We Eloped 34 Years Ago

The blue recipe box in the photo below contains worn and tattered handwritten recipes for some of our favorites: my mom’s baked beans (with pickle juice and bacon), my sister’s pretzel jello (perfect for bunco), my great aunt’s crustless quiche (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), and my friend’s peanut butter cookies (to die for)!


Yesterday — St. Patrick’s Day — we celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. People often ask us the recipe for our success. A few of our best-loved ingredients include:

  • Mutual respect
  • Intentional kindness
  • Active listening
  • Forgiveness
  • Quality individual time, balanced with quality together time
  • Individual hobbies, balanced with mutual interests
  • Laughter. Definitely laughter!

It’s been said:
Long-married couples look alike.
I don’t see any resemblance. Do you?

Photo on 12-25-11 at 1.00 PM

What’s your favorite relationship ingredient?

© TuesdaysWithLaurie.com


92 thoughts on “We Eloped 34 Years Ago

  1. OMG–the photo is hilarious! Happy anniversary, Laurie and Len! I would add a “shared sense of adventure and wonder” to your list. I would LOVE the recipe for peanut butter cookies, by the way.

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  2. You guys are an example of how it works in a relationship! I am always amazed of your Joy of each other, your shared adventure!

    Bless you Both on you successful relationship! (((Hugs)))

  3. Congratulations to you both! Your ingredients to success, love and happiness have always been perfectly chosen and applied. And the photo speaks for itself! Ha! With us it has always been spending time with each other, and doing things mutually that we have enjoyed for years. It is always best to avoid the long periods apart.

    And trust you both had a marvelous St. Patrick’s Day out in Crystal Lake!

  4. Laughter! And everything else on your great list. This year Stuart and I celebrate 45 years. My appreciation for him grows as I realize that passion and companionship are the same things in the end. You’ve just inspired a blog post on this subject! We will be planning a huge trip on Amtrak this summer to celebrate. #AmtakAnniversLollipalooza. Still working on the name!

  5. Happy Anniversary to You, both! We are right after our own first 20 years, and four children and I realise I’m dying for my wife better than in the beginning. The secret? Nothing more and nothing less than you have listed above☺
    And oh, baked beans with pickle juice and bacon?! My gran’s favourite, and mine! Try make the baked beans into refried beans and add the bacon bits on top, fry a few sliced shallots in the juice, sprinkle with a dash of flour until golden, drain and add on top!
    Let me know of results☺

  6. You hit the jackpot on your choice of topic today, Laurie. Congratulations, first of all! Cliff’s addition to the list: “Listen to the wife; she’s always right!” I have been married to this godly goofball for 46 1/2 years. Just think how distorted our photo will look–ha!

  7. Congratulations on reaching so many years together! I agree with your recipe for a successful marriage: we do try to spend good quality time together (travelling, eating) and also apart (fishing, crocheting, reading). Great picture. Have a great celebration.

  8. Congratulations! Now that I’ve been married almost six years, I have an even deeper respect for those who have been married 20+ years. You KNOW they have gone through the ringer, and more importantly, came out of it. A big one for me (along the lines of forgiveness) is letting go….stopping a petty discussion that is going nowhere (even if I didn’t quite get my point across) or not dwelling on small annoyances.

    • Pointes of View – As we’ve told our now-adult son, “A good marriage is hard. A great marriage is damn hard! — but well worth the emotional investment.” With time we’ve both learned to “pick our battles” — not everything little thing is worth going to the mat for 🙂

  9. Congratulations, Laurie. Happy to say we’ve got you and your hubby beat by a year and 3 months and I hope to keep it that way. 🙂

    When I’m cooking the relationship, I find that a liberal sprinkling of two words into the recipe works wonders. Those two words are: “Yes, dear.”


  10. Happy Anniversary! I love that photo and your sense of humour 🙂 Your list makes total sense, it’s what we’ve been practicing for nearly ten years. I have also found it very helpful to understand that when I am angry or frustrated with my husband it is 99% of the time because I am anxious or unhappy about something that has to do with myself, not him. Oh, and my husband tells that he lives by the motto “happy wife, happy life” :))

    • Kerstin – I share your observation about anger/frustration. When I make the time to stop and look (really look) at the situation, it many times points back to something that’s going on with me, myself, and I. Please tell you husband that I love his motto! 🙂

  11. Hello Laurie, I’m back, I was away on the build in Wales last week with limited internet I really missed you but did look back yesterday at last weeks post …really good.
    Firstly HAPPY ANNIVERSARY for yesterday . If my parents had been alive, yesterday would have been their platinum (70 YEARS) anniversary …so you share your wedding anniversary with the best.
    For my husband and myself it’s loving each other unconditionally for all the faults ..warts and all . Like you said laughter …my hubby always makes me laugh .
    love the photo of you two.
    Cherry x

    • Cherry – Oh how fun that you were off visiting the build! 🙂 Welcome back and thank you for the happy anniversary wishes. You’re absolutely right about unconditional love – warts and all!

  12. Adding my voice with others to wish you both a very happy anniversary.
    Not a different ingredient but to accompany the active listening, I’d add open-minded understanding. Twenty-two years ago years for us. : )

  13. Happy anniversary Laurie and Len! You have mixed the right ingredients as the evidence is in the pudding. One other relationship ingredient that can take a commitment from mashed potatoes to gourmet fair is being forever curious about each other. We humans change with experience and time. The curious partner savours those subtleties and sometimes dramatic shifts. Best of today to you both.

    • Terrill – FOREVER CURIOUS is a delectable relationship ingredient. You and David are going to indulge your curiosity in the deep end of the pool here shortly as you travel internationally together. I’m so looking forward to periodic posts with photos 🙂

  14. Laurie, happy anniversary to you both! Pickle juice in the baked beans? Sweet or dill? When are you sharing the crustless quiche recipe?

  15. Sweetest anniversary to you both.
    Active listening is very important,otherwise a kind of taking for granted begins to grow.

  16. Happy Anniversary – 34 happy years is wonderful. I have to say I need someone who challenges me as I love a good debate (don’t like arguing though). Until I met my husband, I always got the feeling my boyfriends were slightly scared of me! And yes, someone who needs alone time for their own sake…not just to get away from me. 😉

    Laurie, your photo made me laugh out loud but it’s also freaking me out. And can I ask is pretzel jello what I would call jam, or what I would call jelly (i.e. a bog wobbly dessert thing)? Either way, I’m not tempted…is it even edible or is bunco some strange American game where you throw the jello at each other?

    • WarmGinger – Totally different from an argument, a good solid debate is healthy!

      PRETZEL JELLO is a dessert that pressed into a 9×13 pan and then cut into bars. It’s sweet and calorie-laden (not in the least bit healthy, but oh-so delicious).

      BUNCO is a hysterical game that involves cards and dice (not gambling). It doesn’t involve throwing jello, but a slap or two every now and then isn’t at all unheard of 🙂

  17. Gluten Free food is my secret ingredient! and having something I enjoy doing while my partner bicycles and works. I love to read!

  18. Happy anniversary, Laurie and Len!!! So hilarious! Your *goofy* headshots–made me laugh out loud. Jerry and I have been together 15 years and our successful action is good communication, granting each other the ability to just be, do and have and share in the consequences.

  19. Congratulations on so many happy years…give each other an extra hug from me. My huggable hubby died December 24, 2012 and a day does not pass that I don’t wish I could tell him something or ask him something or just snuggle up and listen to music. We always seemed to laugh and cry at the same things. It was good…

  20. Hi Laurie,

    Not much I can add to the prescription you and Len have been using, it has had a great result.

    One thing that has caused issues between Ailsa and I is our different love languages. Ailsa deals in symbols, and I deal in gadgets. One year she gave me a picture of two paradise ducks (symbolising mating for life) and I gave her a set of kitchen taps. Neither of us was very happy that xmas.
    We seem to have sorted that out now.
    I have managed to find some gadgets that she really likes, like her coffee maker, and her camera.

    Wishing you both the greatest of times.

  21. Hi Laurie! The picture is too funny!!

    Congrats on 34 years!

    Hmmm…well I don’t yet have much knowledge in this department.

    For me: respect, communicating regularly (no absent presence), understanding, and a great sense of humor.

  22. That is an incredibly funny photo! You have such a good sense of humor, Laurie. Congratulations on your anniversary…St. Patrick’s Day? That’s fun in itself. You definitely have good tools for marriage in your recipe box! 🙂

  23. What a fantastic recipe Laurie! My hubby and I endeavor to do all those things, but I love how you’ve listed them. I’ve jotted them down to have this list handy as a loving reminder of each ingredient necessary to make a delightful and lasting marriage. Blessings to you both!

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