Blue sapphire . . . Reg and Marie Highsted are surrounded by flowers family members sent them to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary last week. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

When two Gore teenagers met at an Invercargill Bible study there was an instant attraction between them.

Last week the couple, Reg and Marie (nee Soper) Highsted celebrated 65 years of marriage.

He had gone to the Bible study because his sister had told him about ‘‘a lovely girl’’ who went there, Mr Highsted (85) said.

It was her personality and smile that attracted him to her at the study, he said.

‘‘I thought he was very handsome and I loved his personality,’’ Mrs Highsted said.

‘‘He was very, very kind and very generous and very loving.’’

The two started courting after their first meeting.

While the two went to Gore High School their paths did not cross, although Mrs Highsted could remember seeing her future husband in the distance.

‘‘I remember . . . thinking he’s quite good looking.’’

When he left school Mr Highsted delivered a telegram to Mrs Highsted’s house and thought the same thing.

Their strong Christian faith had been very important to their marriage.

‘‘Love and our Christian faith is the key to a marriage as far as we’re concerned,’’ he said.

‘‘Loving each other and always caring for each other,’’ she said.

The couple were grateful for the length of time they had been happily married.

The two were very good friends and had similar interests.

‘‘We very seldom do anything apart,’’ she said.

‘‘We love to do the same things together.’’

Mrs Highsted had strengths in areas where he was not so strong and vice versa, Mr Highsted said.

‘‘We complement each other.’’

The couple had four ‘‘wonderful’’ children, 13 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

They celebrated the anniversary with a family dinner on Wednesday, which is also Mrs Highsted’s 84th birthday.