Relationships

A Secret to a Happy Marriage

A Secret to a Happy Relationship

Last month, I came across a New York moment I’ll never forget…

Just after sunset, I was walking along the Brooklyn Promenade, when I spotted a couple having a candlelit picnic. The two dined in blue lawn chairs pulled up to a fold-out ironing table. As I passed them, one had just finished a joke, and they kicked back their heads in laughter. Weeks later, I saw the pair in the same location — this time with the addition of a cheese board. That’s when I finally introduced myself to Jane and Terry and asked about their weekly picnic tradition.

When did this ritual begin?
Terry: We’ve been doing this for 24 years. It started when we moved to Brooklyn. We spent every sunset outside by the water.
Jane: Then, we thought, ‘Oh, let’s bring some wine down here.’
Terry: On the seventh night, as we headed out the door, our new neighbor sighed, “Are you guys still going to the promenade?”
Jane: We haven’t stopped since.

What’s your #1 picnic staple?
Jane: A good cheese knife is very important.

What do you usually pack?
Jane: Candles, because we’re here past dark. For food, we bring two good things, which is usually a big salad and steaks or lamb chops. And cheese tonight, of course.

Any favorite dinner conversations?
Jane: I remember being in my early twenties observing these older couples, wondering, ‘What do these people talk about? Don’t they run out of things to discuss?!’ I was so freaked out about this.
Terry: She told me that fear early on.
Jane: What I didn’t realize was that the longer you’re together, the more you have to talk about. You have more friends in common, more experiences. You have these stories about your lives, these stories about other people’s lives.

Has anyone joined your tradition?
Jane: Many times. One night, our friend Harold brought along these tiny little speakers. He went to all this trouble to play rock music during our dinner. It was hysterical.

How did you meet?
Terry: We met in graduate school at the University of Chicago. Three months later, I proposed marriage.

How did you know you were meant to be?
Terry: One night, Jane was feeling sick. I walked home through the snow to get my copy of Winnie the Pooh to read her to sleep.
Jane: He came back wearing these crazy pajamas. That won my heart.
Terry: The next day, I asked her to marry me.

What do you think is the key to a good marriage?
Terry: For us, it’s just connecting again at the end of the day, sitting down without distractions.

Have you ever called off a picnic?
Jane: It’s not that we don’t annoy each other. I wouldn’t help pack all of this if I were mad. But we’ve learned over the years how to talk things through.

Any advice for other couples?
Jane: The thing is, it’s just easier to be in a good mood. And be generous to one another, apologize often.
Terry: When we’re spending time together, our slogan is to have as much fun as possible.
Jane: Also, it’s important to remember that each partner is responsible for their own happiness. You can’t rely on the other one to always entertain you.

Thank you so much, Jane and Terry! You guys are a blast. Below, a few more photos of their ritual:

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

The Brooklyn Promenade is a walkway in Brooklyn Heights that looks over the East River toward the Manhattan skyline. Magical, right? Just wait until you add a sunset and Jane and Terry.

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

“This is our paradise,” Jane told me.

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

Filet mignon, dry white wine and mushroom salad. Picnic essentials, obviously. (Those green table accessories!)

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

When Jane had an empty wine glass, Terry said, “Oh no, that’s terrible,” as he topped her off.

The Secret to a Happy Marriage

P.S. 12 relationship tips from a wedding reporter, and how do you know your partner is the one?

(Photos by Ana Gambuto for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Yvette says...

    Loved so much this post! Well done, Stella! You made my day.

  2. Carter says...

    Although I found this to be incredibly sweet my first thought after reading about their picnic ritual and their general thoughts on their relationship is that these people did not have children. Maybe it’s because we have little ones but they seem just a little to checked out on the day to day stressors of raising kids to have been having a picnic every night for decades. Just curious. And if they did raise kids and still made this tradition work them Bravo to them!!

  3. This is such a sweet story! I had to send this to my husband immediately since this is the type of lifestyle we really embrace. Our daily routine is to take the time to have breakfast together, however rushed the day might end up being. Here is to steak, cheese and wine picnics with your loved ones!

  4. This may be one of my favorite posts. We have a 2 year old daughter and are still figuring out how to make time for each other, without distractions. Some nights, all I want to do is sit on the couch and get lost in Instagram. Jane and Terry reminded me to make our time together fun, and to just be in a good mood! It’s so easy to hold grudges over little things like not putting your socks in the hamper, just let it go and make the most of your time together when you have it!

  5. Margaret says...

    Very sweet. Yet my mind is in logistics mode. They do this every night? What about other things? I want more rituals but life seems to get in the way. I try to reduce it to even smaller things. A kiss hello, a small cuddle…

    • Discouraged says...

      Margaret, I thought the same thing. Such a sweet tradition, but I found myself feeling bad about my own relationship because there is just no way we will fit a picnic in every day — until we retire. My partner & I both work full-time, own a house, and try to cook dinner/stay active every weekday. By the time we’re done with our daily chores and house up-keep, most days we just collapse in front of a Netflix show around 8:30pm.

  6. Dee says...

    They remind me of this sweet elderly couple I happen to be with in a bus in Spain. We were traveling four or so hours from Santander to Madrid. Halfway through the trip, they just busted out their picnic, complete with fancy silver, a tablecloth to drape over the bus trays, fancy napkins, and a fantastic spread. And just had a fancy picnic, right there in the bus! :)

    • Luna says...

      Oh wow.

  7. Lola says...

    We’ve been married for 14 years, we have 3 children, two of them are autistic.
    Every evening he plays computer games and I read a book, we don’t talk, we don’t drink wine. We don’t have a bedroom ( we gave it to one of the kids ) so we sleep in our sofa bed. Life is hard …. Rituals ? once upon a time …

    • Sid says...

      This comment makes me so sad. You both sound so lonely. I can totally get how the work of being a good parent saps all your energy (and time and money) but you guys need to try to find even just five minutes to connect and laugh together. Something simple like playing a game of cards and having a cup of tea. Hugs to you both.

    • Aideen says...

      We do what we have to do. Sounds like your evenings are taken up being mindful of yourselves, and giving the other space to do the same. Throw in a flickering candle, looks like a ritual to me…xx

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Lola, sounds like you have a LOT on your plate. I wish I could beam myself there and give you a big hug and say, I hear you, Mama. You sound like you’re doing a great job being there for your sweet children and just getting through the days. Hopefully things will settle down at some point and then you can reestablish some rituals and time for yourselves. Sending a hug your way. You’re not alone. xoxo

  8. Rebekka says...

    This is one of my all-time favorite posts! Love all of it- so inspiring!!

  9. #couplegoals

  10. Elizabeth says...

    What a beautiful story and beautiful couple. I love their philosophy, especially Jane’s observation: It’s just easier to be in a good mood. Thanks, Jane, Terry & CoJ!

  11. Lee says...

    That is really wonderful advice to happen upon! Just perfect ❤️

  12. Jillian says...

    Without even noticing or trying (until this last question posed), I just realized I have an “our restaurant” with every single one of my closest, most beloved friends, both male & female. From Austin to Chicago to NYC to San Francisco, there is one, singular place where either of us can text —
    “{restaurant name]??” anytime we’re in the same city, or “wish we were at {restaurant name}” when we’re far apart. At each place, we have drinks we love, stories/tears/soul-bursting laughter we’ve shared, meals we split every time, waiters/bartenders who recognize us somehow as a pair of friends months or years apart, and one ritual, restaurant home that we share and love the same way we share & love our lives and love for one another.

  13. RashmiK says...

    That’s adorable!
    My husband and I are voracious readers. But thanks to our different taste (me: fiction; him: non-fiction), seldom read the same books. We just started this thing a year ago where we both pick a book to be read per fortnight. We then have a wine and cheese night on a Saturday as part of our little book club meeting and discuss the book we just finished. It’s a super fun night and we both end up with interesting reads that we wouldn’t have tried otherwise.

  14. Andrea says...

    Love this!!

  15. Alyssa says...

    Last year at a Santa Monica Twilight concert, my boyfriend and I had spotted a couple having a picnic with a similar set up to Jane and Terry on the beach. We thought that was such a great idea so we decided by next summer we’d make a table (or my boyfriend would make it since he’s an engineer after all) and have romantic date nights on the beach too. My boyfriend built a custom table to fit over the beach chairs we found next to the dumpster. We’ve used the table at multiple beach concerts and spur of the moment picnics. I’ll have to add candles, table cloth, and cloth napkins to make our picnics cozier. There’s something special about sharing moments like this with my partner.

  16. Mimi says...

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing..it truly makes my heart happy. Cheers to Jane and Terry!

  17. Tyler says...

    Fridays are usually the day my husband and I have to spend together and reconnect – I’m a grad student, so I’m busy during the week, and he’s an actor/bartender and works nights and weekends. Most weeks we try to save Friday for a “date day” and have coffee or brunch together, then plan something fun for the evening.

  18. Kim says...

    Thank you….beautiful & so true. Also awesome to see the promenade which is one of my favorite places on earth.

  19. Lauren says...

    What’s better than this? I <3 NEW YORK!

  20. Tanya says...

    I love this!

    Reminded me of a time when we were on our honeymoon in Aruba and ran into a nice older couple at the bus stop. They’ve obviously been married for decades, so we asked for any advice for the newlyweds. The husband then goes: “it’s very simple, I just remember to say “Yes, dear” ?

  21. S says...

    Ok, I’m loving hearing about the joys that elderly people have! It reminds me of that comment from a couple months ago about the grandpa that has cheese and a cocktail every evening!
    Love this!

  22. Megan says...

    Well this was just the loveliest story to read. I shared it with my husband and he agreed! From the time we adopted our first dog 6 years ago, our routine became our “9 o’clock walks”. I walk our dogs in the morning, he walks them in the afternoon, and together we walk them at 9 pm. No matter how tired we are and how exhausting our day may have been, we ALWAYS do the 9 o’clock walk together and chat about our day and what lies ahead. Caring for our pets together has helped us establish healthy routines that have brought us so much closer over the years.

    • Shannon says...

      So great. I love this.

  23. Jenny says...

    Not only did I love this story, I really enjoyed the comments. I read nearly all of them! How great to hear what joy this piece brought to so many as well as finding out so many other sweet relationship rituals. Jo, you have the best blog and the best readers! Thanks for this uplifting post, so needed right now when the rest of the world seems to be falling apart.

    • I totally agree Jenny!

  24. Loved this! Especially because I’ll be getting married soon and somehow feels like the advise speaks to me directly. Goals!

  25. Bethann says...

    Well done. So many wise words to live by in this story. The simple pleasures in life. So easy to get caught up in career, money, technology, but why — is that really what brings happiness? I shared this with my husband. Thank you.

  26. Whitney says...

    “Be generous to one another” YES! People often say that communication is the key to a successful marriage, but I disagree. I believe it’s KIND communication. Communication won’t do a mattiage any favors if you’re only communicating unkind things! I’ve believe kindness (aka: generosity) is the key.

    • Eme says...

      that’s such wonderful insight, thank you!

  27. This is amazing. “Each partner is responsible for his or her own happiness” is SUCH good marriage advice. They should teach that in schools.

  28. ECH says...

    So nice to read a sweet, happy story <3

  29. Megdalena says...

    Amazing! I absolutely love this piece. It’s about something that’s a little quirky, but an absolutely lovely tradition. Add in the marriage advice and voila!

    I think we so often live in a culture where we value busy-ness. I strive to look more at the sky then my phone or a computer screen, what a lovely way to do that with intention and with someone you love after so many years. Beautiful post. Great job, Stella.

  30. Also, I would LOVE to see more interviews like this on cup of jo. Simple, inspiring and beautiful. I sent it to all my married and engaged friends!

  31. The other night my husband and I were talking about how many of our friends wonder what we do in the evenings since we don’t have a television. This question makes us laugh because our television-free evenings are one of our most precious times together. Almost every night after we put our toddler son down for bed we sit on the couch together and talk about our days, our dreams, our future, etc. and just enjoy being together, often while sharing ice cream right out of the carton. And then we wonder what all our friends with TVs do every night.

    • Jessica says...

      Haha, I can relate! I also get asked what my kids do without a tv to watch ?

    • Beckxoxo says...

      Us too!!! At bedtime I still feel like we have more to chat about but should probably turn out the lights before one of the babies wakes. I wonder how people that watch TV have enough time to talk!

    • Luna says...

      Hahaha. Love it.

    • anon says...

      me three. haven’t had TV since 2010 and it’s been the best decision both for our marriage but now, especially now with kids it’s been a blessing. Every night, frost, rain included we do walks after dinner, even if the kids are whiny (read: every night), the moment they are out the door their mood changes. The activities that we come up with range from ordinary: picking up chestnuts, talking about cars, sky, to the most extraordinary: like that time our six year old asked about who/what actually created the first person on earth (!), prompted by our walk in a nearby cemetery. During Halloween and Christmas we make a map of the most fun neighborhood houses that go all out with their outdoor decorations. I even force the walks when my husband and I have a fight, even if we don’t talk to each other, we still have a fun time with the kids and tend to be more relaxed and more willing to make up after a walk.

  32. Eenie says...

    So utterly refreshing to read this. They are adorable & so inspiring. Would definitely want to have them as friends if I lived in NYC!

  33. Kate says...

    ‘The thing is, it’s just easier to be in a good mood…’ THIS.

    When I was a kid my dad had girlfriends who seemed to relish being mad at him, as if it gave them the upper hand. Sometimes he’d ask what was wrong and get the whole “Oh, I’m FINE!” thing in return. I vowed then to never turn out like that. To want to be in a good mood. To be honest when something was wrong and to never say “oh I don’t want a birthday present!” and then be upset when a gift didn’t materialise.

    • Luna says...

      Hey! That’s exactly what I witnessed as a teenager, girls going off at their boyfriend’s & thinking, what the heck did I just witness?! Often it was silly things to get a reaction or I’ll hear guys saying, I wish I didn’t start dating until after high school or Don’t date in high school man.

  34. Her hands = gorgeous.

  35. Yen says...

    Such a sweet couple!

  36. Emily says...

    Three daily ones:
    1) To close the day, we recap our favorite parts of the day. It’s a nice way to practice gratefulness, and often to realize how our time together is one of our favorites. It’s often little things like “I was so happy to see you when you came home from work today” or “When you asked me to stay in bed for another 30 minutes in the morning.”
    2) Starting the day by sharing our dreams.
    3) An extensive breakfast ritual including soft boiled eggs, chipotle mayo, Trader Joe’s cheese, capers, balsamic glaze, and a few more ingredients…

    It’s nice to have those anchors in the day to just be together!

  37. Lauren says...

    This story made my day. Thank you.

  38. Stella!! THIS!!! So good! I love how New Yorkers find ways to make New York “theirs”, and I love how unashamed they are doing it, how *New York* they are about it. There’s a man on the Upper West Side who bikes up the west side, past the piers, and ties a hammock to two trees overlooking the Hudson. He’ll spend an entire Saturday afternoon there, reading a book, swinging his hammock in his little paradise in the city. It makes me feel like anyone can find a way to enjoy this city, if you embrace it and really make it yours. XO

  39. I love this! My favorite part is Jane’s comment that it’s simply easier to be in a good mood. This is so true! How much conflict could be avoided if I simply made the choice to have a better attitude? I appreciate the post!

  40. Whitney says...

    This made me cry. Truly beautiful.

  41. Paloma Similla says...

    My husband and I will be married 30 years next month. I was trying to find a creative, fun way to celebrate. I decided on “30 First Dates” (the 50 First Dates movie is an inside joke when I can’t remember things) and since November has 30 days, we will be doing something each day. Obviously, we can’t go out every night and some dates will have to be a little simple thing like love notes and a wedding reception-style dance in our kitchen. We love to dance at other ppl’s weddings! He’s planning some surprises and so far, I have planned double date bowling night, baking his fave chocolate cake as a “wedding cake,” our first ballet (a performance by Ballet Hispanico coming into town) a picnic from our fave deli that we haven’t been to in quite awhile, a couple of different day trips out of town, and of course Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler! I was just getting on the computer to see if I could come across any other fun ideas and I found this post! Feeling lucky and inspired! And, grateful to be married all these years to my best friend and lover.

    • M says...

      Happy 30th Anniversary! Your month sounds SO fun! ?

  42. BP says...

    This is THE BEST! This is why I love Cup Of Jo!

  43. Jessica says...

    Awww so sweet

  44. virginie says...

    This made happy…and nostalgic, and a little sad for what will never happen. But mostly happy . <3

    • Daniela says...

      I don’t know your story, but…*hugs*!

  45. Elise says...

    I love this so much. My husband and I love picnicking, and it’s one of our favorite winter weekend activities. We live in Seattle and we love to drive out to the peninsula, an island, or the mountains and have a picnic in our car. We sit in the backseat and lay out our spread – usually homemade baguettes, goat cheese, apples, and whatever else we have on hand.

  46. Molly says...

    What a wonderful post!! Thank you for sharing.

  47. Every Saturday, my husband Sid and I walk to a neighbourhood cafe, pick up a coffee + a baked goodie and head to Hyde Park (Perth, Western Australia), where we sit on the grass and unwind from the week and reconnect. We’re usually sitting in the dappled sun people-watching, spotting little babies sunbathing with their dads or counting the ducks out on the water. We try new cafes or sometimes just stick to old favourites. We often drift in and out off conversations, daydreaming or just enjoying the breeze or the silence, and it’s just sort of our way to get the weekend started. Then we come back home, and sometimes we’ll nap before cooking lunch. We’re expecting a baby this January, and can’t wait to make him/her a part of this little routine.

    • ALI says...

      Oh my word Sowmya – I am a Perth girl and love doing this too! Chu is the key to making the trip extravagant with their amazing coffee and baked goods. I hope your routine is even better with your new bubba x

    • Luna says...

      We do this too! Only started last year when our second child started School. This time together is so refreshing.

  48. love this so much.. Jane: The thing is, it’s just easier to be in a good mood. And be generous to one another, apologize often.

    i’ve been married for 2.5 years with an almost 2 year old and i’m learning that it’s easier to just apologize and not worry about being right, it feels better too.

  49. Tammy Sutherland says...

    Be generous and apologize often. That is damn good advice that I will take with me and try to remember during the “for worse” times in what I hope will be a long, long marriage. (Almost 8 years already!)

  50. Sasha says...

    I love that they just have the 2 fold out chairs and an ironing board! If I ever visit Brooklyn I will keep a lookout for them in the promenade. I hope my husband and I do not run out of things to say when we get to that stage of life- I love him to death, but after 10 years I sometimes feel like you know all each others’ stories.

    • Luna says...

      Sasha, I felt the same way too about the same time. What still surprises me? When I’m feeling down, my Husband can remember phone conversations & text messages from me!! Almost 13 years together.
      What this Couple says about conversations is very true, for us.

    • Glenda says...

      The longer you’re together the more memories you’ll make. You’ll have kids, grandkids and the reminiscing begins. There will always be something to talk about. Remember when?!

  51. Sandra says...

    I love this post! It is filled with so much great relationship advice. They really seem to enjoy each other.

    I so wish my husband was a “picnic by the river” guy. I love him, but he would complain that it is too much work to carry everything out there, too buggy, too hot/cold…. They are not all Terrys, that is for sure!

  52. Janine says...

    How lovely! I wish for this someday. Awesome couple

  53. Em says...

    I LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH! Love hearing from happy couples :)

  54. Mara says...

    This warmed my heart so much! Especially seeing that I’m in the midst of a fight right now with my husband of only one year ;-) It comforts me to think that as life goes on, we’ll have more stories to build on and talk about. Thank you Terry and Jane, you are an inspiration! May we all find love and comfort like yours.

  55. Emily says...

    I love learning about happy marriages. I have a happy marriage, and I think it’s really beneficial to see examples of other happy marriages.

    • Kate says...

      YES to this comment!!! I have a great marriage, and it is the most joyful thing in my life, but both my partner and I came from broken homes. I often wonder if we just got lucky in finding each other, or if we’re doing something unknown to both of us, or IDK what. I love, love, love seeing other happy marriages portrayed in media, and I love hearing what other couples do to keep their connections strong. I think it is especially important for people who didn’t grow up with happy parents and don’t necessarily have a go-to model for their own relationships!

  56. Lauri H says...

    Best post ever! Thank you so much for sharing. May we all find love like Terry and Jane.

  57. My now husband and I had a tradition affectionately named “whiskey walks” by a friend. We had only ever dated with a 2,000 mile distance. I moved to San Francisco so we could be together. Many evenings we would buy a little bottle of whiskey and walk to a different scenic hill in the city. It was a way for me to get to know the city and for us to navigate a new life together. We talked through lots of stuff sitting on a bench in the dark looking out at the city. We actually are moving from SF in exactly a week and I definitely feel nostalgic for those walks but I am looking forward to new traditions in a place new to both of us.

  58. Hannah says...

    The simple moments that are just good seem to be the ones that my partner and I turn into routine. We consistently take a walk around 10 or so before bed. We also do these fun and strange haiku contests when we’re stuck on the train – key is to pick a random topic and keep the haiku making to a minute or less. Less ritual and more a matter of love: when one of us is nervous about a job interview or tough conversation at work or taking a big test like the GMAT, we will remind the nervous one “I’ll love you no more or no less no matter the outcome.” Helps to have that reminder.

    Great post, Stella. Thanks for this.

  59. When my husband and I were dating, we joined a seasonal CSA where we picked up a bag of delicious produce every Sunday afternoon. We started “Sunday Night Dinners” where the challenge was to create a recipe out of the ingredients in our CSA. Six years later, we still talk about those dinners…Jerusalem artichoke olive fattoush, eggplant stuffed with bulgur and heirloom tomatoes, etc.

    This post reminded me how important those partner rituals are….it’s easy to come up with excuses for letting things go, but in the end, this is really what life is all about. Living in the moment with the people you love the most.

  60. I love this so much, as I was just telling my husband how important it is to connect everyday through a fun routine. We have three little girls, so our routine is changing, but right now it’s a walk around the neighborhood each evening ending with a stop at the park! Our girls love it, and it gives my husband and I a chance to chat uninterrupted while they play. Other things we’ve done include waking up before the kids for coffee together, eating dessert together, and enjoying an iced coffee on the patio once my husband gets home from work. Once our kids are grown, I’d like our routine to be a morning or evening walk!

    -Sarah

  61. What a lovely, simple love story! Plus, any man who knows to top off my wine has my heart!

    Once a week or so, my husband and I love to lie in bed before we fall asleep and talk about our hopes and dreams: how we’ll renovate our home, what we’d do if we won the lottery, how we hope to raise our son, etc. etc. Some of our conversations are practical and realistic while others were far fetched and unlikely to actually happen. Regardless, we connect before going to sleep, and it gets us thinking. Great post!

  62. Tracy F. says...

    I love this! When my now husband and I met, we were poor college students in L.A. and had to scrape our pennies together for “real” dates. We managed a few splurges at trendy restaurants around town, but my favorite memories are of hitting up a drive-thru, cruising up into the hills, finding a new overlook, and enjoying a car picnic. Looking out over the city lights, we imagined the crazy things our fellow city dwellers were up to, had quirky philosophical conversations, and just enjoyed the simplicity of time alone together. We no longer live in L.A., but still manage a car picnic from time to time. Perhaps Jane & Terry will inspire us to make it more regular!

  63. Peggy says...

    I am tearing up. It truly is the little things that make for a good marriage….so perhaps I should say that the little things are actually the big things. My husband and I just celebrated forty years together and he continues to be the apple of my eye. Thank you for this wonderful post.

  64. Loribeth says...

    Well this just made my heart explode.

  65. edie says...

    THIS. Something a normal newspaper would probably never feature (and if they did, it wouldn’t be half as charming as when Stella covers it) thanks for this glimpse into someone else’s love. :)

  66. Mel says...

    This is absolutely lovely. Brought such a smile to my face.

  67. Way to keep the fire burnin’ Jane & Terry! Such sound and simple advice for all, no matter the stage of relationship! Great story! My partner and I pack a picnic lunch most Saturdays after the household things are caught up. We hop in his old Toyota and he says “Which direction, lady?”. I point and he drives. We live in the city but are country folk at heart. Those aimless Saturday drives are good for recalibration! Keep the fire burnin’!! Thanks for this bright spot on a grey day :)

    • Jo says...

      Love this ❤️

  68. Liz says...

    Love this story

  69. Phoebe says...

    This is the best !!! Thank you for sharing this.

  70. gina solon says...

    this literally made my whole entire day.

    and as a very happily married person, two things that Jane said really resonated with me. apologizing often and being responsible for your own happiness.
    amen.

  71. Marina says...

    My husband (married last Saturday!) and I have walked a 3-4 mile walk to work together every morning for the past 3 years. It started when we were both working demanding jobs and were just too tired to connect at the end of the day. We grab a coffee and switch up the paths to keep it interesting. We never sleep past our alarms anymore because we really look forward to chatting and getting our heart rates up first thing in the morning. No more guilt for binge watching Netflix at night anymore.

  72. Rosie says...

    It may sound mundane, but my husband, our son and I love to go to Starbucks at night. We bring our favorite board games and order our usuals. When our son is caught up dancing or playing, my husband and I have a chance to connect and catch up. We all leave happy and refreshed.

  73. Whitney says...

    This is everything. Living life with your best friend alongside you makes life worth living.

  74. Janey says...

    Thank you Stella, this is just such a little ray of sunshine in my day. The world needs more Jane and Terrys! XO

  75. Sara says...

    Quite possibly one of my favorite “relationships” posts. I, too, had the same fear of running out of things to talk about to the point where I would look up conversation starters before dates with my now-husband. On one date, I confessed that I did this and, after chuckling, he asked me if I ever needed to use them. I told him no, he said, “So, you have nothing to worry about.” I haven’t. Even our silences are somehow conversational.

    • “Even our silences are somehow conversational.” This is one of those moments when someone beautifully puts into words a feeling that I’ve had. I love it! And I agree!

  76. Ramona says...

    Love isn’t always fireworks or fanciness…or milestone events or expensive ‘rewards/vacations”…it’s mostly important to maintain the everyday magical moments that make up our lives.

  77. Anne says...

    Every Valentine’s Day, my husband and I go to the chocolate store and fill a heart-shaped box with our favorites. We come home, open a bottle of wine, and share a bite of each chocolate.

  78. Oh my goodness, how precious! What a beautiful and happy post. Would love to see more like this. Thank you for putting a smile on my face :) xx

    • Sabrina says...

      I agree!!!!

  79. Stephanie says...

    I’ve thought the same thing about older couples, “what do they talk about after all that time?” So I love this!

  80. Jill says...

    I love this article so much! My favorite is ‘be generous with one another’. I need that advise!

  81. Wow! What a wonderful ritual and a beautiful story to read. I would love to meet someone with whom I could share a bottle of wine and a cheese board and just chat for a couple of hours at the end of the day. Pen x

    • Traci says...

      Right there with you, Pen!!

  82. Kimberly says...

    “The thing is, it’s just easier to be in a good mood. And be generous to one another, apologize often.”

    That is great life advice right there. Thank you.

  83. Cynthia says...

    This is the best post! My husband and I have been married for almost 40 years and we never run out of things to talk about. Last night I came home from work and my husband who’s retired, was baking home rolls! They smelled so good, I had to eat half of one before dinner. He bought steaks on sale because he thought I would enjoy a good rib eye and he made our favorite salad. It was a wonderful evening and there was enough salad for my lunch today.

    • Cynthia says...

      I meant homemade rolls.

  84. Nancy says...

    You did good Stella! This is the sweetest thing I’ve read in a long time–and such simple, good advice.

  85. Beth says...

    What a lovely, lovely story (and couple!).

  86. You do such a great job of noticing things, like a couple with their picnics, and then turning them into stories. That’s an important life skill, I think, in addition to job skill. :)

  87. Janice O'Kane says...

    This story is the BEST! Thank you for completely making my day!

  88. Hilary says...

    A few weeks into our relationship I surprised my (now) husband with a Valentine’s day picnic dinner (it’s summer here in February). He loved it, and we have celebrated V day ever since with a picnic dinner – we also regularly have a picnic dinner during the summer – sometimes we plan ahead, but often, if it’s lovely weather, we just spontaneously decide, throw something together and head to a local park to watch the sun go down. We have been doing this for nearly 17 years – it’s a beautiful way to spend an evening.

  89. Jan says...

    That is beautiful,reminds me of Paris.
    My husband and I are empty nesters. Married 31 years. We have one thing that we always do together. Crossword puzzles. We sometimes make it a date and go to McDonalds and do a puzzle while sipping a cup of coffee. Or we run errands and I bring along a crossword and we stop for lunch at Burger King and do a crossword. Sometimes we have breakfast then sit and do a crossword or in the evening we do a crossword after supper. The greatest thing about this is that it’s cheap,super easy to plan, gets us to think together, and often times it spurs a conversation about something. Sometimes we have to google the answer and we learn something together. I usually hold the pen and every once in a while I hand the pen to him and he is so happy. It’s a great little bond that I love to share with him. (He doesn’t like to play cards or board games so this works). I always say I am a cheap date but really we have gone to operas and plays and paid a lot for great seats. Those experiences are fun too but I love our (almost) daily putting our heads together time.

    • Em says...

      This is a great idea! As much as I try to get my husband to play cards, he just isn’t into them (I don’t get it). This might be a good substitute for us as well!

  90. I’ve been having a rough week and this was exactly what I’ve needed to read right now. Thanks for sharing this little spot of happiness with us. :)

  91. Kato says...

    Just fell in love with Jane and Terry❤️! Lovely piece

  92. HG says...

    this is so wonderful to see – thank you for posting this!

  93. Christina says...

    <3 <3 <3 "Oh no, that's terrible," as he topped her off. Be still, my heart! Thank you, Stella, for sharing this special moment with us. You've inspired me to look for similar moments in my own world. You gals are just the best!

  94. anna maria says...

    this is amazing. reminds me of one of the scenes of couples from When Harry Met Sally <3

  95. Erin says...

    “It’s just easier to be in a good mood”… I totally agree. I have a 24 hour rule before I get on my husband’s case about something. Any time he irritates me I wait until the next day, if it’s still bugging me I will say something but 90% of the time I’m over it. Life is chaotic enough without nagging about the small stuff!

    • Shelly says...

      That is great advice – I’ve been married only 16 years and I agree – wait 24 hrs.

    • I need to take this advice! Thanks in advance from my husband :)

  96. Alexandra L Zapczynski says...

    such a wonderful post – will hold onto these quotes tightly. <3

  97. Lily says...

    Omg I could not love this post more!

  98. Emmy says...

    Aww, yay UChicago romance!

  99. “It’s just easier to be in a good mood.” Oh god, how my life would change if I could just follow her advice!

    • Barbara says...

      This made me laugh. I’m in the same boat as you!

  100. Jenny says...

    I love this! How cute are they, and now I want to move there so I can do that too!

  101. Helen says...

    This. This is what makes a long term marriage successful:
    Any advice for other couples?
    Jane: The thing is, it’s just easier to be in a good mood. And be generous to one another, apologize often.
    Terry: When we’re spending time together, our slogan is to have as much fun as possible.
    Jane: Also, it’s important to remember that each partner is responsible for their own happiness. You can’t rely on the other one to always entertain you.

  102. April says...

    How lovely. What a beautiful couple and tradition. So nice to read something so purely positive these days.

  103. AJ says...

    Stella, this is really cool. Love their attitude to life and love. Great story and beautifully captured ❤️

  104. Amy says...

    Needed this today. Thank you for providing the mental nudge I needed to get my head on straight ❤️

  105. Maria says...

    Thanks, Stella, that was a great and surprising read, so glad you guys are always keeping it fresh at Cupofjo :)

  106. jenny says...

    This really warmed my heart. Thank you.

  107. alicia says...

    cutest thing ever

  108. Charlotte K says...

    They look like a great pair to know.

    If you tried to take a bottle of wine like that out to a public spot in Boston/Cambridge the cops would be on you so hard.

    I saw a sign in a park in England once that said, “it is forbidden to consume alcohol in this park when asked by a constable not to.” I love the flexibility there, i.e. if you are acting like an idiot they will ask you not to, but otherwise, have a nice time.

    • Alice says...

      Hahaha where was this!? I live in London, but grew up in Devon and have never seen something like this but LOVE it!

  109. Kathryn says...

    This makes my heart smile. What wonderful people!

  110. Katie says...

    What a wonderful post!! Stella, thank you so much for stopping and talking to them. I mean, this is one of my favorite cup of jo posts maybe, ever. Lovely <3

  111. BethAnn says...

    what a great tradition! taking tips from them, as they seem to know how to have a good time and stay in love!

  112. Amanda says...

    Earlier this year, my partner and I started Fancy Salad Fridays. We get takeout from a fancy salad restaurant we both like (Sweetgreen, for those of you who have one in your area) and go home and start our weekend with a tasty easy meal together. We both look forward to our fancy salad throughout the week and having an at-home date.

  113. Karen says...

    I LOVE this! Thank you!

  114. Brooke says...

    This is SO heart-warming!!

  115. Annie says...

    This is amazing! I love that they use real plates, glasses, silverware, etc. on their picnics. These two know how to live!

  116. Bravo, Stella! What a great slice of life story.

  117. Andrea smith says...

    Do they have kids?

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      They do not. xo

    • t says...

      I was wondering the same thing. Maybe that’s the secret to a happy marriage (I love my spouse but silence is what I need these days).

    • Paula says...

      Ha. I wondered that as well. We are on a cusp of being out of the diapers and sleepless nights and I can tell, I’m nicer to my husband, and he is kinder to me. So, to all the people reading this who are feeling down that their life isn’t as awesome as these two: if you have young kids, worry not. It ebbs and flows and sometimes that silence, or even a little tension is normal, and okay. Kids are chaos and then things get easier and you can have your picnics!

  118. Lauren says...

    YES TO ALL OF THIS! talk about #couplegoals
    A great relationship tip I once read is: Start your week by asking your partner what is one thing you can do to help make their week easier. Over the years our answers have included everything from “pick up dry cleaning” to “hug on me tuesday after the work meeting i’ve nervous about.” It reminds us that no matter what we are experiencing alone we also have someone to help us get through it.

    • C says...

      I love this!

  119. Hillary says...

    Saturday mornings are *our* time. We play music, have dance parties (with the dog,) talk about the bigger challenges and joys in our lives, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

  120. Jessica says...

    I LOVE this. Couple goals!
    My husband and I always find ourselves chatting with an older couple when we travel and find it so inspiring and fun. The main tip we’ve found too is to just communicate and and have fun. Cause life’s too short.

  121. oh my god. could not love this more!!!!!! faith in humanity is restored. so glad you introduced yourself to them.

  122. MJ says...

    This was so so good! Love this, thanks for sharing it with all of us :)

  123. Patricia says...

    This is so sweet. You can tell they just like each other. When I was thirty, I was dating a guy pretty seriously. He was nice and we never fought and we were even talking marriage. In my gut I sort of knew I wasn’t all in, but I was scared I would never find anyone else and I felt so old. About a year into this relationship, an ice storm hit my parents’ town. They were without power for three days. I was talking to my mom after a couple of days and I asked her if they were bored. She replied,”No! We are having so much fun. We are sleeping in front of the fire, and playing board games, and roasting marshmallows. Dad and I are having so much fun. I love being with him.” All I could think was, “Ugh, I would be so miserable if that happened to me and X.” I realized that if I didn’t want to be iced into a house with my boyfriend for three days, we should not be together. I promptly broke up with him. I am now happily married to a man that I would love to be stranded anywhere with.

    • Kathryn says...

      This is such good advice! A three day ice in test.

    • Tracy says...

      I love this, Patricia! It’s such a simple test to think about. I’d love to spend three straight days with my hubby, too!

    • Nina says...

      Yes! Storms and weathering flight delays is a good barometer.

    • Thanks for sharing with us this story, Patricia! I love it, it’s so heartwarming to hear how much fun can an older couple still have and get such joy and cheerfulness only from being together.

  124. Leah says...

    This is so cute!

  125. katie says...

    this is the BEST! reading this made my week. thank you!!

  126. Rachel says...

    This is so sweet! And they give wonderful advice!

  127. Carolyn says...

    This is absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  128. kiera says...

    Almost every weekend, we go for a walk around our neighbourhood. It started out that we would get a coffee and sit in the park watching the dogs, but its slowly evolved into going for lunch. We always pretend to each other that we are going to eat a healthy lunch somewhere, or come back home and eat, but inevitably we end up eating a massive brunch or dim sum somewhere. Something about this silly game feels like a sneaky inside joke, and makes it even more fun than a normal meal out.

  129. K says...

    Do they keep up the tradition in the winter?! Also, what a great use for an ironing board. :)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      They do until it gets too cold, then just Terry goes to promenade to read… and then Jane hosts a ladies night :)

    • K says...

      Stella, I hope you get an invite to ladies’ night! It could be a follow-up piece – The Secret to Great Friendships.

    • Lily says...

      Yes!

    • Mary says...

      I was wondering about the cold winter too! I love that she has ladies’ night in the winter. Such simple pleasures. The internet needs more of this!

  130. shannon says...

    Stella! What a beautiful story, and you’ve captured it so delightfully. Thank you for working up the nerve to crash the party (ha!) and for sharing.

  131. I love this! I remember sitting behind this couple on a flight. Right before takeoff they raised their hands as if they were on a rollercoaster till we were up in the clouds. Then they lowered them and looked at each other and just chuckled. They did the same thing as we were landing, including look and chuckle. :)

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      I am dying. Too good.

    • Lauren says...

      OMG! this.

  132. foundryandforge says...

    I’m not a morning person, unlike my partner. Saturday mornings, he’ll wake up early, put on his shoes, give me sweet kisses, and head out the door with my dog, Blue. They’ll start with a coffee at the Sightglass, then head over to the cafe across the street for a breakfast sandwich. Blue gets the last pieces of bacon, which I think, makes her morning. Then they’ll both come back with a croissant for me and we’ll start our weekend adventures!

    My goodness, I love them both so much.

    • Anne St.Jean says...

      This is so sweet, thanks for sharing. So happy you have this. I love love.

  133. Jamie Quiroz says...

    This is the sweetest, loveliest post!

  134. jac says...

    This is wonderful. Jane is brilliant!
    Jane: “The thing is, it’s just easier to be in a good mood. And be generous to one another, apologize often. Also, it’s important to remember
    that each partner is responsible for their own happiness. You can’t rely on
    the other one to always entertain you.”
    I wrote that down so I can remember it. <3

    • Such wise words!

    • Maclean Nash says...

      Me. Too!
      I needed this today, thank you Jane, Terry and Stella!

  135. I love this so much.
    My parents get up early to watch the sunrise and drink coffee together every day, and they have for as long as I can remember. Most days they play a round of backgammon, too — on the weekends, they play multiple rounds. (Basically they’ll play until they have both whupped each other.) They’ve been in love for 35 years, and that’s one of the things I admire most about their relationship: they choose to start every day by savoring their time together. They have busy lives and demanding schedules, but nothing is more important than that ritual.

    • Emily, My parents did the same. Married 49 years. Favorite part of their day. My mom passed away 2 years ago and my dad is lost without my mom and their little rituals. :(

  136. Andrea says...

    A cute tradition, but for anyone who lives in NYC, you wonder if they’ve ever been ticketed for an open container violation in those 24 years. Or, if those laws only apply to people outside of Brooklyn Heights.

    • Nicole says...

      I was also wondering about that! Are you allowed to drink in public in Brooklyn?

    • Amy says...

      Maybe they’re just too damn cute, so the cops look the other way. Or maybe their picnics got grandfathered in!

    • Katey says...

      The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is part of NYC Parks, so technically alcohol is not allowed (alcohol is prohibited in all NYC Parks). I wonder how they’ve managed all these years?!

    • Kathleen says...

      We all know they get away with it because they are rich-looking, old white people, right? I’m not saying they shouldn’t do it but let’s be real. It is a privilege

  137. Anne says...

    Oh how I love love. This brought so much joy to my heart. It’s especially well-timed as I just got engaged this past weekend–looking forward to building my own Jane and Terry ritual with my partner :)

  138. I lived on Clark street for three years and was always at the promenade and never saw them!! How perfectly charming. Sad I missed them all those years but so happy to know people appreciate how magical it is to live in Brooklyn Heights!!

  139. Liz says...

    well if this is not the cutest thing ever!

  140. “it’s important to remember that each partner is responsible for their own happiness.”

    YES. THIS.

  141. This is seriously the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Thank you for sharing! :)

  142. Karen says...

    My parents have those lawn chairs!! So I immediately assumed that they were the secret to a happy marriage ;)

    On a serious note, this was a lovely piece, Stella. Thank you, Jane and Terry for sharing.

    • Em says...

      Hahaha I love this comment so much!

    • Melissa says...

      Ha! This made me laugh out loud.

  143. Anela says...

    I worry about running out of things to talk about too! What a lovely couple. Reminded me of the When Harry Met Sally interviews. Thank you for this one!

    • Savannah says...

      My thought too! Oh Billy Crystal my grandpa crush forever!

    • Sally says...

      It reminded me of the When Harry Met Sally interviews, too! And didn’t Harry and Sally meet after graduating from the University of Chicago?

  144. Rose says...

    Enjoyed this so much! I know it’s already a repeat topic for this blog, but it would be fun to have a regular column specifically for marriage and relationship tips from older couples. They’re just so enchanting and wise!

    • M says...

      I love that idea!! ❤️

    • McNeill says...

      Yes!!

  145. Katie says...

    This is the best, hands-down, best thing I have read in forever. The look on Jane’s face in that photo is so beautiful and full of love.
    Couldn’t this world use a little more Jane and Terry? I think so.
    Thank you.

  146. Sarah K says...

    Okay, this made my whole day. Lovely in every way. Thank you, Jane and Terry—and Stella, for writing this slice of happiness and hope.

  147. C says...

    This makes my heart sing. Especially love the comment on how conversation is even more abundant as time goes on.

  148. Steph F. says...

    What do they do in winter? Do they still have their picnic? My parents do something similar but they live near the beach in Miami. I’m trying to convince them to move to NYC so will definitely use Terry & Jane as an example!! :)

    • SK says...

      I was wondering the exact same thing re: wintertime!

  149. Lula says...

    Feeling serious love for this wonderful post! Particularly loved Jane’s advice ‘it’s important to remember that each partner is responsible for their own happiness. You can’t rely on the other one to always entertain you.’ So true.

  150. Oh my goodness, this is the cutest thing in the world!