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Can you picture being married for 50 years? What will your future be like with your spouse? Traveling, celebrating holidays together, building a family, creating your own traditions, having and raising children, and eventually growing gray together… I remember one day when I was in college and I was at my grandparents’ house, chatting with my Mamaw at her kitchen table. At one point, my Papaw walked up to her and jokingly jabbed her in the arm with his hand and had a big grin on his face. They just “got each other”. When he walked away I asked her, “How do you succeed in a marriage relationship?” By this time, they had been married a little more than 50 years. Her response? “Keep God first” and “always talk about everything together”. Then she followed up with this: “God made Eve from the rib of Adam because He wanted them to walk side by side.” And they truly lived all of this out. They were life partners and took care of one another. Love was always evident in their home, and their faith and marriage relationship still inspire me today.

When Debbie contacted me about capturing their 50th wedding anniversary, I was thrilled to document such a precious occasion. Bill and Debbie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in November 2019, and when I worked with them at the Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Virginia, I couldn’t help but feel inspired. The love they have for one another was obvious in their smiles and sweet glances. Such tenderness.

When I see newly engaged couples I think of couples like Bill and Debbie who have worked hard together to grow in their marriage. What an incredible example they are to those who dream of one day in the future celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.

As you prepare to pop the question and get married, it is important to consider your “forever commitment” with the love of your life. Your wedding will take a great deal of time to plan for so that it will always be a memorable event in your life. Weddings exude so much beauty and romance. It is so important though, to consider the commitment to love and build a strong foundation for your relationship. Your marriage is more than gorgeous flowers, elegant bridal gowns, dapper tuxedos and amazing venues. A good marriage takes a lot of work. I think it’s because is isn’t always easy to put your spouse’s needs ahead of your own. It is a constant process of communicating and yielding to one another as you grow more into one each and every day. It is a partnership in which two people work at loving each other well, and results in a beautiful expression of selfless love.