What Makes a Marriage?
This is a question I’ve been more and more curious about as I age and as my own marriage accumulates in years and moments. What keeps 2 people together, through huge life changes like careers, moving, CHILDREN, death, illness, aging, and on and on it goes? How do couples maintain their feelings as they age, grow and change as humans? How do they not let it slip to the bottom of their priority list, how do they keep laughing, and kissing, and reaching for each other first above all others for years and decades?
Ever since I started photographing couples 10 years ago, it has been one of my favourite subjects to photograph. To see how each couple presents their affection and relationship through touch is always so interesting to me; some are admittedly more reserved and private, which I used to think was a ‘bad’ thing (my ego as a photographer getting in the way), but now I know and respect that every relationship is different an that there is no ‘right’ way to be in love (I do believe, however, that certain behaviors and habits can lead to happier marriages, and that conversely, certain behaviors and habits can sabotage your marriage.)
With the 2020 pandemic I ended up with fewer couples to photograph than usual, so I decided to finally get to work on a project I’ve been thinking about for years; the ‘What Makes a Marriage‘ project. I ran a Facebook contest back in June and chose 5 couples, all who have been together and married for 10 years or more, and asked them a series of questions about marriage. We met up over the summer and I allowed them to reconnect, focus on each other, and remind themselves of why they are married in the first place. It was fun to photograph more ‘seasoned’ couples, as opposed to the newly engaged or newly married folks I usually do (or, conversely, parents with young children running around, a totally different vibe…) It was a nice reminder that there is still so much love, much joy, and much happiness in the world, even if it’s just within our own homes.
Enjoy the images and interviews!
Names: Andrea and Corey
Ages: Corey is 46 and I am 43.
Number of years married: 21 years this past June.
Number of children and their ages: Myah -13, Addison – 11, and Corbin – 7
Ages when married: Corey was 24 when we got married and I was 21.
1. Describe your wedding day.
Our wedding day was a beautiful, hot day in June. We were married in the church we grew up in. Yes, we’ve known each other since we were kids. Our youth pastor, we had growing up, came home and married us. We were surrounded by many friends and family that day. It’s certainly a fond memory.
2. What has been the hardest part of marriage (either from outside or inside influences)?
I think the hardest part of marriage is the constant balance of give and take. So both people feel their needs/wants are being met.
3. What are your hopes and dreams for the future of your marriage at this age?
It’s cheesy but I hope we get to grow old together. There are a few “seasons” we haven’t seen yet so I’m hopeful for health and happiness.
4. Why do you think that so many marriage fail?
Marriages possibly fail when too much attention is placed on the negative. Comparison is the greatest enemy of any relationship.
5. Has having children (if applicable) affected your marriage (both positively and negatively), and how?
I think having children has strengthened our bond. We are forever connected through them. Even if they make us want to pull out our hair sometimes! Lol!
6. How much of a priority is your marriage at this point in your life? (Be honest.) What do you do to show that it’s a priority (or don’t do if it isn’t).
It’s very hard to make our marriage a priority right now. We’re in the “thick of it” as they say. We’re raising young children, running houses and businesses, work commitments, we’re all familiar with the pressures. We try to get away together now and again, whether it’s a meal out together or an overnight stay somewhere. Something to stay connected.
7. What has changed in your relationship since getting married? Have you changed?
Change constantly happens. It’s learning to love each other through them all! I don’t think any of us can say we’re the same person we were when we were 21… I’ve now lived that many years again and I’ve changed in so many ways.
8. How does seeing these images of you both at this point in your marriage make you feel?
I feel lucky. Blessed!
9. And finally, what makes a marriage?
I believe anything great and built to last starts with a good foundation. For us, that’s our faith in God.