Trust, patience and the ability to accept each other’s “foibles” is the recipe for success that has kept Jim and Sadie Allen in wedded bliss for 70 years.
When Jim was 19 he met a striking blonde on the platform at Motherwell railway station. Little did he know that 76 years later he and Sadie would still be going strong.
The couple, who have lived in Comely Bank since 1966, celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary on June 11 with not one but four parties thrown by friends and family keen to mark their incredible achievement.
Jim, 95, said: “The trick is to stick with it. Marriage gets easier and better as the years go by.
“We’re not two people anymore, we’re one. We merged a long time ago.”
The lovebirds courted for six years before tying the knot. Jim served in the British army for three of those years when he fought in France, Holland and Belgium before being severely wounded in Germany in 1945 when a bullet ripped through his upper arm and exited his body via his chest. He returned to fight for another year before demobilisation in 1946. During his time away, the couple kept their love stoked with regular letters that flitted across the Channel.
Bowling and dancing are also credited for keeping the pair knitted together for a lifetime. Jim and Sadie, 93, enjoyed years of Scottish country and ballroom dancing before the matter of balance made them “hang up their ghillies” last year. “Shared interests are important”, said Jim. “We’ve always enjoyed the same things so it hasn’t been hard.”
The couple have travelled extensively during their time together, including trips to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa. Their son Douglas, a lecturer at Motherwell College, has been married for 25 years and “must have picked up some tips from his parents”.
The pair both worked for the Church of Scotland and were based in the George Street headquarters before they retired. Jim said they have never argued, instead always “agreeing to agree”.
“It’s great waking up with each other every day”, he said. “We’re great friends and its been lovely spending our lives together.
“We’re wonderfully blessed and we’re hanging in there together.”