our fifteenth wedding anniversary
This June we will celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary! To commemorate it, we are offering special anniversary sessions! Our hope is to celebrate marriage by revealing both the joys and struggles of real life. We are asking couples, “What happens to love after the wedding day?” Love doesn’t need to dissolve after the wedding, but in order to keep it alive we have to put forth the effort to create a life-long love. You can read more of our story below.
Email us firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a part of our anniversary sessions.
How long have you been married?
Yes, we have two children, Jack & Lola.
Where did you meet your fiancé?
We met at Belmont University in Nashville, TN in our freshman Calculus class!
What was your first date?
Lindsey: Our first date was to harvest festival at a friend’s church. We went on a hay-ride and sat around a bonfire. It was a pretty perfect first date! It was cold so John let me wear his jacket!
John: I thought our first date was when your car broke down, and you called me. I came and picked you up, and took you to the Cooker in Murfreesboro. Maybe it wasn’t a real date because I was still to nervous to actually ask you…but in my mind, we were together. Now, that I’m writing that, it makes me seem like a stalker! 🙂
Was it love at first sight?
Lindsey: NO! John and I met freshman year in Calculus class. He sat behind me. One day, I had a few buttons that were unbuttoned on the back of my shirt and he buttoned them without asking. That did not go over well with me! It took him a year to convince me that he was a nice guy!
John: Guilty as charged. It took a long time for our two “circles of friends” to converge and for her to trust me.
Lindsey: Probably the summer before we started dating. John was a traveler…I believe that summer he was in Argentina, Australian, & Papa New Guinea. On my birthday he mailed me a beautiful letter and package from Argentina. It was so thoughtful and kind that he remembered my birthday even though he was traveling all over the world and actually had a girlfriend at the time! That’s a subject for another day!
John: I knew when I couldn’t speak every time I was around her. That was when we first started running together and playing soccer.
Where did you get engaged?
Lindsey: We got engaged on Christmas Eve. It’s a huge celebration in my family. We go to communion together and then to my aunt and uncle’s house for dessert and presents! After communion, he said that he forgot his camera at my parents’ house and wanted to go back and get it. It was a beautiful evening, so he asked me to take a little walk before heading back. He got down on one knee and asked me to spend forever with him. It was so amazing because we could go straight and tell all my family!
John: I was so nervous. A family friend and jeweler from home in Missouri had worked with me on the ring, and I even got to help out with some of the finishing touches. It seemed like it was burning a hole in my pocket. I remember driving from Missouri to Tennessee and picking up a hitch-hiker along the way, praying that he wouldn’t take the ring!
Did you go through any type of pre-marriage counseling?
Lindsey: We did. My childhood pastor counseled us which was good, but probably the best thing for us was the year we were apart while John was studying in France. We spent much of our dating relationship apart while John studied photography and traveled. We have volumes of letters and emails written to one other during that time. That was how we learned to really communicate with each other. Looking back, I feel that more counseling would’ve been beneficial. We joke about this, but we recently read Gary Chapman’s book “Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married.” It was so helpful and enlightening. We always recommend this book to engaged couples. If only we would’ve read this 16 years ago!!
John: We did a bit of counseling with Parson Brown (yes, just like “Winter Wonderland”) and it was helpful, but in retrospect it might have been better to do a even more counseling. It’s important!
What is your favorite memory from your wedding day?
Lindsey: I remember walking down the aisle with my dad to John. That moment was priceless. I loved our vows. We each wanted to be completely present during our ceremony, so the music and our vows were really important to us.
John: Seeing her for the first time in her dress was absolutely amazing. For me to get teared up, and to literally be speechless (I could barely whisper my vows I was so caught up!) she was and is so stunning.
Looking back, would you do anything differently on your wedding day?
Lindsey: Probably see each other before the ceremony. I wish that we could’ve spent more time together with our family and friends throughout that day. Our ceremony was a 7 pm, so we didn’t see each other the entire day!
J: I agree. I wish I had spent more time with Lindsey throughout the day, rather than just a few hours at the end! Also, for some reason, I was cooking for the groomsmen the morning of the wedding, and lost a few eyebrows doing a flambée. Not kidding. Hindsight is 20/20.
What would you say was the most surprising aspect of marriage?
Lindsey: I would say how selfish I realized that I was! Just thinking of someone else first was and is a challenge! I am selfish by nature. Therefore, it is that much more precious to think of him first because it is difficult and most of the time requires sacrifice. This requires thinking of each other’s needs before our own and even before our children’s needs! This one is harder for us these days. Our kids naturally demand our attention and so for a season, we sort of forgot each other…this was a rough patch for us. Dave Willis says, “We think the HAPPINESS of our kids should be a bigger priority than the HEALTH of our marriage. I learned from my parents that one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is the security that comes from living a unified home where their mom and dad are in a loving, committed marriage with each other.”
J: I think it surprising how natural it felt to be able to finally wake up next to one another. We knew that we wanted to start our lives together, even at an early age: we were both 22 at the time. That might seem young to many people, but we came into it with excitement, some degree of naiveté, and ready for the journey ahead. We learned from one another, and while at first, some of the small things bothered us: she never changes the roll of toilet paper (still) and I don’t always pick up my socks. Sometimes we let our human nature get in the way of it all, and we concentrate on the small things that might not be perfect in some form or fashion. We miss the big picture: the love of my life has committed herself to me, and I to her. I’m going to change the roll of toilet paper every time for the rest of our lives with a smile on my face, because it’s one way I can serve her. I’ll try to remember to pick up my socks, but I hope that she gives me grace when I don’t. When we live our lives in a “tit for tat” (do people still say that, or am I like 100?) way, or in keeping score with every aspect, we miss out on the ebb and flow, and the give and take that is marriage. If you find yourself looking in the mirror, sad that you seem to be the one doing all of the giving within a relationship, take a moment to see things from your spouse’s perspective to see the ways which they (hopefully) lovingly serve you, especially the times they aren’t patting themselves on the back for it.
Lindsey: John is the most sincere and kind person you will ever meet. He will drop everything to help someone out. Before we even started dating, my car broke down on the interstate about halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga, I was on the side of the road and had no idea what to do. My first thought was, call John Bamber. I just knew that he would come and get me. He always shows up for people.
J: Lindsey is incredible. I can’t really narrow it down to two things, but I can say this: she’s beautiful but doesn’t really know it. She’s a great listener, but has a strong opinion behind that smile. She’s not competitive, but she’s a winner.
How often do you go on a date with your spouse on a weekly basis? Do you feel dating is important after marriage?
Lindsey: We are SO bad about this. There are different seasons of life and marriage. Right now we just enjoy spending time with our kids at home. We love taking walks, gardening, tending to our chickens, or walking over to my parent’s house (they live through the woods from our house!). Our idea of the perfect date is cooking dinner together, taking a walk, and watching the sun go down.
J: That’s actually something we’re working through right now. Lindsey does so much of our scheduling for our photography business that I have somewhat let go of the calendar so that I don’t create conflict in our schedules. However, I’m realizing that I need to take more initiative and take her out more often…just hijack the schedule and make it happen. Sometimes, we let ourselves get so busy with life like soccer practice, even church activities and such that we lose sight of one another.
What do you consider to be the secret to your marriage?
Lindsey: Communication. Seriously….this is so important! It is essential for both of us to remember that this is a forever commitment that we promised each other in our vows. We’re in this together, forever, no matter what. We do not allow words like divorce to enter our thoughts, conversations and especially not our in our disagreements. Marriage is too important to be based on our momentary feelings. Instead, we need to build a marriage based upon a sacred commitment even on those days when we’re not feeling it. Our world is so quick to question and even quit on a marriage the moment feelings change. A healthy marriage requires choosing each other every day.
J: I agree. Communication and honesty in every part of our lives. When our marriage has struggled the most has normally been a product of a lack of communication, or me trying to do something on my own, without the support of my wife.
What is your favorite thing to do together?
Lindsey: We love hiking, and make a point to go with our kids hiking at least 3 times a week. John and I love canoeing and kayaking. When we travel, it’s a great way to explore a new city. We have paddled on 3 continents together. We also love cooking together! A perfect date for us would be cooking dinner, taking a walk with the kids, and watching the sun go down.
J: We love being active and outdoors. I’m about 6 inches taller than Lindsey (and therefore have a longer stride) but still somehow have a hard time keeping up with her on most hikes! In life and in the outdoors, we look forward to the final vista, summit, etc., but we don’t focus on that so much that forget to enjoy the journey together.
What’s it like to work with your spouse?
People ask us this all the time! Many say, “I could never work with my spouse!” Normally we smile and reply that it isn’t for every couple…but honestly, the principles of working together each day go hand in hand with marriage in general. First, we had to create a foundation for our marriage. John and I have had the privilege of working together throughout our 15 years of marriage. Working together every day is a blessing, but it comes with its own challenges. Some of those years, we worked additional jobs as well, but our photography business was born the first year of marriage. Now that we both work for Bamber Photography, we love being able to look over at the desk next to ours and know that we are partners in every sense of the word. At each wedding, we always steal a glance at one another during the ceremony. It might be subtle, but there’s always that “I’m thinking of you” or “I remember our vows” moment that we share as we witness the covenant of another couple. We have both changed so much these past 15 years. We still struggle, but thankfully we understand just how important it is to get past our own pride knowing that we have an amazing chance to encourage each other to grow, not only in our marriage, but as parents, people, & artists.
Lindsey: 1) Those little daily decisions (what should we cook, where should we go.. just little silly stuff!). 2) Over committing. This is huge. We are both self-employed and raising our kids together. Plus, our families and church are very important to us. We have a tendency to over-commit ourselves and this eventually causes a strain on our marriage. 3) Finances. It such a struggle to be both dreamers and realists! We are both artists, so the business aspects of our photography business have always been a struggle for us.
John: 1) Choosing a restaurant. It’s the worst: we finally made it out the door, got a babysitter for the kids, and the restaurant where we wanted to eat was overbooked. So there we are…driving in traffic, hungry, looking for somewhere to eat. Somehow, we just end up trying to guess what the other wants, and we just get “hangry.” Then it’s easy to lose sight of the joy that we should both be feeling…that we’re actually on a date, and can simply relax and enjoy being together! 2) We also have some disagreements about raising the kids. I don’t enjoy punishment (neither giving nor receiving) but I’m sometimes too quick to say, “….or you’ll get a spanking!” when simply getting on the kids’ level, and showing them the way in a more loving manner would more than suffice. 3) Over commitment. We both have trouble saying “no.” It’s normally easier to see in her life where she shouldn’t have committed to this or that, and she seems to have pretty good insight into my life where I’ve over committed. The most important thing is not simply saying that your family is important; it’s showing your family that they are important by being there for them.
What do you feel is the most important thing you learned since getting married?
Lindsey: To give each other Grace. To us this means, giving each other the benefit of the doubt when life gets stressful. Some of the best marriage advice we ever received was to be each other’s biggest fan. It is not always easy. At times, it truly means doing or saying the opposite of what you feel in the moment. Most of the time for us, this means restraining our anger, being careful with our words and truly trying to listen before we speak.
John: Yes! I agree. Giving her the benefit of the doubt shows that I trust her, and I know that with every fiber of her being, she is making the best decisions she can for the good of our family. It gives me confidence and courage to know that she is 100% behind me, no matter what! Also, for great communication, I’ve learned the hard way that our tone of voice is so important. Obviously, the word we say matter, but the way we say them is paramount. In James 3:2, it says, “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” So I know that what I say will never be perfect. But I strive to take a deep breath, put any anger aside, and to speak words that edify, and in a way that is sincere.
What’s your best marriage advice?
Lindsey: The very foundation of our marriage is that our FIRST love is God, not each other. Our true joy and fulfillment comes from Him. 1 John 4:16 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” It is because of the love of God that we can love each other despite our imperfections. As husbands and wives, we will fail each other, but having God as our firm foundation allows us to build back what is broken. When we start trying to find everything we need in each other, we fall flat.
John: Those words are true, and I know them in my head. When we submit ourselves to God and walk that out in our lives, is when we show that we believe that with our hearts.