‘We’ve learnt that you don’t have to do ev­ery­thing as a pair’

Nicky and Sila Lee, mar­ried 42 years

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page - BY GRETCHEN RU­BIN (25 YEARS MAR­RIED)

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.

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