Publish date: 12 February 2024
When Kevin met Judith at a dance at the Bunbury Rowing Club in 1962, he was swept off his feet.
“I went home and said to Mum ‘I’ve met the girl I’m going to marry,’” Kevin recalls. “She said ‘don’t be stupid.’ But she came out with me again.”
Judith took a little more convincing. "I just thought about having a good time. But then he wore me down,” she says with a laugh.
The couple, who celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this year, say the secret to a long marriage is respect.
“And talk things through so that you get to a situation where you might not agree but you get to an answer. In a marriage, it has to be a two-way thing,” Judith says.
They certainly agree on the need to have their own interests, with Judith sewing or going out with the girls and Kevin having a beer or playing cards with his mates. “It’s important that you can both be together, but you can both go your own separate ways,” Judith says.
Kevin nods: “It’s very important.”
Grant and Marianne, who have been married for more than 50 years, also put a lot of store in mutual respect in a relationship.
“Love to my way of thinking is to show respect for other people,” Grant says. “My mother used to say ‘smile at the world and the world will smile at you’. It’s very true.”
Marianne says love is not so much something you feel but that you give out. Her first husband died of cancer when their daughter was just three. She feels fortunate to have found love again with Grant, with whom she had two more children and ran a manufacturing business in New Zealand before Grant moved into politics.
"You don’t compare, never compare,” she says. “We’re all different and our relationship is completely different to my first husband. It’s something that grows, always grows.”
Sharing is also caring. “The most important thing in a marriage in our view is to be able to communicate openly and honestly and share things, and that’s how we survived through rough times,” Grant says.
"Marianne and I loved boating, and swimming and fishing, we did everything together. And I taught the girls how to sail a yacht.”
He even built a yacht in their lounge room once it was so cold outside. “He had a very tolerant wife,” Marianne laughs.
As for the couple about to celebrate their diamond anniversary, Kevin holds up his wife’s hand to show she already has a few sparkles. “I can always do with more,” Judith says with a laugh.
Happy Valentine’s Day!