THERE are many facets to a successful marriage, but Kilmore woman Jan Childs believes it all boils down to one thing – teamwork.
Mrs Childs and her husband Vin will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday – a milestone she believes they could never have reached without a rock-solid foundation.
“I think the thing I’m most proud of is that no matter what comes and what goes, we face it together,” she said.
“Some people say you should never go to bed on an argument; of course we go to bed on an argument. But the next day you just pick up where you left off.
“We have faced everything together, good and bad. We’re a team.”
Mrs Childs said the couple met while ballroom dancing at Coburg Town Hall with friends on a Saturday night.
She said Mr Childs did not immediately catch her eye, but recalled he ‘was a very good dancer’.
“It helped that I didn’t go home with sore toes,” she said.
“As can happen in those situations, people pair up and before you know where you are, you end up being engaged and getting married and buying a house and raising children.”
The couple was married at Coburg’s Holy Trinity Anglican Church in July 1960. They soon welcomed three children, and now have eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
But Mrs Childs said they were never destined to stay in Coburg.
“We were born and raised in Melbourne but we have lived in Papua New Guinea and Queensland,” she said.
“We did most of our world travel while we were younger rather than waiting until we were in our eighties and wouldn’t be able to walk up the hills of Italy.
“We’ve been fortunate inasmuch as we have worked hard and been able to afford to do those things.”
Mr Childs worked as an engineer on projects including the redevelopment of Melbourne’s Albert Park and the construction of the CityLink toll road, while Mrs Childs worked in commerce and administration, accruing accreditations for hospitality management and working with special needs children along the way.
The couple has also been active in every community in which they have lived. Mr Childs is a former district governor of Lions International in western Victoria and Mrs Childs is a long-time member of the Red Hat Society – an organisation that supports and provides social opportunities for women over the age of 50.
It was Mr Childs’ involvement with Lions that led indirectly to the couple settling in Kilmore.
“Vin’s district ran from Melbourne all the way up to the Murray River, and Kilmore was in his area,” Mrs Childs said.
“When we decided to come back to Victoria six years ago we decided to live in Kilmore because he had a feeling for the area.”
The couple’s community involvement has not waned since moving to the town. Mrs Childs founded a chapter of the Red Hat Society and is a member of the University of the Third
Age, while Mr Childs is a member of Kilmore and District Men’s Shed.
Mrs Childs said the pair’s social involvement and strong relationship had seen them through many challenges in their 60 years of marriage.
“Vin had what was supposed to be terminal cancer,” she said.
“At one stage they told him he only had six months to live, and that was 12 years ago. And a few years ago he had open-heart surgery.
“It’s a bit like when you get on an aircraft and they say if the oxygen masks fall down you should put your own mask on first because you’ll be no good to anybody else if you haven’t looked after yourself.”
But what does Mr Childs think the secret to the couple’s success is? Mrs Childs said his message would likely be a simple one.
“If you were to ask Vin, he’d probably say our marriage has lasted 60 years just through the use of two words: ‘yes dear’,” she said.