In their 1991 hit “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days),” country duo The Judds sang about all the things contemporary society seemed to have lost. One of those things was abiding romantic love.
They sang, “Did lovers really fall in love to stay / And stand beside each other come what may? / Was a promise really something people kept / Not just something they would say and then forget?”
For many people, the answer nearly four decades ago was “no,” and for many today it still is. But you couldn’t say that about Food Network star Ina Garten (i.e., the Barefoot Contessa) and her husband Jeffrey.
According to the Daily Mail, Garten is celebrating her 50th (yes, five decades) wedding anniversary by uploading pictures every day for a week. “’Instead of celebrating our 50th Anniversary (yikes!) just on the day (this coming Saturday), Jeffrey and I decided to celebrate it all week long,” she wrote on Dec. 18.
“ So I’m starting with a photograph of Jeffrey and me leaving our wedding for our honeymoon, tennis racquets in hand. It’s been an amazing 50 years!!!”
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Her first picture showed the beaming couple buttoned up in winter coats. In it, Jeffery is struggling to hold a garment bag and a pair of racquets, but his delight is evident.
Though the Gartens must have experienced their share of ups and downs, the joy they share from their union seems to have lasted the length of their time together. “I met Jeffrey when I was 15, and I have to say, I just knew he was the one,” she told TODAY.
“He’s kind, he’s smart, he’s funny, and he takes very good care of me. It’s wonderful.”
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Believe it or not, it was Jeffrey who urged Garten to take her love of great food in a more professional direction. Prior to becoming the Barefoot Contessa, she’d worked in the White House.
According to a 1981 profile in The New York Times, her parents were less than thrilled that their daughter had decided to step outside of the halls of power and into a grocery store’s aisles. “A grocery store!” they exclaimed. “Why?”
The reason was very simple: Political work never sat particularly well with Garten, and it took Jeffrey’s influence for her to realize it. “My job in Washington was intellectually exciting and stimulating, but it wasn’t me at all,” she said.
Garten has since returned the “favor” by intentionally seeking to regularly make Jeffrey’s favorite dishes. In fact, she sees it as a wonderful way to offer love.
She explained, “I think the best way you can express love by cooking for someone, is (to) figure out what they like — not what you like, what they like — and make it for them. And they’ll feel really good.”
She also insisted that intentionally reaching out toward her husband contributed to the health of their marriage. “If you take care of somebody and don’t worry about what they’re gonna take care of you: They will,” she said.
“Rather than demanding attention, by giving attention you get attention back. It’s actually simpler than you think.”
Whatever their secrets, congratulations to Ina and Jeffrey Garten for making their relationship work so well for so long. It’s an inspiration to all of us.
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