Celebrating 50 years of wedded bliss

Derek and Brenda Smith in front of their Vanguard Estate home.

Good communication is key to having a strong marriage, say Derek and Brenda Smith from Vanguard Estate who are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Originally from Graaff-Reinet, the Smiths met when they were children as their parents were friends.

Mr Smith would visit Ms Smith at her house and the pair became fond of each other.

Soon after both families moved to Cape Town and the couple started to date and in 1968 they got married at Ms Smith’s parents’ home in Bonteheuwel.

They moved to their Vanguard Estate home in 1980 and now have four children and six grandchildren.

Ms Smith worked as a saleswoman and Mr Smith for a pharmaceutical company and later at Santam where he stayed for 30 years.

Ms Smith said that living with her parents had come as a blessing as she had only been 18 years old when she had maaried and had been expecting their first baby.

“They were our backbone, and they guided us and set an example for us. I just embraced being married, and we took it from there. We are complete opposites; he is an extrovert, and I am an introvert,” she said.

The 68-year-old said communication and understanding each other’s opinions had kept them together for 50 years.

Mr Smith, 70, said his children were a huge blessing in his life and marriage.

“They promised to take care of us, and every Saturday we have a family get-together. Being close and spending time with your family is a very important thing. It keeps us together,” he said.

Ms Smith said because of good communication they did not have many challenges in their marriage. She said her husband’s hobbies included playing and watching rugby and she often joined him on the sofa to watch a game.

“He would call me to say ‘come look what happened’ and I would end up watching the game with him. It really doesn’t feel like 50 years; it feels as if we got married now the other day,” she said.

Their daughter, Lucinda Smith, 36, said her parents were role models for her and her siblings and they had taught them the vital tools of marriage.

“Growing up with parents like these was a blessing; they are the best any child could ask for. They allowed us to be ourselves and always allowed us to have our friends over. They have set a good example for us, and this is a huge milestone and achievement.

“They have a great understanding and great relationship and that played a huge part in why they stayed together for so long. The one can’t do without the other,” she said.

Her son, Keanan, 14, said that spending the school holidays at his grandparents’ house was always the best.

“I love being here with them, they take care of us and do anything to make us happy. They always take us out and have fun with us,” he said.