WITH 65 years of marriage behind them, few are more qualified to offer relationship tips to sweethearts this Valentine's Day than Mervin and Betty Boughen.
The couple have their own story of fairytale romance, having grown up as neighbours in Rosewood before they started courting.
"We were neighbours on Walloon Rd, and it just sort of made sense for us to start courting," Mrs Boughen said.
"It just happened, we were family friends and we were a great match."
Mervin, 94, and Betty, 89, enjoyed a long engagement of five years before their marriage in the Old Congregational Church, Rosewood, on February 1, 1947.
"I was 19 when I got engaged, and I remember my mother told me I had to wait two years until I was 21 to get married, which seemed like forever," Mrs Boughen said.
"However, the war was on and supplies were low so it ended up being five years before our house was built and we were married."
Mr Boughen said he used to indulge his future wife in visits to the cinemas in Rosewood on weekends.
"We would walk into town from our houses on Walloon St on Saturday night to see a film, and then we'd have to walk in again on Sunday to go to church together," Mr Boughen said.
"As for dancing, my husband has two left feet, so we didn't do much of that!" Mrs Boughen laughed.
Mrs Boughen said their marriage was based on common interests and sharing decisions.
"We just trust one another and decide what's best for both of us," she said.
Mr Boughen said it was just a matter of finding the right person.
"We just love one another and that's it," he said, summing up.
The couple shared a mutual worry for younger couples jumping into relationships.
"You really have to know the person before you decide to get married," Mrs Boughen said.
"We knew what we were getting because we were neighbours.
"These days, I think young people are moving in or getting married without realising who they're actually settling down with."
The couple shared the opinion that Valentine's Day was becoming overly commercialised.
Valentine's Day originally acknowledged Christian martyrs of the same name.
It became popular in the heart of romantics at the turn of the 19th century.
Sending chocolates, flowers, cards and other gifts on the day is a popular custom.
Millions of cards and an estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010.
Singaporeans, Chinese and South Koreans spend the most on Valentine's gifts.
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