Friendship the key to marriage
By Siobhan Reeves
“IT was love at first sight,” Pat Nolen says when reflecting on the moment she met her husband Laurie at a Young Christian Workers meeting in 1948.
The Kambah couple celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on December 30 last year, commemorating the day they exchanged vows in the presence of Fr John Hanrahan at Sts Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church in Tocumwal, NSW.
During Mass on January 2 at St Thomas the Apostle Church in Kambah – where the Nolens have been parishioners for 40 years – Fr Peter My gave the couple a special blessing in honour of their remarkable milestone.
After spending several years living in the Riverina region, where Laurie worked for various offices of the Postmaster-General’s Department, Pat and Laurie moved to Canberra in 1974, settling in Kambah. The couple have two sons, Phillip and Mark, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Aside from their involvement in their local parish over the years, Pat and Laurie have also been active members of the St Vincent de Paul Society, with Laurie completing 62 years of service before his retirement.
For the Nolens, the secrets to a good marriage are communication and friendship.
Laurie’s advice is to always discuss problems when they arise and learn to listen, while Pat notes that when you are tempted to pick on your spouse’s flaws, remember your own flaws first. Perhaps most importantly, they say husbands and wives should be truly best friends.
“You have to be real friends to live together so long,” Pat says.
Their marriage is also grounded in their Catholic faith. “If you ever have any problems, ask Our Lady and she will help you,” Laurie says.
While Pat believes questions and challenges are part of the journey, her hope and trust in God is unshakeable.
“We invited the Lord in, in the first place, and we are happy to stay with him forever,” she says.