SOUTHERN DOWNS SOULMATES: These couples have battled it all to be together. CREDIT: Everlast Studios.
SOUTHERN DOWNS SOULMATES: These couples have battled it all to be together. CREDIT: Everlast Studios.

TOP 5: Stories that will make you believe in soulmates

Even for the most devoted couples, Valentine's Day can be a daunting countdown and it can be difficult to know when you've found "the one".

Here's how five Southern Downs couples knew they were meant-to-be.

 

63 YEARS STRONG: Joy and John Telfer say support is number one in their relationship.
63 YEARS STRONG: Joy and John Telfer say support is number one in their relationship.

 

John and Joy Telfer

IT WAS the rush decision the pair haven't regretted in over 60 years of marriage.

Both met when they were posted in the Royal Australian Air Force base in Laverton in Victoria.

John was only 17 and Joy was 18 when they fell head over heels.

"She was the older woman. I always tell her she seduced me," John laughs.

When John was unexpectedly posted to Lake Macquarie they were left with two choices, to marry or risk never seeing each other again.

The pair gambled on the former and three children and six grandchildren later, they're still finding new things to bond about.

"We respect the academic side of each other," John said.

"My wife has a vocabulary like the Oxford dictionary.

"Just knowing that whatever I do she'll

support it, whether she likes it or not, is enough."

 

INSEPARABLE: Di and John Ryan say the key is growing together.
INSEPARABLE: Di and John Ryan say the key is growing together.

 

John and Di Ryan

DI AND John Ryan met on a railway station 36 years ago.

John spent three months trying to get back to Di, and a year later, they were married.

"I knew pretty much straight away (he was the one)," Di said.

"As they said at our wedding, we are inseparable."

Raising an impressive troop of six kids and nine grandkids had brought a new joy to the pair's life too.

"Sometimes it's hard but very rewarding and wonderful to have all the kids," Di said.

"It always changing, but you have to communicate so you can keep growing and changing with it."

Two and a half years ago when Di's dad died, John also became her rock. 

"He's the other half of me - that's all there is to it."

 

NO OTHER CHOICE: Billie. 1, Jodie, Mark, and Carter, 4, Hughes work through problems as a family.
NO OTHER CHOICE: Billie. 1, Jodie, Mark, and Carter, 4, Hughes work through problems as a family.

 

Mark and Jodie Hughes

ON MARK and Jodie Hughes' first date they joked they were destined to fall in love.

"We both grew up in area but didn't necessarily know each other, and we just started talking on Facebook," Jodie said.

"He decided to ask me out to Coffee Club and their meal of the day was heart shaped chicken schnitzels and we said 'oh well it must be meant to be'.

Surprising their family and friends with a secret elopement late last year, not much has changed for the couple who have two kids.

"I saw her as a great mum," Mark said.

"There wasn't any other choice really. It was her." 

 

MEANT TO BE: Mike and Ann Bourke from Jester Hill Wines take the ups with the downs.
MEANT TO BE: Mike and Ann Bourke from Jester Hill Wines take the ups with the downs.

 

Mick and Ann Bourke

Ann was Mick's boss when the pair first met, but he knew almost immediately he wanted more.

"The first time I saw her sparks flew for me," he said.

It wasn't until a kiss at Mick's gig that Ann began to feel the same way.

"He played sax in a band and had this ridiculously long ponytail," Ann said.

"But it was one of those that was meant to be."

The pair took the biggest leap of their relationship when they bought Jester Hill Wines together in 2010.

Battling through drought and blended families, the obstacles only made them closer, they said.

"She puts our relationship before herself every time," Mike said.

"We would have barely survived without her."

"It is funny with all the ups and downs we have never once regretted the decision to do what we have done," Ann said.

 

NO REGRETS: Cecil and Izelle Barnard conquered time zones for their love. .
NO REGRETS: Cecil and Izelle Barnard conquered time zones for their love. .

 

Izelle and Cecil Barnard

FINDING true love can sometimes take crossing continents, as Izelle and Cecil Barnard found out.

The pair started out as friends in a South African writer's group but on her first trip to Australia, Izelle had an inkling it would soon be more.

"We got to know each other a lot better and I thought I really like him, maybe a little bit more than a friend," Izelle said.

The pair dated long distance before Izelle moved her and her two daughters out to the Southern Downs.

"Getting married a second time is difficult enough for most, but when you're also immigrating with two teenagers, you have your work cut out for you," she said.

But seeing Cecil take on the role of stepfather had only made Izelle more in love with her husband.

"I'm really lucky I really love him," she said.

"I have not regretted the entire adventure for one minute of my life."



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