I write this from Changi airport in Singapore where I am waiting to board a flight to Amsterdam enroute to Berlin. The easy part of the journey is done, now for the marathon flight to Europe.

I’m off to visit my aunty and uncle who are celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary. They escaped from communist Poland in 1965 and settled in West Berlin, as it was then, and have been there ever since.

I thought 65 years married was quite an achievement, which it is, and then I read a story in the West Australian last week about a couple from Midland who were celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary. He is 103 and the wife is 96.

I wondered what sort of qualities it would take for a couple to stay together for so long. Well, one criteria, of course, is that they would have to have lived to a ripe old age. But also 50, 65, 80 years ago it was a vastly different world to the one we live in today.

People didn’t have partners in those days, except in business, they had a wife or husband. When they entered into a relationship it was forever, “until death us do part”, and this was declared in public. There were no such things as pre nuptual contracts; why would you need one if the intention was to stay together forever?

Of course things don’t always work out to our expectations even with the best of intentions, for any number of reasons, which today can be rather complicated at best. But way back then people seemed more committed and resilient. They also seemed to have the capacity to stick with something to the end, even in spite of difficulties.

I suppose it could be said that having lived through 2 world wars and a REAL depression where unemployment was in the order of 30%, it gave one a greater appreciation of life and the resilience and patience to know that all things resolve given time and effort.

Now, the same could be said about the capacity to deal with economic booms and busts …

In Australia we have had close to 20 years of economic sunshine and only now is there talk of a possible weakening of the economy, not withstanding the imminent mining boom. However, our economy went backwards the March quarter by 1.2%. There is talk of a slowing Chinese economy which will have serious repercussions for Australia. Our second biggest trading partner, Japan has just gone into recession, again.

Europe is facing another economic crisis as Greece and its fellow PIIGS battle w

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