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The secret to a long marriage? There's no such thing

CHEERS: Bob and Shirley Blackburn celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary at Mothar Mountain Hall.
CHEERS: Bob and Shirley Blackburn celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary at Mothar Mountain Hall. Jacob Carson

IT'S one of the great mysteries of love and life; how to make it stick.

Beyond the oft-repeated and tiresome criticisms levelled at millennial couples, there is some truth to be found - that our grandparents seemed to have figured it out a lot better.

But if you were to ask Bob and Shirley Blackburn how they've done it for 60 years, they'll give it to you straight.

"There's no such thing as a secret," she said at Mothar Mountain hall on Saturday, as their family gathered to celebrate the milestone.

"Like any relationship, it's been a lot of hard work - and Bob will tell you as well there have been as many ups as there have been downs."

The hall was full with the Blackburn family, including a huge amount of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, putting a smile on the faces of the happy couple.

"We've respect them and they've always respected us," Shirley added, "Always there to greet us with a hug."

The hall holds a special place for the Blackburns, seeing as both Shirley's father helped to build it - and it was the site of their wedding in September, 1957.

A cake decorated with a photograph of their wedding day sits on a table in the middle of the room as a photo album is passed from table to table.

"I think it's certainly changed a lot for people who are in their 20s," Shirley continued.

"For one thing there's so many more things to be stressed about, and of course everything is more expensive too.

"It's easy to look down on people, but the truth is things are very different from how they used to be."

But if they had to give one piece of advice to couples out there?

"Just keep moving, keep pushing on - when we got to 50 years, we said we'll go to 55 and then to 60," Shirley said.

"Now we're looking at 65 years, we'll see you then.

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