When it Comes to Love, This is What Really Matters
September 9, 2018
Southeast
Today is National Grandparent's Day. Which is sort of a mixed bag of emotion. Why do we need a day to celebrate the best part of our world? And yet as life gets busier and busier, a day like today is also a simple reminder that we need to slow down, to sit alongside family, to open our hearts to the life well lived of the people who came before us and learn from the lessons that only that life well lived can teach. Today, we have the most beautiful love story - a marriage of 55 years, a love that began with one bridesmaid and a borrowed dress - with photographs by the lovely, lovely Hannah Forsberg. And a lesson that after all of the gifts have been opened, the kisses kissed and the hugs hugged...it's the marriage that matters most.
From Hannah Forsberg... In a culture that often treats love and marriage as disposable, Judi and Dave are a couple that have a beautiful and rare story of just the opposite. Not only are they such a joy to be around and wonderful mentors, but they are also dear friends. I’ve had the privilege of watching their marriage for years and the way they love each other unconditionally is an inspiration and testament to the popular verse that is so often recited during weddings from 1 Corinthians 13:8 which says, “Love never fails”.
While getting coffee with Judi and hearing her advice on love and marriage, I realized that I needed to share their story with the world. During the wedding planning process, it is so easy in this visually-driven society we live in to become caught up in the things that will pass away – forgetting that your marriage is what matters most and that it is hard work. Love goes beyond the wedding day. You only have your venue for a few hours, your flowers will fade, your wedding dress will go into storage, and your wedding album will be sitting on your living room table. But your marriage? That is what matters most and that is what will have the lasting effect. I hope that these images serve as a reminder that love is a commitment – a commitment of humility, patience, and forgiveness. I hope that that these images inspire you to remember that love is walking hand in-hand together, growing, learning, and striving – that yes, while it is still hard work, true love exists.
Judi and Dave’s joy is infectious and they spent this afternoon wrapped up into each other, whispering secrets and telling stories.  I was left without words after spending that day with them, in awe of how tender and infatuated they are with each other. When Judi walked out in her gorgeous outfit, gorgeous Ginger Rose bouquet, and all made up by Erin Ryser, Dave said: “Wow, will you marry me all over again?” My heart melted. There were so many other moments like this, where he helped her out down a flight of stairs and continuously opening doors for her and knowing just what to say to make her laugh. It’s the days like these where I am left overwhelmed by the fact that it is such a privilege to be a photographer and reminded that it is because of love and stories like this that I became a photographer in the first place.
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From Dave, the groom... Judi and I met in Cheyenne, Wyoming where I was serving in the Air Force and where Judi was attending Stewardess Training for United Airlines. I was from Indiana and Judi grew up in Illinois, so we had the mid-west in common. It was a short 4 ½ weeks of getting to know one another and in that short time together, we fell in love and promised to marry each other. The only obstacle was I had an overseas commitment left in my tour of duty.  I was sent to Puerto Rico and we began writing letters to each other every day for the next two years until I finished my tour of duty. After I was able to obtain leave of service, we became engaged over a New Year’s weekend on January 1st 1963 at 12:01am. We married that same year in September after I was discharged.

What was important to both of us was to be together after waiting and being separated by distance for almost 2 years. We had hardly any money so our wedding day was very simple. We loved each other and that is what mattered. Our wedding was one bridesmaid, a borrowed wedding dress, and one best man in a church in Judi’s home town of Downers Grove, Illinois.

My favorite thing about Judi is that she loves learning and is very diligent in her pursuits. She makes wise choices with her gift of creativity, which is shown in every room in our home.  She is always industrious and I love telling others how much of a Proverbs 31 woman she has become in our almost 55 years of marriage. She works hard; plans ahead; respects me greatly; is a wise counselor; and is a wonderful model of a Godly woman.

From Judi, the bride... What I love about Dave is that He is a patient man, asks good questions, is not a rash decision maker. I have learned a lot from him. He is conservative by nature, orderly and thorough at everything he does.  I trust him implicitly.  He is kind and generous and has given me a lot of freedom to develop my interests without demanding anything from me.  Of course, this causes me to want to serve and love him more. The most honest thing that I can say about love is that love is learned behavior.  It can be romantic, but often is just living and serving each other, working together toward healthy living with family, children, parents, in-laws etc. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the years and advise other couples is to accept each other and don’t try to change the person.  Pray for your spouse, ask God to make changes in YOU, and let God move your spouse’s heart.