Jerry and I have been so excited to tackle a little project lately highlighting some of the couples that I first photographed in the beginning of my career (some of them 6 and 7 years ago now.. Wow! time flies!). We’ve reached a few of those couples over the last few months and have plans to be highlighting each of them here and there throughout the next year, but we are excited to kick this project off with Amy and John Herlihy who celebrated their 6th year of marriage yesterday!
We knew we wanted to go beyond just giving these couples a shout-out and a simple ‘congrats’ on their anniversaries to highlight them because we know just how deep the meaning of an anniversary is. Marriage is tough. It takes work. And effort and involvement from both spouses. And as deceiving as it can look, marriage is certainly not just about a pretty wedding day that we get to photograph and then they get to live ‘happily ever after’. The wedding day is only a drop in the bucket compared to the life-long commitment and challenges that each couple we photograph will face together.
Jerry and I have both been divorced before so we have a great passion for encouraging healthy marriages. Marriages that keep God at the center and their focus on each other. Marriages that pay close attention to each other’s needs, and encouraging spouses to spend quality time together and to pick each other above all else. Just like your car needs a consistent tank of gasoline to drive – your marriage needs constant fuel to thrive. (Please read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman WITH your spouse if you haven’t!) And rest assured that if your marriage does not get this fuel on a regular basis it will not thrive.
So part of what we wanted to do in highlighting these couples that have survived the test of time thus far into their marriage was to ask for a bit of a testimony into their marriage, the joys and struggles that comes with it, and the fuel they use to keep it driving forward!
I met up with the Herlihy’s recently for a quick little mini-shoot of their family (on the same pier that we photographed some of their portraits on their wedding day!) And asked them to give some insight into their marriage:
1. What are some of your favorite ways of spending quality time together and how do you make sure to schedule in that quality time when your lives get busy?
“We enjoy quiet time together after the kids have gone to bed watching movies and snuggling on the couch. We try to have date night whenever possible to get a sitter and go out to dinner. Our lives stay super busy so sometimes we actually have to write down on our calendar “family day” to make sure that important quality time isn’t overlooked. Even when one of us has to work late and we get home tired and/or hungry…we sit down at the end of each day to catch up with one another and unwind.”
2. What are some of the little ways you show you love each other on a daily basis?
“His response: Because I am often at work early in the morning, she will text me in the mornings or call on the way to work to say “I love you.” I really enjoy when she rubs my shoulders or gives me a neck massage after a long day at work.
Her response: He does the dishes or loads of laundry, a woman’s favorite (right?!) He comes up behind me while I’m cooking in the kitchen and kisses me on the neck or wraps his arms around me. Sometimes out of the blue he will dip me in the kitchen for a kiss or begin to dance with me when there isn’t any music. He makes a point to kiss me each morning before he leaves for work because it’s still dark outside and I’m usually sleeping when he leaves. When he goes grocery shopping he sometimes brings home my favorite doughnuts!!”
3. Is marriage today the same as you thought it would be the day you got married?
“His response: No. Much harder than I expected. At the beginning its fun and easy going but then after a while you start to get on each other’s nerves. Sometimes you have to work hard at not killing each other! There were MAJOR adjustments on my part. The sacrifices required of being a parent and husband were something that I wasn’t fully aware of until I was in that role myself. BUT, even when you find out each other’s flaws and you still realize how much you love that person, it makes it that much better.
Her response: I was so caught up in how much in love we were and how perfect he is FOR ME that I honestly wasn’t concerned with how things would be later down the road. I was so wrapped up in the feeling of how right it was that we were together that nothing else about marriage mattered because I had found the man God made for me. When I said those marriage vows I meant every word and took to heart that those vows meant “forever.” I guess I just jumped in with both feet with the faith of knowing it was all right and everything was going to be ok. And it has been a wonderful “happily ever after!” I was already a single mom when we met so there were definitely adjustments, but on my part they were mostly a breath of fresh air!! This man of mine is better than any dream I could have ever come up with.”
4. What steps do you take to get through an argument or disagreement peacefully when it arises.. because we all know it happens sometimes!
“Honestly…We don’t! Ha ha, we really don’t argue often (it’s true) but when we do it’s major and we go at it hard!! We try not to argue in front of our children and if they are in the house at the time, we do our best to do it quietly. It is important to us that our kids see us as parents that love each other. We are both very passionate and stubborn so when we disagree, we strongly disagree. With that said, it makes the making up part that much sweeter ;)”
5. How have you made your bond as husband and wife unbreakable?
“We started it that way. We didn’t go into our relationship with the idea of “this could work out.” We clicked so well from the beginning and have always been amazingly compatible. We support each other and love one another so much and on such an equal level. We know that, without a doubt, we have each other’s back. If people are getting married that should mean that it will always be unbreakable. Marriage is a serious commitment that you should never make unless you know in your heart and soul that person is the only one for you. We are so crazy in love with each other and those feelings came pretty quickly when we first started dating. We have always been faithful and truthful with one another about everything.”
6. Lastly! What is your BIGGEST piece of marriage advice to brides and grooms getting ready to say their vows to each other?
“His response: Never ever put your own wants over those of your spouse or kids. Don’t be selfish.
Her response: Love passionately and fearlessly. If you are ready to make that commitment then be absolutely sure that you can jump in with both feet without any doubt. And always kiss each other goodnight.”
And here is a photo from their wedding SIX years ago yesterday on this same pier! Biggest congrats and even bigger blessings to Amy and John as they embark on the next six :-)
If I photographed your wedding 3+ years ago and you live in the North Eastern NC/Hampton Roads area (or will be visiting this area sometime!) and would like to encourage engaged and newlywed couples to keep the fuel to their marriage alive with a testimony from your marriage please let me know!! I’d love to gift you a mini-shoot of you and your spouse/family in exchange for your encouragement and advice for these incredibly special couples embarking on a great new adventure!