With the husband's grandparents on our wedding day. They'll be celebrating 68 years of marriage later this year. They were the inspiration for this project.
Imagine being married for fifty years. That’s eighteen thousand two hundred and sixty-two mornings of waking up next to the love of your life. Drinking coffee together, reading the morning paper. Laughing over dinner, holding hands while watching evening TV. Witnessing the little seedling of love you planted decades ago on your wedding day blossom into the physical manifestation of children, grandchildren, maybe even great-grandchildren. Your whole family exists simply because the two of you decided to love each other forever. (And yes, you decided it, because it truly was a choice. Every time you said “I love you” after a fight, every time you took a deep breath and paused before saying that thing you probably couldn’t take back, every time you held each other through the tough times and embraced each other through the great, it was a choice.)
That kind of long-lasting, endures-through-anything love is a beautiful thing, and something we don’t see nearly enough of these days. With divorce as prevalent as it is, the 50+ year marriage might soon be a rare thing. It needs to be documented. It needs to be remembered. It needs to be celebrated. Their stories need to be told. So when things get tough and options seem limited, we can be reminded that love truly is all you need. Love for the person you’re with and a commitment to make it last. That’s what these marriages all have in common, and those are the stories I want to tell.
The project is quite simple, really. I want to meet people who’ve been married for fifty years or more and document their stories. How they met, how they fell in love, thoughts on marriage. So I’ll come by for a visit and we’ll spend an afternoon chatting, asking questions, telling stories, and making a few photos. Recalling memories of love and good times long ago inevitably stirs up the emotions connected to those memories, so my aim is not just to preserve and share their stories with words, but to capture in pictures the emotions those stories bring up as they’re remembering. And of course, I’m more than happy to share the photos with their families.
If you know of someone who you think would be interested in participating, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “GGL Photo Project.” Because the project requires meeting in person, I’m only able to meet with people on the west coast at this time, but I’m planning trips to Chicago and Texas for later this year and would love to meet people in those areas as well!
Looking forward to hearing your stories.
(photo by Jeff Marsh)