46 years of marriage and just as in love as ever – Jack and Von Ryan.
46 years of marriage and just as in love as ever – Jack and Von Ryan. Mike Richards GLAJACK

True love means never having secrets

IT'S love to last a lifetime. Jack and Von Ryan have been married for 46 years and they say old-school romance like theirs is not easily found.

Jack's cousin married Von's best friend. So the best friend and the best man hit it off.

"We just seemed to click," Von said.

"We were both shy and didn't say too much and Jack didn't wear his heart on his sleeve, but it seemed to work in our favour."

Jack was a stockman who worked out in Builyan and Von a ribbon factory worker, who, from the age of 14, was in an office in Toowoomba. It was four hours travelling time between them, but letters and once-a-month visits kept the spark bright.

They courted for 18 months.

"We lived too far away from each other. I decided we had to get married," Jack said.

One night after the pictures, Jack proposed to Von over hamburgers. In true cheeky form, Von said "no" as a joke to get Jack's heart racing, before accepting.

"I wooed her at the movies and of course she said yes - I'm a bloody good man," Jack said.

"She still keeps me on my toes and still says 'no' sometimes."

The pair was married on August 10, 1968, at St Patrick's Church in Toowoomba, and Von joined Jack in Builyan.

Von was 26 and Jack, 27. Together they had three children - Darryn, Shaun and Tony - who now have children of their own.

"We love being grandparents to Matthew, Haylie and Declan. There was a huge gap between us having kids and then the grandchildren coming along, so it's lovely seeing them and even better that we get to give them back," Von said.

Jack and Von have lived on the cattle property that came with Jack's job for most of their married life. Each year since the children were born, the pair would travel with a caravan to Hervey Bay. When they aren't travelling, they still work together on their cattle property in Builyan.

For people around them, seeing the couple's 46-year commitment to each other has been a treat and they are always happy to share their secrets to a successful marriage.

"You need to communicate and always be there for one another," Von said.

"What the younger generations don't do is sort out issues on their own. It's your own life and you can't go running back to mum and dad when things get tough.

"Like Von, she had nowhere to run," Jack joked.

"You need to trust one another, have no secrets and make decisions as a couple."