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Elevens are for love - Couple marks 11th anniversary on 11/11/11

Friday, November 11, 2011

Larry and Dorothy Ruhland, who are celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary on 11/11/11, said they didn't plan for it to land on this date -- it just happened. The Ruhlands live their lives surrounded by their family, and say their marriage reflects a saying hung on their wall: "Grow old with me, the best is yet to be."
Eleven years ago, Larry and Dorothy Ruhland didn't realize they'd be celebrating their 11th anniversary on the date 11/11/11.

"We never gave it a thought," Larry said.

Sitting next to him on their living room couch, Dorothy smiled.

"We joked that it was Armistice Day and we were signing a truce, but that's it," she added.

In fact, getting married on Nov. 11 was actually the backup plan for the Le Mars couple.

Both widowed in their first marriages, Larry and Dorothy have seven children, 23 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, and have always been big supporters of them -- including in sports.

"We'd set the date for Nov. 18 to get married, but it looked like the Gehlen football team would be going to state, so we pushed it up to the 11th," Larry explained.

It wasn't until this past summer that they realized the significant date this year's anniversary would fall on.

"Larry said, 'we didn't get to celebrate our 50th anniversaries in our other marriages, so let's celebrate this one,'" Dorothy said.

So they are.

After their anniversary Mass on Sunday, Nov. 13, at St. James Catholic Church -- where they were married -- they're celebrating their 11th anniversary with family and hosting an open house at Mr. P's Pizza and Sports Grill.

In what has become a sort of tradition, they decided to move the celebration to that date from Nov. 11 because Gehlen's volleyball team might be playing on the 11th.

While they're marking just 11 years of marriage, Dorothy and Larry have been friends for much longer.

Dorothy's first husband, Dale Kessenich, grew up as Larry's neighbor and they ran around together.

Then, more than three decades ago, Larry and his first wife, Mary, and Dorothy and Dale joined the same card club.

For years the club got together at least once a month to socialize, and they always went to the Friends of Gehlen Ball as a group.

"Our kids grew up together," Dorothy said. "His older daughters babysat for us."

When Larry lost his wife to Alzheimer's and Dorothy lost her husband to a sudden heart attack, they found themselves in the same boat and supported each other.

At first, getting married again wasn't in the plans, Dorothy said.

But "good friends became better friends," and they spent more and more time together, she said.

Their first date was at the Gehlen Ball, where they went -- as was tradition -- with their card club.

For the wedding Nov. 11, 2000, Dorothy picked a classy royal blue gown and Larry bought a new suit -- which he plans to wear for the 11th anniversary celebration.

Their ceremony included a sermon by her brother, a deacon, who then married the couple.

The theme of his talk, coincidentally, mirrored the song they had chosen for the wedding, "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be."

Now the saying is printed on a plaque in their living room.

"That's what we're doing -- growing old," Larry joked.

What has made their 11 years together sweet?

"Our faith. Our church. That comes first," Dorothy said.

She and Larry even pray the Rosary together in the car when they're traveling -- and traveling is one of their favorite things to do together.

The two 11-year-lovebirds see plenty of good in each other, too.

"She's so thoughtful," Larry said.

"And he's always thanking me," Dorothy added.

Larry said Dorothy mends his grandchildren's clothes -- even jeans that "don't even resemble jeans anymore."

"She's so good to them," Larry said.

Their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are a big part of their lives, they agreed.

"We go to all their sports things, and we enjoy the little ones so much," Dorothy said.

Larry said it's a little easier being married the second time around.

"It's different than the first time," he said. "All the pressure's off -- you're not raising your family then."

As a couple, they work to keep the peace.

"We've never had an argument in 11 years -- we might not have always agreed, but we never argue," Dorothy said.

Their one downfall? Fishing.

Dorothy likes it, Larry doesn't.

"And when he goes, he catches more fish than I do," Dorothy laughed.

With 11 years under their belt, the couple is looking forward to the next 11, and then some.

Dorothy looked over at her husband and smiled.

"He's taking care of me," she said.

Nov. 11, or 11/11/11, will also be a date to remember for many other couples who are tying the knot.

Across the United States, more than 24,900 couples plan to tie the knot on Friday, Nov. 11 -- that's the number of brides registered on The Knot Wedding Network.

That's considerably higher than the average of about 1,650 weddings on a given Friday in November, according to the The Knot.

In Plymouth County, three couples have already filed for a marriage license that day.

"For us in our county, that is quite a few for one single day," a representative from the Plymouth County Recorder's Office said.

One couple is Christine Stowers and Aaron Moon, of Westfield, who are planning a 3 p.m. ceremony at the Plymouth County Historical Museum on 11/11/11.

"We were going to get married at the courthouse, but it's closed because of the holiday (Veterans Day)," Stowers said. "We're going to get married in the museum's Religious Heritage Room. The lady marrying us has another wedding at 4 p.m. and another one at 5 p.m."

Stowers said getting married to Moon on 11/11/11 should be memorable -- literally.

"I figured it would be an easy day for him to remember," Stowers said with a chuckle. "And how often does it happen -- all the numbers line up."

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