Their surname is just two letters short of the word romance, but Eric and Rosemary Roman have lived a lifetime of love.
The Sun Valley couple, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, on Friday February 8, say communication is key to a happy marriage… and love. Without love, says Eric, nothing else works..
The couple say their incredibly good health is due to their
active lifestyles when they were young.
Rosemary was an athlete and Eric was a body builder and deep-sea swimmer. His love of the sea is still with him today, and he still swims at Fish Hoek Beach. He also paints, and in the couple’s lounge, is a painting of a ship at sea which he feels sums up his relationship to the open waters.
The couple say they make sure never to go to bed angry.
“You are not assured of the next day. Rather make your peace before you sleep,” says Rosemary.
A walk after a row is also a good way to clear the air, she adds.
“Even if you think you are right, apologise too, for your part in the argument,” she says.
Love isn’t a Valentine’s Day feeling that is fickle and only there for the good times, they say.
They say they feel sorry for a generation used to instant-gratification and unaccustomed to staying the course and savouring the rewards of perseverance.
Eric says their life has not always been easy.
“I will never forget one Christmas,” he says. “We had nothing -no food in the house. This woman got up, and set the entire table. She laid out all the plates and made it look beautiful. I remember feeling terrible and thinking, ‘What is she doing? She knows we have nothing.’”
And then, there was a knock at the door. And when the couple opened the door, parcels lay all across their front step.
“Oh, we feasted,” he says, eyes damp with the memory. “She taught me that day: have faith.”
They recount another day when money was short.
Eric loaded the family into the car and took them for a drive along the beach road in Durban. The road was packed and a car pulled out in front of them. As they parked, Eric noticed a
wallet on the ground. The spare change in it bought everyone ice-creams while he contacted the owner.
“There was R300 in the wallet – a lot of money in those days. The owner of the wallet was from Johannesburg. He said we could have it all – he just asked us to send his cards,” Eric says. “God always provides.”
As youngsters, Eric and Rosemary joined a club of their peers and would go to events, game evenings and parties together. Years later, everyone in the club had married – other members of the club.
Eric and Rosemary dated for five years before they married. In the years since, they have not only become much closer, but Eric even suspects his wife can read his mind.
“It’s like she has become psychic,” he says. “I will be sitting thinking something, and she will turn and talk to me about it. Or I will think to myself that a cup of tea will be nice, and without a word she will get up and go make us some.”
There is still much laughter in this home, and the couple’s children were raised on this. And
“Marriage is a blessing. I don’t know what I did that made God reserve this special woman to be my wife,” says Eric.