Love is in the air for Dawn and Ian Armstrong, and not just because today is February 14.
In fact, even though it is their 41st Valentine’s Day together the pair have never really done anything special to mark the day.
Instead, they choose to express their love in small ways throughout the entire year.
It’s not always with gifts, but Dawn is this year sporting a brand new wedding ring.
A belated present to mark their 40th wedding anniversary in November 2019, winning the grand prize — $5000 in Deni Gift Cards — as part of the Golden Bunny Bonanza shopping promotion in December aided in the purchase.
The white gold band with 11 diamonds nestles beautifully alongside Dawn’s original engagement ring.
The eternity ring Ian gave her to celebrate one year of marriage completes the attractive set.
Ian and Dawn were married on November 17, 1979, less than one year after they started dating, on Boxing Day 1978.
‘‘We went to Frankston Beach,’’ Dawn said of their first date.
‘‘Her brother came along with us, because her father would not let her go without a chaperone,’’ Ian recalled.
‘‘Dawn’s brother Mark was my best friend, but she had five brothers I had to contend with.
‘‘They were initially a little hesitant (when I started dating Dawn).’’
Dawn was 19 at the time and Ian 23, and while the pair could not recall what attracted them to each other at the time it’s easy to see that a shared sense of humour certainly plays a role.
‘‘It was my good looks,’’ Ian joked, his wife laughing along while agreeing.
‘‘It must have just been chemistry I suppose,’’ he said with more sincerity.
‘‘I don’t think I was very romantic, but I knew what I wanted and I went after it.’’
Dawn did not entirely agree with her husband, saying there were definitely some romantic moments.
But as very private people, she said it was mainly demonstrated in the way he would treat her out to dinner, whether it was by themselves or with friends.
And as for Valentine’s Day, the pair has always chosen to spend it like any other day.
‘‘She knows I love her, and I know she loves me,’’ Ian said.
‘‘We leave the celebrating to birthdays and anniversaries,’’ Dawn added.
Simple and intimate was also the theme of Ian and Dawn’s wedding, which was held at a small Church of England church in Mordialloc, about half an hour from where they were living in Doveton at the time.
Ian’s family has had a long running connection to St Nicholas, where he would sing in the church choir as a child.
They went on to have two children — Kylie, now 38, and Craig who is 35 — and have six year-old twin grandchildren named Charlotte and Sebastian.
The pair moved to Deniliquin in 2004, when Ian’s mother required additional care.
When she passed away in 2006, they decided they wanted to settle down in Deniliquin.
‘‘We had only just bought a house, and I was really loving my work (at Navorina, where she still works today),’’ Dawn said.
While admitting there have been some ups and downs over the years, the Armstrongs say reaching 40 years of marriage has been an enjoyable journey.
‘‘I think the secret (of a long marriage) is to not take each other too seriously; you need to have some fun,’’ Ian said.
"And we’ve always worked together as a team,’’ Dawn added.