‘We’ve learnt that you don’t have to do everything as a pair’
Nicky and Sila Lee, married 42 years
NICKY: We fell madly in love in Ireland when I was 18 and Sila was 17 and we married four years later after university. We’ve always prioritised our marriage, checking in for a date night once a week, where we try not to let work and family be the sole topics of conversation. And in the early days, when we had four children under seven, I realised I needed to cut a few things out of my life, in order to have time for our marriage and our family. A couple of days walking in Scotland, leaving the children with our parents, also made a huge difference to our relationship. SILA: On one level we have lots in common: our core values are similar and we love the countryside and art, but we have very different personalities and initially we set out thinking we would make the other see things our way. This was never going to happen, of course: I’m an extrovert and Nicky is more introverted; we see the world differently. NICKY: Endeavouring to speak each other’s “love language” helped us be more intentional about the way we loved each other: Sila likes time and I thrive on words of encouragement and actions. Forgiveness is also central to our marriage: we have hurt each other more times than we can count through the years and we are always trying to get better at forgiving and saying sorry. SILA: Over time we’ve learnt that you don’t have to do everything together; Nicky loves sailing and I don’t, for example. But we have also consciously developed shared interests – I took up golf at 50 and we have had the most amazing time playing together. NICKY: Our culture says that after time the spark will fizzle out of a marriage, but this is absolutely not true. We’ve always been a couple that holds hands and I realise now the huge significance of physical contact. SILA: I can honestly say 100 per cent that I’ve never felt bored living my life with Nicky.