Ina Garten Shares Her Best Marriage Advice

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

For a certain generation of food-TV lovers (erm, mine), Ina and Jeffrey Garten’s relationship has been, in internet parlance, marriage goals. He’s always around to run a helpful errand, inquire about secret ingredients, and raise a glass of wine in toast to Ina at the table. And Ina tells People this isn’t just for the camera.

Even after 50 years of marriage (as of December), her own rise to fame and his success in his own right, the two are just as smitten — and get along just as well — as in the honeymoon period. And People has the tips for just how they’ve kept that up for half a century.

The People article tells the story of their courtship, starting from when they met (while Ina was still in high school). For many years, they were apart — while at different colleges, and when Jeffrey was stationed in Thailand. But not only did he write a letter every day, she saved them all and still pulls them out to read. Even now, when they’re apart he sends her five or six texts per day.

When they were back in Washington and living together, it was Jeffrey who encouraged Ina to go out and pursue a career — and later to leave that career and buy a specialty food shop in the Hamptons. “He just thought I was really smart and that I could do anything,” the magazine quotes Ina saying. “He was the first person I knew who thought that about me.”

But part of what made that — and their marriage — so easy, Ina admits, is that it was just the two of them. “We have more freedom because we decided not to have children.” They debated it for many years, but in the end, it was a no go — and she says that made it easier to focus on each other and their relationship as it grew up. “We’re like two vines that grew,” she says, “and wrapped themselves around one another.” So there you have it — straight from Ina — the best marriage advice: you just have to find your vine.