Golden cou­ple shines a light on love

Life & Style Weekend - - YOU - With Joanne Wil­son

You’re for­given if you haven’t heard of Mar­riage Week, how­ever it’s ex­actly ten years since its in­cep­tion and starts tomorrow. With all the cur­rent dis­cus­sion around mar­riage, I thought it re­miss of me not to fea­ture a few cou­ples in the com­ing weeks who’ve not only lasted a sig­nif­i­cant dis­tance but renowned for their in­spir­ing re­la­tion­ship.

Meet Jan­ice and Lester Nei­deck. They were mar­ried 50 years ago at the Methodist Church Ma­roochy­dore. Jan­ice was just 18 and Lester was 21. Here are a few ques­tions I posed to this beau­ti­ful cou­ple: How and where did you meet and marry? Lester: Jan­ice and I first met when she was 16 and I was 18. We were in­tro­duced by a mu­tual ac­quain­tance on the cor­ner of Maude Street and Aero­drome Road Ma­roochy­dore just out­side my work­place. I was work­ing as an ap­pren­ticed TV tech­ni­cian at

a re­pair shop on Aero­drome Road and Jan­ice's fam­ily lived just around the cor­ner in Maude Street. What were the first things that at­tracted you to each other?

Lester: It was love at first sight. Jan­ice was my first love and still is. It took Jan­ice two dates to come to the same con­clu­sion. Aside from her stun­ning beauty, the thing that at­tracted me to Jan­ice was her re­served quiet na­ture, sim­ple old-fash­ioned coun­try girl charm and not to men­tion her 1960s bee­hive hairdo!

Jan­ice: What at­tracted me to Lester was not so much his good looks, but his unas­sum­ing na­ture and be­ing re­spected. Lester: Our first dates were at­tend­ing the Methodist youth group Ma­roochy­dore. In the 1960s there wasn't that much to do around Ma­roochy­dore. Most of our dates were to the old fash­ioned Star Pic­ture The­atre on Beach Road Ma­roochy­dore. The most trou­ble you could get into was hav­ing Mrs Comino

shine a torch on your face try­ing to fig­ure out who was rolling Jaf­fas down the slop­ing floor un­der the seats or throw­ing Min­ties from the back row! Some­times we went to the speed­way at the Ex­hi­bi­tion Grounds in Bris­bane. I had asked her to marry me on our sec­ond date. She said yes! Did you have chil­dren along the way? Lester: We have two sons aged 39 and 35, and one daugh­ter aged 36. They have won­der­ful spouses and part­ner and we are blessed with four beau­ti­ful grand­chil­dren. We are all very close.

What has been the most sur­pris­ing thing you’ve learnt about each other?

Jan­ice: The most sur­pris­ing thing was his abil­ity to stay calm in stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, to keep sight of ‘the big pic­ture’, and be

treated with such love and re­spect. As in all mar­riages, we can be­come quite an­noyed with each other, how­ever we have never had a ‘stand-up’ yelling and scream­ing ar­gu­ment. Lester: How Jan­ice eas­ily be­came part of my large ex­tended fam­ily in­clud­ing seven sib­lings, as if she was born into it. I

ad­mire her abil­ity to read the per­son­al­ity of oth­ers, em­pathise with their sit­u­a­tion and of­fer friendly coun­sel. I also dis­cov­ered

she is an ex­cel­lent cook.

What has been the most chal­leng­ing part of be­ing mar­ried? Lester: We can't re­call any real re­la­tion­ship chal­lenges in our mar­riage. As with many mar­riages, we did have fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties. Rais­ing chil­dren, es­pe­cially through their ado­les­cence was ex­tremely chal­leng­ing. Jan­ice: Af­ter the teenage years, the love for our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren grows deeper each day and our hearts burst with

pride. My ad­vice is never give up on them when they seem to be caus­ing you grief in their early years.

How do you keep the ro­mance alive in your mar­riage?

For us, the orig­i­nal pas­sion of ‘fall­ing in love’ ma­tured and

de­vel­oped into a much deeper and last­ing kind of love. As C.S Lewis wrote, " Be­ing in love first moved them to prom­ise fidelity:

this qui­eter love en­ables them to keep the prom­ise. It is on this love that the en­gine of mar­riage is run: be­ing in love was the ex­plo­sion that started it." What ad­vice would you give newly-weds? It seems many young peo­ple to­day have a much higher sense of en­ti­tle­ment and in­de­pen­dence than in pre­vi­ous years. Whilst we main­tained dif­fer­ent in­ter­ests in life, the mar­riage vows ‘two

be­come one’ are cru­cial and came nat­u­rally to us. We didn't need to work on this. We are in­ter­de­pen­dent not in­de­pen­dent. If you could pro­vide one line on your se­cret to a thriv­ing and har­mo­nious mar­riage, what would it be? There is a ten­dency for young peo­ple to put off mar­riage un­til they are fi­nan­cially se­cure and have all their ducks in a row. Be­ing able to start mar­ried life in a new house is fine, how­ever a house is not a home. A home is where the love of a fam­ily is, so don't put off mar­riage and chil­dren too long. In March this year we re­newed our mar­riage vows be­fore God, along with now quite a large ex­tended fam­ily at our golden

wed­ding an­niver­sary. Whilst I do re­alise that Chris­tians do not have a guar­an­tee on a strong and suc­cess­ful mar­riage, for us per­son­ally, our strong Chris­tian faith has been a very large sta­bil­is­ing in­flu­ence in our mar­ried life and rais­ing a fam­ily. Why not make your mar­riage or re­la­tion­ship a lit­tle ex­tra­or­di­nary this week with some of my top tips found on the

Mar­riage Week tab on my web­site. You can find a beau­ti­ful col­lec­tion of sim­i­lar in­spir­ing cou­ples in my Pearls of Wis­dom

from the Thriv­ing Thir­ties book there too. Joanne is a neu­ropsy­chother­a­pist and re­la­tion­ship spe­cial­ist of TheCon­fi­dante Coun­selling. Email jo@the­con­fi­dan­te­coun­selling.com or visit www.sun­shinecoast­coun­selling.com.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Jan­ice and Lester Nei­deck on their wed­ding day in 1967.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Re­new­ing their wed­ding vows 50 years on.

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