How time flies when you’re having fun. A mere 32 years ago I married Trish, whom I had met for the first time a bare 10 months earlier.

When you fall in love with someone you imagine somehow you’ll live happily ever afterwards. Life doesn’t work like that. We have been through some pain since then, but also a lot of joy.

Quite a few of the guests at our wedding are dead now, including Trish’s parents and three of her sisters, and my dad, aunt and grandmother. Some couples split up.

The saddest loss of all was someone not present then, our son Alan. He was born with spina bifida & hydrocephalus, a beautiful little boy whose short life was blighted with illness and hospitalisation. His struggle really tested the bonds of our marriage, but we came out the other side a lot stronger.

In my darkest, darkest days before Trish’s arrival I had wondered if there was any girl who would want to marry me? My mum used to always say there’s a girl out there for you, but I didn’t believe her. I should have known better than to doubt my mother.

Trish and I make the best team. We have always put the kids first. Being blessed with Daire and Sarah Jane, watching them grow up and succeed in life, has been an amazing experience. Trish did a great job in giving them the right grounding. She has also been patient in putting up with me, probably the biggest kid around!

When you live with someone for 32 years there are bound to be occasions when sparks fly – and I don’t mean the romantic kind. There were certainly a few of those, especially in the early years. We didn’t have the luxury of too much time together before Daire arrived. After that, Alan and Sarah Jane came along in quick succession. It was mad, chaotic, infuriating, sad – incredibly sad. There was also love, lots of it. However, you can either grow into marriage or drift apart, and I’m happy to say we chose the former.

So today I’d like to say thanks to Trish for being such a big part in my life, for her love, generosity, her willingness to laugh at my poor jokes. I could list my other faults but it would take too long. I honestly don’t know how she puts up with me, but she does, and for that I am extremely fortunate.

So here’s to many more years of happiness for Trish and I. May our troubles be very small.