This is a story about love that involves two couples who have never met but whose stories have enough similarities to surprise and perhaps inspire you.
When Heart to Home Meals decided to mark this year’s Valentine’s Day, we wanted to hear from our customers about what contributes to a successful marriage.
What are the chances of finding two couples who’ve been married for more than 65 years – where life-long romances began with brief encounters in ordinary surroundings?
One is a church in Montreal and the other a Woolworths store in Northern Ireland.
The church meeting led to Brian Eddy asking a girl to his High School prom and according to him, “From that moment on, I knew it was a go”. Less than three years later he made Elaine his bride. The couple had four children and will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary in May.
For Pat McGuigan that trip to the store, “Was the one of the best buys I ever made!” And roughly three years later he married Mary. They eventually had eight children and will celebrate their 68th wedding anniversary in June.
Looking for a better opportunity for his growing family Pat came to Canada on the recommendation of a friend in 1957. Two years later, Mary and five young children joined him in Edmonton.
According to Pat, the move by his family was made easy because of the warmth and compassion of Canadians, “We met the best people in the world in Canada,” he proclaims.
Both Pat and Brian share a very similar philosophy towards marriage: the willingness to talk and listen to their partners. They say it is all about good communications and honesty.
For Pat, “We make decisions together.”
“We are always straightforward, said Brian, “We don’t play games.”
A sense of sharing meant both couples led busy lives with lots of travelling and time for shared experiences.
Neither couple travels far these days, seeing themselves as ‘homebodies’ but that would be true for most people who are 94 (Pat), 91 (Mary) and 90 (Brian & Elaine).
Yet even today, they still have some personal hobbies Brian (parrots), Elaine (stained glass), Pat (wine-making) and Mary (bingo).
But they say the time together or spent with their families create the best moments and memories. And these days, it is the ‘kids’ that are focused on retirement. Both sets of parents are very proud of their children and the values they adhered to and how much they have achieved because of the opportunities available in Canada.
Whenever possible the clans are brought together and family members remain close. Perhaps because their parents stressed the importance of communication, the children are in regular contact through phone, email or Skype when they are not able to visit.
When it comes to this year’s Valentine’s Day it will be a simple affair. According to Pat, “She likes yellow tulips so I will go get her a big bunch of tulips.” It is a similar sentiment from Brian, “Flowers or chocolates, something like that.”
Both imply, after being married for more than six decades the message of love is transmitted in so many ways on a daily basis that it does not have to wait until a special occasion because spending time together is always cherished.
The couples are united in their passions: each other, their families and the country that allowed them to fulfill their dreams.
All say they are fond of reminiscing but don’t want to turn back the clock to change anything.
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