One great thing about life is that many people have “already done it” and have experience we can learn from. In this series I’ve asked people about key lessons they’ve learned being married. I hope it helps you have an even better marriage.
A really short interview with Andrew Parfitt
Chris Goodchild: Andrew, how did you meet Ann and when did you get married?
Andrew Parfitt: Ann and I met on holiday in 1958 when she was 12 and I was 15. Neither of us was looking for romance, but within days of setting eyes on each other we fell in love! We lived at a distance and during our seven year courtship wrote 1,642 letters, which we still have. We married in 1965 at the end of Ann’s first year at university.
CG: Wow, that’s a great story. Could you tell us a little of your family background?
AP: I came from a loving Christian family. Ann’s home life was more difficult; her parents separated when she was ten and she then lived alone with her mother, a lovely Christian lady.
CG: Could you give us a brief overview of your “career-path” to date?
AP: I trained as a teacher and taught in primary schools, latterly as a deputy head, until 1984 when I became one of the pastors of a large and active church in Maidstone, England. Since retirement in 2007 I have continued to be active in Christian service, amongst other things lecturing at the IBTI.
Ann read history at London University and then taught in all kinds of school, from nursery to grammar to special needs, and for a while worked as a library assistant. We have four children and eight grandchildren.
CG: What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced together in your married life and how have you overcome them?
AP: We have faced the normal pressures of marriage and family life, but have been supremely happy together and have never had a row (honestly!). However, I tend to withdraw into myself when handling issues, which can upset Ann deeply, and on a very few occasions we have really hurt one another. Eventually, the only way out is honest talk, forgiveness and, for us, prayer together.
In 2013 I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, which has forced us to face up to our mortality. Our deep love for each other and our faith are helping us through. In fact, it has brought us closer together as we have shared our deepest thoughts and emotions and learnt to handle the side effects of my treatment.
CG: What would you say is the most important lesson that you’ve learned about being married?
AP: One of the things that has made our marriage so stable is that we have always thought in terms of ‘we’ not ‘me’ . As we fell in love so young all our career and life decisions were made with ‘us’ in mind. We share common interests – history, literature, music, travel, the countryside – and a common faith. We have always had a mutually enjoyable sex life, and we are each other’s best friend. Oh – and we do laugh a lot together!
CG: Thank you very much Andrew for sharing your experience with us.
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