We met at UCT in 1975, followers of Christ and both students. Already – two keys to a long-lasting relationship – our Christian faith has held us in good times and difficulties; our keenness to learn and be curious about life, has kept our relationship interesting.

After completing our degrees in Education and Librarianship , we decided to work for a year before making a firm choice to get married. So we had actually been dating for 5 -6 years. We were really good friends, and so that lead to the saying “friends first, lovers later’. Relationships that are based just on sex, not respectful friendship, are bound to founder on the rocks of real life. As friends, we still enjoy each others’ company and doing things together.

Whilst engaged and during the first year of marriage, my husband lost all his hair – a condition called Alopecia Areata Universalis. A tough situation for anyone. Ollie had had the most beautiful, abundant, auburn hair. On his first visit to my family home, my Mom commented; “My, but that boy has a lovely head of hair!” Those days, hair was “in” and if one was bald or shaven, people assumed one was either gay,or dying of cancer. For years Ollie wore a wig ( a real nuisance and very hot in summer). But then came the freeing day when, after a nudge from God during a sermon, Ollie decided just to be himself and go “wigless” and become one of “God’s shaven few”. I am so glad! Interestingly enough, the boys at his school have always been accepting and curious about his baldness. Adults are the ones less accepting.

That was the first major loss we faced together. Since then we have faced many other losses: illnesses; deaths of friends and family members; serious accidents; loss of friends through emigration; financial strain.

But with lots of daily communication; keeping a sense of humour; listening to each other; and being alert for God’s leading and wisdom, here we are looking forward to our 33rd Anniversary!

[For a Marriage year 45 post by Costa and Lorraine Mitchell, click here]