Oliver Duff

i Editor's Letter: The new recipe for a successful marriage




Do we need to rethink the concept of “my other half”? In cheering news (page 17), psychologists have decreed that although divorce rates  have risen, so has the chance of finding personal fulfilment by sharing your life with a partner. In other words, the best marriages are better than they have ever been. The key to a lasting marriage in the 21st century, they conclude, is that it must allow both partners “the need for personal growth”.

I have an interest in this, being engaged to marry this June. (Hopefully Oxfordshire will have dried out  by then and we won’t have to canoe to the service.) We don’t like thinking of our relationship as “two halves make a whole”, as though we were incomplete humans before we met – a sentiment increasingly shared, I think, by other people roughly our age. (What’s your take?)

As well as adventures together, we have both gone off on our own trips. My partner is much braver than me. Although I recently went free-diving with some pretty lively sharks, she can easily one-up that: in the past couple of years, her job has taken her to the Central African Republic, Libya and South Sudan. When she phones with the latest dicey dispatch from her lodgings at a nunnery just down the track from Joseph Kony’s mob, I let admiration over-rule concern.


In a landmark moment in conservation, world leaders have pledged to tackle the £11.5bn-a-year  illegal wildlife trade. Our correspondent Sarah Morrison has the story on page 8. It’s been exciting to see your support for the Christmas appeal on elephants develop into a  political campaign delivering real results, followed by statesmen. We are tantalisingly close to raising a cool half a million pounds for the Elephant Appeal – money that goes straight to conservation work on the front line in East Africa. Donation forms and the petition can be found at: ind.pn/elephantappeal.


If you took part in yesterday’s quiz, the answers can be found on page 30. I scored 9 out of 10 for the “In the News” round, forgetting in which English county the oldest human footprints outside Africa were found. Colleagues have kindly fashioned me a dunce’s hat.


Twitter: @olyduff

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