When you’re a kid, you plan your life out as an astronaut. When you’re a teenager you plan it out as a rockstar. When you get out of high school – with a lot more experience and a little more realism – you plan on getting a good job, meeting someone nice, and making a life for yourself.

Somewhere along the way, you realise that life has happened while you were making other plans. And sometimes that life isn’t what you’d expect, but what you’ve always wanted.

Julie is four years older than Bobby, and never wanted a boyfriend. She’d moved to Narrabri at 16 and had a disastrous relationship, coming back to Gunnedah 3 years later.

The couple didn’t really know each other, as Julie finished high school when Bobby started. When she moved back to town, he used to come into the café where she worked and chat her up.

After ending up at a party together, Bobby fell asleep in Julie’s lap, telling her he was going to marry her. At all of not-quite-18, this was a pretty bolshy statement, and Julie, older and more mature, was having nothing of it, laughing it off.

A few years later they had a brief fling and went their separate ways, possibly never to see each other again. But we all know that sometimes the universe has other plans.

Bobby moved to Mudgee and worked in meatworks and abattoirs, then onto Sydney. He was in a relationship by this time and had two boys with his partner. Not long after making it to the big city they split up, after nine years together.

Licking his wounds, he went home to his parents place in Port Macquarie and settled down there for over 10 years.

Much to his disappointment in himself, he went back to his ex, and they lasted not quite 3 years. He had his heart broken again, as well as being pulled into a mountain of debt.

Pulling himself together, he moved to Wauchope, near Port Macquarie, which was again closer to his family, and started to get his life back together. About 6 months in, his family decided as a group that they were all moving back to Gunnedah, and Bobby followed suit.

In all this time, he and Julie had no contact. They may have remembered each other, but it was as if from another lifetime entirely.

Julie had her own life and loves in this time, just as Bobby had, but after she moved back to Gunnedah, she swore she’d never have another boyfriend. In all this time, she’d never married. No one had ever asked her. And with past experiences, it sounds like she wasn’t that keen should someone have asked anyway!

Again, life is funny and surprising, and you can never really tell what’s waiting around the corner for you.

One night, Bobby saw Julie at the pub then contacted her via social media. Suddenly, easily, they were continuing on as they had all those years ago, like their lives were meant to be going in the same direction. “It was there. Instant connection” Bobby says.

“Like we’re soulmates or something. (After) you live your separate lives, you accept each other’s pasts and move on, live your life together” Julie adds.

The couple have been together for 3 years now, and the biggest surprise for them, after reuniting and finding the connection still so strong, was yet to come.

Marriage wasn’t exactly a big drawcard for Julie. Men had never really been the good guys in her life, and she preferred them as an accessory rather than a constant.

Bobby, on the other hand, knew that he wanted this woman in his life always. It meant something that they were together again now, after all these years. And he had a big plan.

Originally, he was going to wait until Julie’s 50th, but his son Jack was turning 21 in the September, and Bobby had already bought the ring. What better place to declare his love and pop the big question, than in front of all their family and friends?

He’d left the ring at his Mum’s and said to her that he thought that night would be the night. With both his sons, Jack and Tom, as well as Julie’s family, all there, he put it all out there.

“Jules, I’ve got something I want to ask you”, Julie recalls he said, surprise in her voice. She’d had no idea he was even thinking this way, let alone had bought her the most beautiful ring.

With the whole group in tears – not just Julie herself – she said yes straight away, because, she says simply, “I love him”.

Ah, what we wouldn’t do for love!

The couple have much to adore about each other, but also take their partner with the both the good and bad.

“He’s not really romantic” Julie says giggling, but the things she loves most about him are “his personality, his heart – he’s got a good heart, and respect”.

“Not much I don’t like about him. I don’t like being woken up early in the morning!” she continues, cackling, “I’m not a morning person!”.

Bobby follows up with all the things he loves most about Julie, saying “Her personality, her heart, and just how generous she is”. This big-heartedness and her generosity are things Julie is quite well-known for by anyone you talk to, which make Bobby a very lucky man!

Chuckling, he says how he doesn’t like that she won’t wake up early in the morning, but that he only really doesn’t like how she makes him do work on his days off, and not letting him have a day off when he wants.

It’s clear to see the couple have found an easy, but strong, alliance together and at their age you either choose to be happy or choose not to. For them, it seems like a simple equation.

On February 24th, they will tie the knot in a lovely little ceremony on the riverbank in Gunnedah, where it began all those years ago. Though not off on a honeymoon immediately after, they are having a reception at the greyhound racetrack.

Julie and Bobby already live together; he moved into her home of 18 years and they have already started creating their life as a married couple.

What will change after they get married? “I told Bobby I was going to quit work and live off his wage” Julie chortles, “but I wouldn’t do that”

Becoming serious though, she says that it’s different from all her other relationships, that now she has someone to live for. “Live for each other and respect each other and live in a partnership, instead of just living for yourself”. Bobby firmly agrees.

The duo both acknowledge that what keeps thing going in the long term are things like respecting each other and love. “Feeling like soul partners and being able to read each other before something happens” Julie affirms.

For Bobby, it’s about trust. “With me, it’s the first relationship where I’ve been able to fully, 100% trust someone… In the past, I’ve had my doubts, but not with Julie”. He knows he can take her at her word, and that’s deeply important to him.

For the soon-to-be-newlyweds, there are some exciting plans that they’ve already started the first steps towards. They plan to eventually to get to their honeymoon; a lovely high-rise apartment in Surfers Paradise, and maybe a trip to the zoo.

On their return, they are going to start saving all the money they can; recently having given up smoking via hypnosis, they both realise how much of this cash could be put towards better things; like a home for them to settle into for their new life.

“We want to get healthy and invest in something” Julie says thoughtfully. Gesturing to their peaceful surroundings, she expands, “Imagine having this as your backyard. Wouldn’t that be nice?”.

It certainly sounds like a wonderful idea from here, and we wish these two lovebirds all those dreams come true!

Laura Meade, Jan 2018