All this couple need is love

Cookie and Bill Lees
Cookie and Bill Lees
Love, humility and trust are the secrets to Cookie and Bill Lees 60-year marriage.   				        Photo: BELINDA SOOLE.

Love, humility and trust are the secrets to Cookie and Bill Lees 60-year marriage. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE.

LOVE, humility and trust are the glue which strongly held the marriage of Cookie and Bill Lees for 60 loving years.

Mr and Mrs Lees joyfully celebrated their diamond anniversary at their home yesterday.

Mrs Lees said she went to school with her husband's sister in Sydney and only met him once before beginning a friendship.

They met together when he was a jackaroo on a Trangie-district property and they went out a few times.

Mr Lees proposed after a tennis game and without hesitation she agreed to marry him.

"After I met him for the second time, we both knew we were meant for each other," she said.

"It's funny, you go through life and wonder how you'll find the right person but when you find them it just happens."

Mrs Lees said she saw in the man who would become her soul mate a lovely, honest, nice person and most of all a loving heart.

"He was someone who I could rely on who was always there for me, nice to talk to and fun to be with," he said.

"When you like someone it all seems to come together perfectly."

On January 2, 1953 they tied the knot at Holy Trinity Church in Dubbo.

The newly married couple started out with nothing and worked hard to earn a living.

It was Mr Lees' dream to own a property and for 20 years they owned a mixed farming and stud sheep farm near Coonabarabran.

In 1971 they moved from a quiet small country town to a busy jam-packed Indian city for two years. Mr Lees had been offered a job with The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and his job was to teach Indians best practice on the farm.

"Whatever we did, we did together as we had no family," she said.

"That's what made it a wonderful marriage, you're always with each other and work together all the time. It makes a big difference."

Most of the time-saving machinery used on the Indian farms was imported and it made the locals' lives easier and more efficient using them, she said.

Mrs Lees said her husband had a belief he would leave the farms. which he worked on, in a better condition than when he had first arrived there.

Initially the culture shock and the move from a country town to a city of millions with "shocking traffic" was hard to deal but after a while they thoroughly enjoyed their time.

The Daily Liberal asked what was the secret for the successful marriage which lasted for 60 years.

"You need to talk about things, be ready to compromise and not insist on always being right," Mrs Lees said.

One of the highlights of their long and fruitful years together was a trip to China on a cargo boat with stud sheep in the 1970s.

Mrs Lees said her husband was working for Dalgety livestock exports and they were transporting the Australian sheep to China and he asked if she would join him on the journey. Together they looked after and fed the sheep for the 18-and-a-half day trip.

"I never wanted to go on the ocean as I was scared of drowning and at the time China was very communist [country] and I never wanted to go," she said.

"Both things I didn't want to do I did at the one time."

Mrs Lees said she put aside her personal wants because she loved and trusted her husband and wanted to be with him.

Her advice to newly married couples and those wanting to enjoy a fruitful and long-lasting marriage was, to give and take on both sides.

"When people have arguments today they are too quick to make a decision and don't sit and work it out," she said. "You need to talk to each other and trust and understand one another."


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