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Never to part: A story of a happy marriage by Ruth Lawrence


Most of us harbour a dream of a happy, lasting relationship, something that works for us, a way of being with another person that feels right at some deep, unspoken level.


Ruth’s memories of a happy childhood


W


hile statistics gleefully remind us that one in three marriages will end in divorce, they rarely mention that most do last, although even more elusive is a neat description of


what constitutes a “happy marriage”. Previous generations tended to simply get on with it and remain together through thick and thin. It’s a recent concept to expect fulfi lment and mutual happiness and plenty of couples bolt through opposite doors when the marital fantasy doesn’t turn out as expected.


I have recently been sifting through photos and belongings of my parents following my father’s death and have pieced together reminders of what it took to remain ‘happily married’ for 47 years. My grandparents held the blueprints, both sets remaining together until death parted them. My father’s parents had an unconventional marriage for 1921: a feisty Glaswegian market trader called Lottie and her younger Sikh husband fresh to these shores from the Punjab. Their wedding photo shows Bakhshi Bushna Singh Salariya resplendent in his turban and smart English suit next to Lottie beaming


with pride. My father was conceived pretty much on their wedding night and Bakhshi gave Lottie a card a week before his birth signed “from your ever faithful, sincere and loving friend and hubby Bushna.” They gave each other constant reminders of their love; I have unearthed photos almost smothered in Lottie’s huge expressive handwriting proclaiming her affection for him and more restrained but deeper messages from the refl ective Bushna in return. Photos always show them arm in arm, Bushna jettisoning his turban and gaining in girth from her solid Northern diet. continued on next page


➳ SUSSEX LIVING 87October 2011


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