FIFTY years ago next month my parents were walking up the aisle of Lydgate Unitarian Chapel and making their wedding vows.
And so, half a century later they will be marking this milestone with a party to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary for family and friends.
They have stuck together through thick and thin over the years and weathered the storm that many married couples do.
But during all those years their love for each other has shone through and they have survived the trials and tribulations of parenthood, redundancy, death and financial difficulties.
Golden wedding reports will, I am sure, become a thing of the past in the pages of the Examiner over the next few years.
If people do get married these years they don’t appear to be in it for the long haul, and believe you me, a long haul it is!
During the early 1990s one summer I attended something like five weddings including my own and was a bridesmaid once. All those marriages, except my own, have now sadly ended and many of those friends are on second marriages and relationships or even third.
I remember repeating my wedding vows with the lovely Rev Ian Jackson at St Paul’s Parish Church, Armitage Bridge and laughing afterwards at the way he enunciated the “for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” bit.
Years later the words still ring true and are just as relevant.
Chatting with a colleague in the office the other day, who has been married to the same man for a similar amount of time as myself and is a similar age, we agreed that married life if certainly no bed of roses.
She had attended the wedding of a young couple where the vicar had stressed that this was no fairytale and had to be worked at really hard to be a success.
We both said that “youngsters” seemed to be all too keen to throw in the towel on married life and seemed unable to realise that you needed to grow alongside your partner and not always expect domestic bliss. Hard work is often needed.
Although divorce rates are at a 32 year low there were still 126,496 divorces granted in 2009. This seems a huge number of break ups in society.
It got me thinking about tips which people give about surviving marriagehood. As a reporter I have interviewed many couples who have celebrated 50 and 60 years together.
Phrases like “give and take” “share and share alike” and never letting the sun go down on an argument have become commonplace.
But surely they remain as relevant today as in the 1950s and 60s. While trawling the internet I came across an article which suggested that modern couples might do well to emulate some of the strategies of their parents and grandparents.
“Old fashioned” practices could offer greater longevity, stability and ultimately the success of your marriage, they claim.
Tips include: reinstating civility – extending the same courtesy to your partner as you would a stranger; writing letters to each other, not just texting; sleeping separately if your partner keeps you awake rather than losing sleep; maintain same-sex friends and interests; look your best for yourself and your partner; don’t go to bed angry; hit the dance floor; give compliments; hold hands, cut back on complaints and try thoughtful little acts.
A cup of tea in bed once every while and making your spouses sandwiches may not be great things, but they soon add up. Neville has learned to accept that Joyce will never be a “morning person” and may take an hour or two to come round. Joyce knows Neville has a short fuse!
Well done mum and dad.