Love Through the Ages: Teya and Val
In our “Love Through The Ages” series, we’re setting aside the checklists, spreadsheets, and anticipation of wedding planning in order to dive deep into what love looks like beyond the proposal. Because love isn’t an event. It’s something we embody each day. And being in love is never static; together it requires solving your dreams, not just trusting them.
To get to the bottom of how a lasting partnership shapes and builds a couple, we’re chatting with people at all stages of marriage to get to know their stories. Last time we spoke with Mary and Martin, husband and wife for 52 years who have never been afraid to put hard work into their relationship. This time, we roll back the clock and speak with Teya and Val, a long-term couple who’ve spent the last several years navigating the unique learning curve of raising two sons.
Love is a doing word. You have to actively participate in it, make it happen, feed it, show it, speak it up.
Before getting married in 2011, Teya and Val met 17 years ago online. “Like the true millennials we are!” Teya jokes.
Ironically, a misunderstanding initially led Teya to getting in touch. Teya says that Val’s profile made it seem like he was Irish (he’s not!) but, having loved Ireland for as long as she can remember, she went for it. “And it turned out to be a sign indeed because a few years later he proposed on a vast moon-lit beach on the West Irish coast”.
When asked if on their wedding day they were able to imagine what a decade of marriage would come to mean, the couple says that despite being complete beginners they were both “very full of certainty and hope that it was the right thing to do”.
It’s important to accept that no one gets through life without hardship and uncertainty, but when a couple can fall back on their passion and enthusiasm for each other you’re able to build an invaluable shared resilience.
“Marriage is so much more than your wedding day,” they agree. “It’s growing up together and witnessing each other’s highs and lows.”
When reflecting on the highs of their relationship, far and away the greatest joy has been the birth of their sons. But these two have also learned that parenting is all about maintaining balances, which is why they set apart time once a year to get away. “It’s when we manage to catch up with each other,” Teya says, “without being mum and dad, just the two of us.”
What advice do you have for newlyweds?
Val and Teya agree that “practicing acceptance” is at the heart of bonding with your partner. But crucially, “that begins with accepting your own limitations and weaknesses first.”
Having an awareness of the areas where you need help and support is what makes it possible to depend on your partner while never taking away each other’s freedom or space to grow and develop independently, Teya explains.
“Love is a doing word,” she says, “you have to actively participate in it, make it happen, feed it, show it, speak it up. This takes time and it’s never plain sailing, but it’s totally worth it”.