This is proof that persistence pays off. For the past four decades, Colin Jones, 74, has been asking his longtime partner, Pauline Young, 72, to marry him. Without fail, Young has always turned down his proposals, though the couple has been dating since 1976 and share five children between them from their previous marriages.
The longtime lovebirds have worked and lived together since they first started dating after meeting at a playgroup their children were attending, so it’s unclear why Young resisted the idea of Holy Matrimony for so long. Late last year, however, life circumstances caused Young to have a change of heart, and she turned the tables and proposed to Jones.
“When Pauline asked me, I almost fell off the bed,” Jones told Yahoo! News. “I’d been asking her all this time so now she was asking me, I said, ‘Of course I will.’ … I had given up all hope of us getting married. I thought it would never ever happen.”
For the past 30 or so years, Jones and Young ran a cabinet-making business together aptly called Young Jones, based in Powys, Wales. They more recently moved to Gozo, Malta, about 14 years ago, in order to run a bed and breakfast together.
Tragedy struck, however, when Young was diagnosed with a rare neurological condition called corticobasal degeneration and had to move into a care home in Telford, England. Corticobasal degeneration results in slower movements and tremors within those affected by it. As a result, the couple have lived apart for the past three years, with Jones staying behind in Malta to tend to the bed and breakfast. He would visit Young every two weeks.
“People say they’ve been together years but really they have maybe an hour before work and then they see each other in the evenings—we were always together,” Jones said. “When we saw each other it was instant, we fell in love—hook, line, and sinker. The magic of life allows you to meet people like Pauline.”
During one of his visits to see Young this past December, she surprised Jones with a proposal. He of course said yes, and the pair married on Valentine’s Day in a blessing ceremony (which is not legally recognized as a marriage) at the St. George’s Methodist Church in Telford. Both Jones and Young put on their best clothes and Young’s wheelchair was decorated with flowers for the occasion.
“It was a real mix of emotions: I was surprise, I was worried,” Jones said. “But we gradually worked through it and now here we are. The service was a blessing ceremony, but as far as we’re concerned it’s a marriage, it’s a show of love. … Our marriage was a combination of our 43 years together.”