Eighty years of marriage is a rare thing, but Lillian Brinsdon says there's no real secret
to her long life with husband Eric.

''It's just a thing that happened.''

Today the Mosgiel couple will celebrate their 80th anniversary with family and friends at the Taieri Court retirement home. They are both aged 99.

Mrs Brinsdon's advice to young couples was to reflect before getting into arguments.


''Think if it's worth fighting over. It's probably not.''

When they were young Mrs Brinsdon (nee: Drummond) lived in Outram and Mr Brinsdon in

They met through his sister Vera who was a friend of Mrs Brinsdon.

''She'd come home sometimes for dinner,'' Mr Brinsdon said.

The two would ride their bikes 25km between the two homes.

''I don't know, she was just there,'' Mr Brinsdon said of what first sparked his interest.

Mrs Brinsdon was more the romantic.

''Well I loved him. It's a long time ago, but I still do.''

Although she did need convincing to get married as she saw ''too much trouble'' in the union of her parents.

The two were married at the Dunedin Registry Office on January 26, 1938.

''I suppose we were just too busy,'' Mrs Brinsdon said of their lack of a church ceremony.

Eighty years on her opinion of marriage has changed.

''I knew you had to pull together to get there and we're still pulling together. I look after him.''

They lived throughout the Taieri Plain, raising a family in Mosgiel, before living in Hampden, Oamaru and back to Mosgiel.

The couple had six children together, four of who are surviving, 12 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Mr Brinsdon worked on market gardens, farms and for the Taieri County Council.

The two liked to work on their vegetable garden together and camp in Alexandra and on the Waitaki River where he could catch salmon.

They were also both big readers, Mr Brinsdon said.

''Lillian can read a book all day. She used to put the dinner on and start reading a book and I'd have to watch it didn't burn.''

Mr Brinsdon will turn 100 on March 23 and Mrs Brinsdon on August 25.

Mrs Brinsdon said the milestone was ''just sitting there, waiting'', but she was not bothered about whether she made it.

As for a long marriage, Mr Brinsdon said the secret was to wake up in the morning, work all day, go to bed at night and get up again.

''Make sure they enjoy being together. That's all that matters.''