Volume 2 Number 4
Talking Priorities Through
01 April 1989

What has kept us together, despite pressures that often drive couples apart?
All our married life, until he retired recently, my husband Allan advised a succession of Australian Prime Ministers on international relations. This involved much time abroad away from the family.

When he asked me to marry him, I had been working for eight years as a physics, chemistry and maths teacher, with prospects of a high position. When we got married I left my job, as Allan worked in another part of the country, and began to give priority to his work at the centre of national life.

This sort of commitment is often forgotten these days when the stress is on individual fulfilment. But in any working partnership where two people have different interests and talents and we are very different - it is possible to share responsibility for the home, even if home duties themselves cannot be equally shared. This has proved no real sacrifice for me, though it has been hard at times to be left with sole responsibility for the children. But I've enjoyed being a wife and mother, and once our three daughters were past babyhood I was able to return to teaching. This gave me an independent interest that was particularly valuable when Allan was away from home.

What has kept us together, despite pressures that often drive couples apart? The conviction that this is how we are meant to be, that it is part of God's plan for our lives. Our mutual love and vision for what each other is meant to do and become has certainly played a part. And this is even more important now that Allan is following other avenues of contributing to world affairs.

I'm glad we always felt able to talk through each other's ambitions and calling. The woman partner used to be the one expected to fit in with the other, but now there is greater flexibility in attitudes.

Even so it is easy to hurt those closest to you. We decided never deliberately to say anything that would weaken the confidence of the other, and this I think is an important factor in happiness in marriage.