LDS Photographer Documents 609 Years of Eternal Love

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Image via stephaniejarstad.com.

Stephanie Jarstad loves love stories.

As a veteran wedding photographer, Jarstad enjoys hearing how young couples found each other and fell head over heels in love. In a new photo series, Jarstad documents how sweet young love only grows sweeter with age.

The series, “To Grow Old With You,” features fifteen couples that Jarstad met outside of a Latter-day Saint temple. These meetings resulted in impromptu interview and photo sessions, creating a beautiful series of inspiring love stories.

On her blog, Jarstad explains her experience with these couples, saying,

Each shared their love story with me and a few pearls of wisdom. We laughed together, sometimes cried together, and became dear friends.

Below are a few of LDS.net’s favorites from Jarstad’s series.

Doug & Fran: 55 Years of Marriage

Doug and Fran

“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 and CherylThe 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.”

Mervin & Carolyn: 56 Years of Marriage

Mervin and Carolyn

“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!”

George & Diane: 60 years of marriage

George and Diane

“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!”

Richard & Jan: 65 Years of Marriage

Richard and Jan

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.”

Check out Jarstad’s entire “To Grow Old With You” photo series on her blog, stephaniejarstad.com.

Kylie is a writer at LDS.net and graduate of BYU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in a Chicago suburb where she gained a passion for the Chicago Cubs. She enjoys writing and live event video production.