Tag Archive | Love

Ruby Romance

In May this year my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage which is an incredible 14600 days of matrimony. From that wonderful union they have 2 children and 2 grandchildren and they still love each other as much as they did on their wedding day. My brother and I clubbed together and bought them a garden companion seat with a celebratory plaque.


Sitting on their celebratory bench

What an achievement 40 years is in this day and age where people are all too quick to file for divorce. Marriage isn’t easy and has to be worked at but my parents are testament to it being possible for love to last a lifetime.

How different the world was in 1976 when they married. Technology which we now take for granted was in its absolute infancy. Can you imagine a time when you couldn’t just google the answer to any question that popped into your head and you had to wait in at home if you were expecting someone to call you? 1976 saw Ford release the first Fiesta which was to become in 2014 the UK’s bestselling car, Concorde did its first commercial flight, England won Eurovision and number 1 the week of my parents’ marriage was ‘Silly Love Songs’ by Wings.

Traditionally the 40th wedding anniversary is referred to as the Ruby anniversary. This association is because the ruby is believed to have an eternal inner flame which glows brighter each year just like the passion and love in a marriage.

My parents decided this landmark was worthy of a big celebration so my Mum and I set about planning an event akin to a small wedding reception. Dinner was held at a golf club for family and friends with a DJ after. We decided on a theme of travel which may seem ironic to those of you who know my Dad well as he hates holidays. However I thought the travel theme was appropriate in more of a metaphorical way because of the journey they have made together through 40 years of marriage.

An old suitcase was used for the table plan and we hung a luggage tag for each table’s guests inside. Each table was named after somewhere my parents had visited together – thank goodness we didn’t have more than 5 tables or we would have been stuck on locations with their limited holidays! The table name was stuck on a cut out of a suitcase and a photo of them in the place put on the back. Place name cards featured a suitcase logo. The centre piece of each table was a single red rose – a symbol used to denote total devotion to one person.





I made up favours for the tables which were love hearts in a ruby coloured organza bag and I made a cake for them with a photo of them cutting their wedding cake on the top.


For the event I wore a dress from Coast, similar to the style of my bridesmaid’s dress at my wedding and reddish/pink in colour to tie in with the ruby theme. I accessorized with some silver diamanté sandals which I got in John Lewis when I was a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding (see I do wear some shoes more than once!) I also had this gorgeous fan shaped metal clutch with a 1920’s art deco feel to it. I got this from Vintage Styler.  I added a red butterfly clip in my hair.




At the entrance Mum decorated a small table with old photos from the day, decorations from the wedding cake, along with her garter, which was her something blue, blue being seen as a colour representative of constancy and loyalty; and other trinkets hooked over her arm on the day including a horse shoe and a rolling pin. The rolling pin would have been seen as something useful to give a wife so she could make meals for her husband (often a wooden spoon traditionally rather than a rolling pin) and a horseshoe for good luck going back to the 10th century when horseshoes were used to mark the door of Christians thus protecting them from the devil. Many wedding customs are the same today although the gifts hooked over a brides arm are not so common nowadays – I know I didn’t receive any at my wedding.


My Dad gave a wonderful speech which detailed how they met as a blind date and how he had always loved her and the speech ended with him presenting her with a ruby ring. I also gave a short speech which included a poem which my uncle composed music to and sang at the wedding but unfortunately he was unable to make the party for a second performance of it. The poem is called ‘The Life that I Have’ and was originally written by Leo Marks in 1943 for his girlfriend who had recently been killed in a plane crash. It was used as Poem code during the Second World War. It was common for secret messages to be passed using a poem as code but was proving unreliable as the enemy could find the original source of the poem – Marks got around this by using his own creations. The poem was famously used in the film ‘Carve her Name with Pride’.

A fantastic evening was had by all and it was beautiful to see Mum and Dad dance once again to their first song from their wedding ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing.’

The month of May also saw my husband and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Cotton is the symbol given to the second anniversary symbolic of the couple becoming closer and their lives becoming more intertwined. It is also said to represent the couple learning to be flexible and adapt to each other’s needs as cotton is both strong and soft. I bought him a shirt – which he wore to Mum and Dad’s do and some cotton trousers. He bought me a cotton vintage quilt I had fallen in love with from the shop Kiss Kiss Heart in Rochester. We celebrated with a trip to Port Lympne Safari park (one of our early dates) and a curry in a new Indian restaurant in Rainham.


My gorgeous quilt

Two years has flown by and I’m sure the next 38 will too. I hope we can be as happy at 40 years as my Mum and Dad obviously are.

40th joint pic


Does Romance have to end with I do?

Congratulations, you’ve made it down the aisle and can now live happily ever after? Apparently not with latest figures showing 42% of marriages end in divorce.  Only having been married myself just shy of 2 years, I do not proclaim to be an expert but I do feel that in some cases people are not willing to work at a marriage, perhaps indicative of our throw-away society.

Of granted legal divorces, statistics suggest unreasonable behaviour is a more common reason for divorce than adultery.  Now unreasonable behaviour of course encompasses a diverse range of things but we all know that after a few years, it’s easy to become comfortable and therefore complacent.  If either partner feels neglected and or taken for granted, resentment can fester which ultimately may lead to separation.  As Carrie says in Sex and the City, you need that ‘sparkle’.


Romance, as a verb is defined in the dictionary as try to gain the love of; court and as a noun, a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

To some degree romance has become far less common place in dating with the advent of online dating and apps like tinder, people treat the actual date in the same casual way.  Romance is also linked to chivalry which means courtesy to women and has seen a great downturn, in part due to feminism.  Men are now frightened to give up their seat for a woman or hold a door open through fear of being accused of sexism.

When we first meet someone special, we are all about making a good first impression and this usually involves plenty of romantic gestures fulfilling the verb definition of the word.  Now I’m not talking about the stuff of Romeo and Juliet, nor am I talking spending obscene amounts of money – romance is surely just taking the time to show one another that you care.  Sometimes this can be the smallest of things, like when I was ill and my husband spontaneously went down to Costa to get me a latte.

Romance has long been viewed as something a man does for a woman – however in these days of equal opportunity – do men not have a right to expect some romance in return?  Do men really appreciate romance though?  I bought my husband a watch when we had been dating for 2 years and had it engraved with a quote from Love Letters of Great Men.  Does he wear that watch?  The answer is very rarely.

Romance of course means something different to each individual but most of my friends agreed that whatever the gesture is from doing the chores to writing a note on a steamed up mirror to buying a thoughtful gift – it is the thought that counts.  It’s the fact that your partner has picked up on your feelings and surprised you with something that shows that; romance as a noun.

I recently read a book by Gary Chapman The Five Love Languages which opened my eyes to the fact that romance is not a case of one size fits all.  The book talks of the fundamental need to feel loved and suggests we all have a love tank that needs to be kept full, just like a car needs petrol.  It goes on to describe five different ways of filling that love tank; affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time and physical touch.  The book suggests that each of us have a primary language of love and unless our partner speaks in that language, your love tank won’t be filled.  To put it simply it may be that your husband thinks by bestowing expensive gifts on you, he is showing how much you mean to him when you might be crying out for quality time with him.  Often we will show love in the way that we like to receive it.

I think my language is affirmation and this is probably because it’s the way my parents always showed me love; hence not a day goes by when I don’t tell my husband I love him whereas I would like him to tell me more and compliment me when I have made an effort.  He on the other hand I believe has a language of acts of service as this is how he often tries to show love to me; as in how he worked hard to make the bathroom in our new home, the perfect bathroom for me.  Now I’m not saying I don’t appreciate these sorts of gestures but affirmation definitely makes me feel more loved.

Old bathroom

Bathroom as it was when we moved in

New bathroom

My new ideal bathroom

BIBA towels

The Biba towels really set it off a treat!

In conclusion from a quick straw poll of my friends it would appear that romance is a big part of a successful marriage, whatever form that romance may take.  We all need to work at keeping the flame of love burning and not take each other for granted. Perhaps have a date night, buy a thoughtful gift or just compliment your other half – we all have that need to feel loved.  It is that excitement and mystery that sustains that feeling of love you had for each other when you first met.

I’d love to hear your views on romance in marriage – is Gary Chapman right that we all have a primary love language?