Could the secret to a long and happy marriage be volunteering?
Laura and Ray Goldsmith, who in January celebrated 52 years of marriage, have been volunteering together at Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) Wantirna op shop for around 14 years.
Spending time together is important to the pair – so volunteering together was a natural decision.
While Laura’s an expert at chatting to customers and keeping the store clean and tidy, Ray prefers to sort and place items for sale.
Opposite interests and personalities are what makes their marriage great, say the pair. In fact, it’s what drew them together in the first place!
Laura describes her first impressions of Ray as “quiet, tall, dark and handsome”, while Ray countered Laura was a “bouncy sort of girl…very outgoing and chatty!”
“Ray’s very shy, so if I hadn’t of proposed, I’d probably still be waiting!, Laura, 71, said.
Valentine’s Day came early for the pair on February 2, when they journeyed back to the location of their first blind date, Lake Eildon.
“We must have only had eyes for each other because we didn’t remember too much! Laura said of their trip.
Since that day back in 1965, the couple has built a happy life together; marrying just over a year after they first met, raising four children and settling into the family home in Wantirna.
Laura worked as an aged care nurse and Ray in the printing business before they retired. The couple still like to keep busy, Ray with his photography and Laura with her bingo and bike riding.
“Before I go out on my bike, Ray will check my tyres and mirrors. He keeps a good eye on my safety, and I make sure all his washing is back in the cupboard!”
More than five decades on, there’s still a lot of love and admiration between them.
“Ray is a very delightful, clever and caring man,” Laura said. “I call him Mr Magic because nearly anything that’s broken, he can fix.”
“And Laura encourages people to do things and gets them motivated… she keeps me on my toes!” Ray said.
And the all-important ‘secret’ to a long and happy marriage?
“I like to tell young people marriage is like a fine wine… it matures with age!” Laura said.
If you are interested in volunteering with Villa Maria Catholic Homes, call 1800 036 377.