609 Years of Love Stories That Grow Sweeter With Age

As a wedding photographer, I love hearing about all the firsts. How you first met. When you first fell in love. How he proposed. I feel blessed to be able to document love. The pure, genuine, starry eyed kind.

I’m excited to share with you a photo series called, “To Grow Old With You”, that grows sweeter with age. 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. Cheers to the month of love.

Doug & Fran: 55 Years of Marriage

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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

The story of how we met needs a little preface. Both of our grandparents were candy distributors in Provo, and our parents both catered. Following in their footsteps, we now own a catering business.

Steve: Though I was not acquainted with Cheryl, I grew up singing with her older brother and sister at Brigham Young High School in Provo. After high school, we both moved from Provo to different areas of California. As fate would have it, We ended up at the same dance in California. I brought a date, whom I took home early after seeing Cheryl there. I came back to the dance and asked her brother who the girl with him was. After the dance was over, I shouted across the parking lot, “You don’t need to worry about your kid sister. I will take her home!” That only worked because of my years of history with her brother.

Cheryl: My family wasn’t very supportive of our relationship since Steve comes from a broken home. They 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. Of course I respected my parents, but I also needed to learn to trust in the Lord. I fasted and prayed and my answer was like lightening. So, he drove all the way out to Utah from California and we decided to elope that Friday! Crazy, I know. I look back on that answer and it gives me the strength to endure any challenge.

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 

He has a twin brother and I have a twin brother, and we rode the school bus together. I was in the third grade and he was in the sixth grade. We fell in love riding on the school bus and going to baseball games together. I was eighteen and she was sixteen when we got married.

I made it a priority to do anything I could to provide for my family. I’ve herded sheep, ran a saw mill, run a farm, bailed hay. We’ve stayed active in the church all our lives and that’s kept our family together. We have 30 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. We sure are glad we rode that school bus together.

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.

We’ve been on three service missions together and it’s important to say I love you everyday.

Chauncey & 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.

Richard & Jan: 65 Years of Marriage

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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

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. Oh, and don’t worry, my cousin married her eternal companion too.

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 sidewalk. One day our brooms met, and we fell in love on that sidewalk in front of those stores. We talked everyday and he swept me off my feet!

Gentle humor and a light heart to not take things too seriously unifies our marriage. We love spending time with our children. We have 36 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren in the area. Once a month we try to get everyone together. We like planning service projects with our family clan. Prayer within our home is the best defense for struggles. Love means respecting the person you are with and knowing about them deeply.

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. I had my horse trailer in the back and he has horses. So we started visiting and we could tell we had similar interests. He asked me out and my first reaction was, “Oh no. I’m not having anything to do with this.” Thank heavens the Lord is smarter than I am, because Heavenly Father told me this is what I was supposed to be doing. He came back a week later and asked if we could have dinner. I was resisted at first, but I said yes. It was the best move I ever made. Alan knew right away. I was resistant, but he knew.

This was our second marriage. I could just imagine the Lord saying, “Let me help you with this one dear.” You need to have eternal fortitude to stay there. It is important to be humble and unselfish. The biggest problem is when you think of yourself first. It’s so easy to do. the natural man. Try and be empathetic to how they see things.

I didn’t get the burn permit until years later. I got something much, much better.

George & Diane: 60 years of marriage

We met in the Library. Well, that was our second meeting. We actually met at church. He introduced himself and then later that night called me at home. 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. I was studying in the library. I saw him looking over at me and he came over and introduced himself. I remembered him, but he had forgotten me! That is where it all began. He walked me back to heritage halls and we talked and talked, and became acquainted.

One way we stay unified is just by getting old. We have never been old before, and we are just trying to learn how to be old together. We rely on one another for health issues that come up. Someone said I’m over the hill. That’s funny, I don’t ever remember being on top! Diane is a wonderful, wonderful wife.

We have a lot in common now. We didn’t have a lot in common when we were first married. 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: 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!
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!”
— Robert Browning

This is a continuing project. Nominations can be sent to studio@stephaniejarstad.com