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48 years Married – We will build a world of our own! –

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Each year is amazing, and every day with Sally is a joy. Looking back, there is so much to reflect on!

As it happens, our youngest of four (Paul) turns 40 this week, a serious milestone for us. After 48 years, there are many memories and milestones to reflect on, and the youngest child brings many of them to mind.

Our wedding – one song from the Seekers – We’ll build a world of our own!

We certainly built a family. Maybe there are songs about building a family?

In my wedding speech, I remember saying that landing a man on the moon was a Giant Step for Mankind – Getting married for me was JUST A GIANT STEP. I can remember walking across the tarmac as we boarded a plane for Sydney, thinking – shit! This is for life!!

The early days were great, and in previous Blogs, I have written about some of the work we did to prepare for our journey together. We discovered a cycle together during our Marriage Encounter weekend, highlighting a cycle that happens in marriage: ROMANCE, DISLLUSIONMENT, AND JOY. I have no doubt this insight helped us frame the challenges we faced as we lived every day. I was recently reading an article which highlighted the MARRIAGE MAP:

The Marriage Map

Stage One- Passion prevails.

Stage Two- What was I thinking?

Stage Three- Everything would be great if you changed.

Stage Four- That’s just the way s/he is.

Stage Five- Together, at last

The Marriage Map

As it happens, one of my published Blogs is named – Together Forever!

This Christmas, we had the privilege of celebrating with our whole family, and it was great. I am on record saying publicly that at my age, the only important thing is:

  • I am still married to Sally – my first wife!
  • My four adult children still speak with me, as do their respective ‘spice’! (Dad joke)
  • My 12 grandchildren still love me –sadly, we don’t see our step-grandson often.

There are so many milestones: the birth of children– miscarriage – profound sadness, but the joy of the fourth (our son Paul), who is now 40! The first drive home with each child (so momentous), baptisms, first day at Kindy for each child – Grade 1, then the high school journey with all that’s involved – the inevitable boundaries for emerging adults. One story: ‘I can remember one child speaking loudly to her mother saying, ‘I hate you’ and Sally replying, ‘You are supposed to hate me’ That means I am doing my job!’ Such equanimity. I don’t remember being quite that balanced – I can remember speaking loudly often and banning a child for life from something! Sally would look at me, shaking her head, and say ‘so how do you expect we will enforce that!!” There is nothing like marrying a mate – who is more balanced!

There were sporting commitments, school events – for me, Board Memberships for Sally, hard work on parent committees and projects, and an absent husband to make it more challenging!

Then, the milestone of them all – the LAST SCHOOL FEES – was a freedom we celebrated profoundly!

Christmas holidays: Labrador, Broadbeach – Lifesaving – Travel Overseas – children living everywhere – Vanuatu, Sydney, Japan, Canberra, Austria, United States, Sydney – we just had to visit!

It is a somewhat blurred kaleidoscope of images and memories, but we have done it together -WOW!

Last year, I wrote that everyone needs a mate, so ‘mateship’ is one pillar of marriage.

As it happens, it is one of the four pillars of the Kokada Trail:

Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice

 It is an Australian value that we loudly proclaim. The definition:

Mateship: A culture that embodies equality, loyalty, and friendship, an essential part of Australian life.

It is a formal view of mateship.


In marriage, I have pondered it as I have lived it. Just for fun as a word game, I have mapped the culture in marriage elements I named for our 47th Anniversary against the Kokada Trail Values.

Elements named in 2023:

“In a marriage, the ‘culture’ must have at least the following elements:

  • Respect: Be friends – Like each other!
  • Vulnerability: Share your fears, hopes, and weaknesses and be emotionally ‘naked’ with each other
  • Commitment: To endure and share the hardships.
  • Service: To work with and for each other
  • Loyalty: To have each other’s back, whatever (loyalty)
  • Fun: To have fun and laugh together (Fun)
  • Humility: To say sorry (often) and ask for forgiveness – be able to forgive.
  • Communication -especially listening: Be able to chat interminably about stuff together. “

The Kokoda Trail Values:

Courage: Vulnerability

Endurance: Commitment, Communication

Mateship: Respect, Loyalty, Fun

Sacrifice: Service, it’s Humility

For me, it’s a thoughtful parallel!

OUR Wedding Anniversary 2024:

Another great day -we did stuff together! Just ordinary things plus a particular highlight. Our Sydney family had an accommodation mix-up, so instead of returning to Sydney, they came to Brisbane to spend the night with us, and we celebrated with a casual dinner! It was a real bonus! It is always wonderful to have our family around – there is little else as you get older!!

Another huge highlight:

I mentioned earlier our son was having his 40th birthday. His sister suggested “a video of all his family and friends doing a ‘silly’ dance and recording it!” one of the family members will then edit all the contributions, which will be a memory of his 40th. Grandma and Grandpa had some fun and to the tune of YMCA when we produced our contribution!! – While Sally carried it off beautifully – there was a suggestion that sometimes I looked like an old man wandering around looking for direction! See photo above!!

Previous Blogs on Marriage:

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