I’m about to get a little sappy, friends, and I’m not even ashamed of it.
No matter how many photos I’ve seen of anniversary sessions, I will literally never tire of them.
That’s because one of the most cherished dreams of my life is reaching old age with my husband, because that means we will have had the opportunity to live all of those years alongside each other – something that not everyone is so lucky to do.
If I am granted those years, I can’t help but think that I’ll look at the age spots on both of our hands with tenderness instead of regret or disgust (reactions which seem so common in our youth-obsessed culture). Those age spots will mean we’re still by each other’s side, holding each other’s hands. And in a world where it seems so easy for things to go wrong even for people who do everything right, that is nothing short of a miracle.
Friends, please enjoy these anniversary photos of Judi and Dave, by their friend, photographer Hannah Forsberg. And don’t miss the thoughts from all three of them, sprinkled throughout!
From Hannah: In a culture that often treats love and marriage as disposable, Judi and Dave are a couple that have a beautiful and rare story of just the opposite. Not only are they such a joy to be around and wonderful mentors, but they are also dear friends. I’ve had the privilege of watching their marriage for years and the way they love each other unconditionally is an inspiration and testament to the popular verse that is so often recited during weddings — “love never fails.”
While getting coffee with Judi and hearing her advice on love and marriage, I realized that I needed to share their story with the world. During the wedding planning process, it is so easy in this visually-driven society we live in to become caught up in the things that will pass away – forgetting that your marriage is what matters most and that it is hard work. Love goes beyond the wedding day. You only have your venue for a few hours, your flowers will fade, your wedding dress will go into storage, and your wedding album will be sitting on your living room table. But your marriage? That is what matters most and that is what will have the lasting effect. I hope that these images serve as a reminder that love is a commitment – a commitment of humility, patience, and forgiveness.
From Dave: Judi and I met in Cheyenne, Wyoming where I was serving in the Air Force and Judi was attending stewardess training for United Airlines. It was a short four and a half weeks of getting to know one another, but in that short time, we fell in love and promised to marry each other. The only obstacle was I had an overseas commitment left in my tour of duty. I was sent to Puerto Rico, and we began writing letters to each other every day for the next two years until I finished my tour of duty. After I was able to obtain leave of service, we became engaged over a New Year’s weekend on January 1st, 1963 at 12:01am. We married that same year in September after I was discharged.
What was important to both of us was to be together after waiting and being separated by distance for almost two years. We had hardly any money, so our wedding day was very simple. We loved each other, and that is what mattered. Our wedding was one bridesmaid, a borrowed wedding dress, and one best man in a church in Judi’s home town of Downers Grove, Illinois.
My favorite thing about Judi is that she loves learning and is very diligent in her pursuits. She makes wise choices with her gift of creativity, which is shown in every room in our home. She is always industrious, and I love telling others how much of a Proverbs 31 woman she has become in our almost 55 years of marriage. She works hard, plans ahead, respects me greatly, is a wise counselor, and is a wonderful model of a Godly woman.
From Judi: What I love about Dave is that he is a patient man, asks good questions, and is not a rash decision maker. I have learned a lot from him. He is conservative by nature, orderly and thorough at everything he does. I trust him implicitly. He is kind and generous and has given me a lot of freedom to develop my interests without demanding anything from me. Of course, this causes me to want to serve and love him more. The most honest thing that I can say about love is that love is learned behavior. It can be romantic, but often it is just living and serving each other, working together toward healthy living with family, children, parents, in-laws, etc. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years and give as advice to other couples is to accept each other and don’t try to change the person. Pray for your spouse, ask God to make changes in YOU, and let God move your spouse’s heart.