They may argue about arguing, but 70 years on Jean and Ron Browne are still very much together and banter to their heart's content!
Jean, 92, and Ron, 97, will celebrate their platinum 70th wedding anniversary this week at the Mount Maunganui RSA.
It's fitting, as an RSA is where this love story began in Silverstream more than 70 years ago.
'The first time we met was at the RSA. I worked in a shop and I had to be home by 9pm and I had to catch the bus at 8.45pm – so when I left work, I ran to the RSA and had a dance,” says Jean.
'[Ron] asked me for a dance and he said I turned him down. But I say I couldn't have because my father taught me never to turn anybody down dancing unless they're drunk.”
'I don't think I was drunk when I met her,” says Ron. Even if some of the details are blurry, Ron and Jean were married two years later on the 16th of May 1953 in a Presbyterian church in Upper Hutt.
Two homes, one love
During their 70 years of marital bliss, Jean and Ron have only ever lived in two homes. A farm house in Te Poi, and their home of the last 30 years nestled along Ocean Beach Rd with stunning sea views.
Ron and Jean Browne cutting their wedding cake in 1953. Photo: Supplied.
During their Te Poi days, they had three children, Annette, Mark and Andrew.
'Ron was a J Force and he got a rehab farm. We farmed in Te Poi for 42 years, which is where we went from our wedding day to the farm,” says Jean.
'And we've been working ever since,” says Ron.
'I have. I don't know about you,” quips back Jean.
Of course I had to ask Jean and Ron the classic question. What's the key to a lasting marriage like theirs?
'Arguing!” says Jean with a laugh. 'We have our differences in opinions.”
'I would say understanding actually. Trust and understanding coming together I think,” says Ron.
'I don't believe anybody could go through 70 years and not have an argument. That's just silly isn't it?” questions Jean.
'I can't remember having an argument,” says Ron.
'Don't you darling? Oh that's good!”
And there we have it, 70 years married and this tongue-in-cheek pair are arguing about whether they argue!
The mushy stuff
On the romantic side of things, Jean asks Ron if he loves her?
'Well, yeah, I wouldn't be here if I didn't,” answers Ron. 'You don't take my Jeanie for granted.”
And for Jean?
'He's lovely. Quiet but I love him.”
She says their 70 years together has been 'pretty good”.
'It was contentment. We helped each other with things.”
Jean and Ron Browne with their wedding photo from 1953. Photo: Georgia Minkhorst.
Ron says: 'She's a better golfer than I was. That's the only resentment I have.”
I deduced that Ron misheard contentment, but close enough!
Ron says he and Jean still have a few more years left together but Jean isn't so keen.
'Ron said to his doctor: ‘I want to live to 100', and I said: ‘I'm sorry darling but I don't want to look after you for two more years'…you're allowed tough love aren't you?”
'I get organised by women all my life,” says Ron.
Jean asks her hubby: 'How would you get on if I wasn't here?”
He replies: 'I'd most likely be dead.”
'When you say you've had a good life, you've had a good marriage,” says Ron.