Hero & Leander were excited to discover the recent photography exhibition entitled, “To Grow Old With You”, that grows sweeter with age and depicts the love stories of 15 couples. Wedding photographer, Stephanie Jarstad began this photographic series as a personal project and we adore it. “The fifteen couples that participated were strangers to me when I interviewed them. Each shared their love story with me and a few pearls of wisdom. We laughed together, sometimes cried together, and became dear friends.”

As a wedding photographer Stephanie is constantly surrounded by people in love and for her it is such an honour to document such a monumental day in a couple’s life. “I love to hear about all the firsts. The first date. The first kiss. The first time they said I love you. I wanted to document love from the other end of the timeline. Years down the road, and thousands of dates, kisses and I love you’s later. This love bears a new sense of resiliency. The test of time reveals what it means to love and honour in sickness and in health. As a couple grows old together, love transforms from something shiny and new, to something polished and preserved.” 

With society’s high divorce rate, statistics show an increase in martial age, and a lack of confidence in marriage. Stephanie wanted to showcase the years of wisdom that these couples possess and instil hope in the future generation. “I think my (millennial) generation apprehensively approaches marriage with the question, Am I going to make it? Will I beat the statistic?”  Her philosophy stems from a quote by Aristotle and guides her photography, “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your calling.” She believes that the world needs strong, healthy marriages and families and felt called to use photography as a vehicle to document these strong couples and boy are we glad she did.

“I’ve always been interested in a good love story. My mother recalls that even as a small child, I would ask her multiple times to share stories of how she met my father, and about their wedding. Throughout this project, I’ve realized how a relationship begins is far less important than how it endures. Some couples knew they found “the one” in an instant, others struggled and toiled, and some didn’t like each other at all in the beginning. Each couple is unique. Some bound together by light hearts, others a oneness with God. A common thread among all the couples was respect and a determination to care for the other. Hollywood provides countless stories of effortless passion and falling in love. Romance need not be effortless. In the end the effort and grit is what endures. These couple’s also retained a gleam in their eye when they talk about their partner and how they met. May we all roll up our sleeves and work hard to polish and preserve our love stories.”

Doug & Fran

Doug & Fran: Love Stories

Doug & Fran: 55 Years of Marriage

“We dated eight years. We broke up and got back together six times. We just couldn’t communicate. But the stars kept bringing us back together. We are still working on that communication thing, but our love grows deeper every day.”

 

Steve & Cheryl- 49 years of marriage

Steve & Cheryl: Love Stories

Steve & Cheryl: 49 Years of Marriage

“My family worried about Steve being from a broken home and tried to talk me out of marrying him. Having a very difficult time making decisions for myself, I let my mother influence all of them. I prayed about marrying him and my answer was like lightning. So, he drove all the way out to Utah from California and we decided to elope that Friday!”

 

Ray & Tess- 54 years of marriage

Ray & Tess: Love Stories

Ray & Tess: 54 Years of Marriage

“Ray was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 4 years ago. To this day, no matter what happens to him, if you ask him what he would like to do, he always responds, with “Whatever Tess wants to do.” That is the one thing he never seems to forget!”

 

Lloyd & Helen Fay- 64 years of marriage

Lloyd & Helen Fay: Love Stories

Lloyd & Helen Fay: 64 Years of Marriage

“He has a twin brother and I have a twin brother. We rode the school bus together since I was in the third grade and he was in the sixth grade. I was sixteen and he was eighteen when we got married. Now we have 30 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. We sure are glad we rode that school bus together.”

 

Robert & Patricia- 23 years of marriage

Robert & Patricia: Love Stories

Robert & Patricia: 23 Years of Marriage

“We met on a blind date. My niece set us up and we went to Chuck-a-rama. She didn’t like me at all and I didn’t like her dog.”

 

Chancey & Bertha- 71 years of marriage

Chancey & Bertha: Love Stories

Chancey & Bertha- 71 Years of Marriage

“We went on a hike up Mt. Timpanogos in the summer of 1944. Six months later we were engaged. We’ve worked hard together to raise our thirteen children.”

 

Jan & Richard- 65 years of marriage

Jan & Richard: Love Stories

Jan & Richard- 65 Years of Marriage

Jan: “We met in 8th grade. I asked him out to a Sadie Hawkins dance in the ninth grade. He said he would have to get back to me!
Richard: “I really just meant I was too young to drive, and I had to ask my dad if he could drive us.
Jan: “I took that to mean he was waiting for a better offer.
Richard: “She sat across from me in our English class and I had to answer all her questions, or maybe it was the other way around. We got married right out of high school when we were 17. I tell people we were teenagers. I say she was 19 and I was 13. Laughter is important in our marriage. I let her have her sewing room. I stay out of there and she stays out of my glass cutting room.

 

Larry & Darylnn- 44 years of marriage

Larry & Darylnn: Love Stories

Larry & Darylnn: 44 Years of Marriage

“He was actually dating my cousin. My aunt really liked him, so she arranged a party to get them back together. We met at that party and ended up dating. We will be eternally grateful to Aunt Dawn for arranging a party that neither of us wanted to go to. We still have a date night every Friday.”

 

Andrew & Norma- 57 years of marriage

Andrew & Norma: Love Stories

Andrew & Norma: 57 Years of Marriage

“We met when I was working at a women’s dress shop in California, and he was working next door at a men’s clothing store. Every morning we’d both go out to sweep the side walk. One day our brooms met. Day after day, we fell in love on that side walk in front of those stores. He swept me off my feet!”

 

Alan & Melanie- 11 Years of marriage

Alan & Melanie: Love Stories

Alan & Melanie: 11 Years of Marriage

“I was just hired as an Administrator at a nursing home. There was quite a bit of junk in the back and I needed to burn down some of the weeds. I called the fire department for a burn permit, and Alan showed up. He came back a week later and asked if we could have dinner. I resisted at first, but I said yes. Alan knew right away that he wanted to marry me. I was resistant, but he knew. This was our second marriage. It is important to be humble and unselfish. The biggest problem is when you think of yourself first. Marriage requires eternal fortitude. I didn’t get the burn permit until years later. I got something much, much better.”

 

George & Diane- 60 years of marriage

George & Diane: Love Stories

George & Diane: 60 Years of Marriage

“He asked me if I would go out with him and I told him I had plans. He asked me about the next week and the next week, and I honestly had a date every week. So he never called after that. That brings us to the next quarter. He had forgotten meeting me, and asked me out again.One way we stay unified is just by getting old. We have never been old before, and we are just learning how to be old together. We rely on one another for health issues that come up. The best marital advice we received was, “Don’t try to change each other, just get used to each other and look for the good traits.”
George: “Diane, would it be all right to tell her that you were Miss Oregon?
Diane: “Aw that was 100 years ago!

 

Mervin & Carolyn Beckstrand- 56 years of marriage

Mervin & Carolyn Beckstrand: Love Stories

Mervin & Carolyn Beckstrand: 56 Years of Marriage

“We met in an economics class. I was just studying the young lady in the class.
Life is so uncertain. You need to have faith. When we got married, we did not have a lot. We just jumped in with both feet and started working. It will always take effort. We are closer now than we have ever been in our entire lives!”

 

Stephanie photographed all, but one of these couples four years ago. This year she decided to add to the series. Nominations for couples can be sent to studio@stephaniejarstad.com

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