50-year pair drawn together
It was somewhere on the road between Kelly Tarltons and the Parnell Baths that Doug and Ruth Astley realised they were meant for each other.
The Waikowhai couple, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on April 18, say that drive back from Doug’s family home after a meal was the mutual turning point in the relationship when they decided they wanted to marry each other.
“I thought: ‘ I’m going to marry this guy’,” says Ruth.
It wasn’t until later in their marriage that they realised both had the revelation at the same time.
They followed their instincts and half a century on are still happily married.
The couple met at a business meeting and their eyes met across the crowded room.
“He had a lot to say for himself and I wondered what made him tick,” says Ruth.
They began dating and had a relatively short courtship, marrying when Doug was 27 and Ruth was 25.
Both were already involved in community work with their churches and a range of other organisations and activities.
“We had fairly full lives, we had to fit each other into that. We gave up some of it to spend more time with each other,” says Doug.
He worked in the tannery business until he retired in 1989, while Ruth was a homemaker and looked after their three children.
After retiring, Doug became involved with local body politics and was an Auckland city councillor until 2001.
When he turned 70, he decided to step down from his council role but he is also a Justice of the Peace which keeps him busy, and is also involved in the Auckland Tramping Club.
Both are also involved with community work and their local church.
They believe their commitment to their marriage vows, their faith in God and Christian values and willingness to work through difficult times together has kept their marriage strong.
“It wasn’t just a physical attraction. We felt God particularly wanted us to be together,” says Doug.
The couple have 11 grand- children and celebrated their milestone in two celebrations with friends and family.
Granddaughter Jessica Rugg made them a scrapbook of their memories and photographs which guests signed.
Happy day: Doug and Ruth Astley on their wedding day in 1959.
Marriage milestone: Doug and Ruth Astley celebrated 50 years together.