple went on to marry and have five children. They now have 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
Although they had to save for 15 years to take their first family holiday, they’ve certainly made up for lost time since Jack retired, enjoying 13 European holidays.
They both believe the key to staying together 70 years is in the way you start each day.
“We start every day with a cuddle and a cuppa,” Joyce says sweetly.
“We joke a lot, too.”
The adventurous pair say their travelling days still aren’t over yet.
Joyce says, “We still want to travel around Australia.”