St Louis Life Stories: After 60 years of marriage, home care helps Annemarie and John live comfortably together at home
“I am very happy with St Louis. We’re comfortable at home together. We have everything we need at home to remain here and we’d like to keep it this way.”
Annemarie and John have been married for sixty years and celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on 15 August, 2020. They live at home in Victor Harbor with the support of a home care package from St Louis.
The couple arrived in Australia in 1972. Annemarie, 84, is originally from Germany and John who is 82, is from the UK. Their family tribe spans four generations with two children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren!
Many of our clients are in relationships and living at home together with the help of a homecare package. It’s not unusual for people living together to be concerned about their welfare as they get older, and to be asking questions about their care choices.
Couples can apply for a home care package individually so that each person has a personalised service to meet their own needs. Having a home care package in place gives couples peace of mind that a supportive care network will be there for them as they grow old together.
Still in love, we asked Annemarie and John about their partnership, raising children and marriage. They generously share some pearls of wisdom in this article about how they developed a happy marriage and are still content after so many years.
What has made your marriage last as long as it has?
“We believe it is genuine love which has grown through tolerance, understanding, respect, patience, honesty and caring.
We never go to bed without sorting out an argument if we’ve had one. We kiss and make up before we go to sleep. We think alike which has developed over the years. We weren’t this compatible or alike when we met. We were certainly in love, but compatibility grew as we worked on our marriage. We’ve had our ups and downs. No marriage can be a true one if it doesn’t have some ups and downs.
Our marriage has been a learning curve and we’ve had to go with the flow to learn and grow with it.”
What advice would you give people who are unhappy in their relationship or marriage?
“We wonder if younger people get married for the right reasons. Sometimes living together doesn’t work because it’s conditional. People don’t have to commit when they can try living together to see if they like it. They can leave when it gets too uncomfortable. And it might be a very important turning point for a relationship.
When we hear “it’s only a piece of paper” with regards to getting married, we know this is not a good sign. It is so much more than a piece of paper. Committing to a marriage is a genuine responsibility which gives you so much more meaning in life. You have someone to care for, you have a partner for life and you want to keep it that way.
You get married because you love each other, and it is a responsibility to be married. You can’t run away if something goes wrong, you need to stay and sort it out.
We were born and raised during World War 2. There was fighting and death all around us, so we learned to really value life in our own way, based on these experiences. Maybe it’s because we were raised having very little, but we were every grateful for what we had.”
Annemarie: “When my father went to war my mother had to cope. They brought us up to understand that you don’t run when something goes wrong, you stay and you sort it out. You don’t get married for the sake of marriage, you love the person when you get married and you work through the tough times.
During the war, I would help people in the community and one of the neighbours would sometimes give me one sweet. My mother would cut that sweet into five pieces for me and my siblings, but than one sweet was a great pleasure, and sharing was a great pleasure too.”
“Sometimes people are just not compatible. We understand that. But also don’t give in too easily, and do your very best to sort things out. At the start you will not be entirely compatible, but this will come in time. Give it time.
Accept the choices you made. We all make choices, some work and some don’t. If you feel you chose a partner who you are not compatible with, go back to the reason you chose them. Maybe find a different way to work with your partner and to deal with troubles and tension. You can only grow as a person."
What advice would you give people about to get married?
“All we can tell you is what worked for our marriage. We have had our ups and downs, but we still love each other today."
- Compatibility – marry the right person with whom you have things in common.
- Have tolerance and patience – these are important in a happy marriage. You must have patience and tolerance for each other and believe in each other.
- Don’t ask for perfection - nothing is perfect, including your marriage and your partner. Don’t expect them or yourself to be perfect.
- Communication – talk to one another and work your differences out. Never go to bed with an unresolved argument. This has been one of our most important agreements.
- Enjoy time at home – have plenty of time at home to develop routines that you and your partner can enjoy. Today there are too many third party distractions. Discuss them and sort these out together. The grass is not greener on the other side.
- On parenting - you must agree and unite on issues, because children are crafty. They will play parents off each other and unknowingly cause problems in the marriage.
How does home care help Annemarie and John today?
Annemarie: “I like doing things at home like gardening, sewing, and lots of cooking. I enjoy growing vegetables and I need help with this.
home care assists us to stay active and do what we like. We are certainly not ready for residential care and hopefully will not ever need that.
We are happy with St Louis home care. We know we have help and that someone is there when we need them. We are going to a craft day that St Louis have organised. I enjoy craft groups – sewing, knitting, crochet, painting.
Lisa takes me out for a cup of coffee because we can’t go out as a group due to COVID. We have a lovely chat. She’s wonderful. Our cleaner and gardener are all wonderful people too.”
John: “I have mobility issues but I keep as active as I can. I bought an exercise bike through my home care package and it helps me stay fit. I keep my mind active on computers, I like making videos. I have many old home movies that I enjoy making into stories that we can leave behind for our family.
We both enjoy walking and social outings and we get involved in St Louis’ social programs. We love the bus tours and coffee stops along the way.
I am very happy with St Louis. We’re comfortable at home, we have everything we need at home to remain here and we’d like to keep it this way.”
St Louis home care helps you and your partner stay at home comfortably for longer - Victor Harbor and the wider Fleurieu Peninsula
Are you concerned about growing older with your partner or spouse and unsure of the future? Have a chat with our home care team about how home care can help both of you remain comfortably at home. The home care team in Victor Harbor is located in town at 31 Victoria Street. When COVID restrictions ease, the office is open during business hours every week day and you are welcome to drop by for a cuppa and a chat about your home care options. You may also like to consider respite care for yourself or a loved one at St Louis on Sea. Give us a call on 8552 1481.