Still the One: Stories of Soulmates

Married Couple's Hands
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It’s just the beginning, you know, the wedding day – so here’s what you have to look forward to. Looks alright to us.

Adeline and James, 52 years married

“We just met like young people meet,” says Adeline. “We knew each other locally.” They got married in their late twenties at Dublin’s University Church with a reception at The Shelbourne, an event their family recreated on their 50th wedding anniversary, complete with the same priest and menu. “We were two days there, drinking champagne – we didn’t even get that first time around,” jokes James. Both say the key to their long and happy union has been learning to adjust to each other. “We all think we can change people, but you can’t,” James says. “Try to laugh at what you don’t like – it’s a great remedy, but it takes a long time to learn. Around 50 years I’d say!”

“Accept that people aren’t going to change”

Catherine and John, 48 years married

“I think we were standing at a garden wall when we decided to get married,” recalls John. “We were 17, and went to the pictures afterwards to celebrate!” They had met two years earlier, doing the Hucklebuck and the Twist at The Ritz, Ballyfermot, the kicking dance hall back then. After the wedding, they lived with John’s family until they got a place of their own. “There were three families living in the one house when we first got married,” says Catherine. “So the biggest surprise when we got a house was being on out on our own – we used to bring our parents down to have a bit of company!”

“Enjoy each other’s company, but have a life outside each other. That’s so important”

Rosaleen and Tony, 40 years married

Ro and To, as they’re known by their family, met at a rooftop disco in Bray, when Rosaleen was just 20, and married a year later. “When I look at our wedding photographs, it’s as though we’re a pair of teenagers,” laughs Tony. The flowers were bought on Grafton Street and picked from a garden, and Rosaleen’s dress was made by a friend. “There wasn’t anything precious about it,” says Rosaleen. “We just wanted to get married.” Tony agrees. “We were madly in love, which was a great feeling, and made everything possible.”

“We’re always a team. That’s probably what’s kept us together.”

Gerard and Valerie, 34 years married

Gerard and Valerie work together, but drive in separately. It’s this independence within their togetherness that has kept their marriage strong all these years – that, and regular date nights. “Even when the children were small, we would be sure to have time for us as a couple,” says Valerie, who first met Gerard when she was 15. “Sometimes, knowing that we both wanted to get time away together, even if we couldn’t afford to actually go, would be enough.”

“Start out as best friends and build on that.”

Words and photography: Nathalie Marquez Courtney @nathaliemc

Assisted by: Ben Keenan

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