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. I hope it helps you have an even better marriage.

A really short interview with Peter and Kay Goodchild

I have to declare an interest here. Yes, this is my Mum and Dad. Let’s find out what they have to say for themselves….

Peter_Kay_600x450Chris Goodchild: You’ve just celebrated 40 years of married life together. How did you meet and when did you get married?

Peter Goodchild: In 1971 we met at a friend’s baby dedication event, when Kay was 16 and I was 18.

As members of the church’s youth group, we became good friends, best friends and I proposed just before Christmas 1973 and on 1st March 1975 I married my teenage bride.

CG: You were both living in Tunbridge Wells, England at that time, but that wasn’t always the case was it?

PG: Kay was born and lived all her life in Tunbridge Wells until we moved to Cranbrook where we now live. I had spent nearly six years in New Zealand before returning to England in 1968 when my family settled in Tunbridge Wells.

CG: Could you give us an overview of your careers?

Kay Goodchild: I left school 4 months early and got a job with BT to earn money to get married, working there until 1978 when I left as we were expecting you! I loved being a full-time mum for nearly 20 years and, if life wasn’t busy enough, getting involved in various extras: being a school governor, cooking at the church’s care home and also providing domestic care for elderly people in their homes. More recently I spent 2 years working with Fegans which has spurred me on to train as a counsellor, hopefully qualifying in July this year (2015).

CG: Ok, so now that everyone knows how old I am, Dad, what about you?

PG: I left school and started work as a cashier in Barclays Bank. In 1973 my church pastor invited me to become his assistant. And now over 40 years on, I continue to be involved in church pastoral leadership: formerly in two churches in Tunbridge Wells and now here in Cranbrook where we have been for the past 18 years. We began a new church family in 1997 and continue to serve in a changing leadership role.

CG: With such amazing kids, life was pretty straight forward… Ok, perhaps not; what were some of the greatest challenges you faced?

KG: From the start we have been the best of friends, loving the same things and serving others together. Raising a family of four with the constraints on time and resources, and especially health issues of our children have probably been among the toughest calls.

PG: We learnt to make the most of many situations: caravanning on a budget made memorable holidays. Necessary DIY projects honed many ‘skills’ and often simple home cooking served with love proved equal to that anniversary outing that never was.

Problems, obstacles and heartaches in life, we discovered, are best faced standing side by side, and not from opposite sides of the ring! We’ve proved our love for each other by keeping ourselves in God’s love… that’s where we found each other in the first place.

CG: What are the most important lessons that you’ve learned about being married?

PG: Deciding to Love each other always. This necessity became priority when Kay’s parents split up 12 months after we married. We resolved that would never be a possibility for us – whatever the stats said, they were irrelevant!

KG: Laughter is a big thing, we share a slightly crazy sense of humour. I think God invented it 🙂 Always laughing with each other, not at each other. Also, finding ways to making the other happy – it’s usually in little ways, but sometimes in the bigger decisions of life it’s pretty important.

CG: Thanks for sharing with us and I would say, “Here’s to the next 40 years,” but that might just be pushing it!

Note: Since publishing this interview, Kay did indeed qualify in 2015 and now runs her own counselling service, supporting people in the Weald of Kent.

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