Celebrating Our Five Year Anniversary!

The big 0-5. It is really hard to believe that five years ago we were getting married. My, how time flies.

Year 1 – We finally got married! We moved into our first home together – our one bedroom, 800 sq foot apartment in Franklin. Waking up together was a blast and the excitement of brushing our teeth together every night before we went to bed was too much to contain ;) Being married and living together wasn’t too much of an adjustment… probably because of the pre-marital planning we did together. We had decided to get our financial act together and continued to pay off our debts.

Year 2 – Still having fun being married and enjoying what life and God had for us. We officially started our photography business and Zach went into it full time while I (Jody) still had a day job. We started to realize very quickly how much work having a legit photography business was and how much time it tried to take from us. Officially debt free and began saving for a home. Impactful marriage book this year – Love & Respect.

Year 3 – This is the year we were just trying to keep our heads above water. Business was flourishing, but our own marriage was suffering. We had two desks set up in our one bedroom apartment in our living room. Began to feel more like business partners than marriage & life partners. Something had to go. We were on a fast track to saving for our new home but weren’t quite ready yet to buy. We made two big changes – 1) Jody quits her day job and 2) we move into a two bedroom apartment with the 2nd room as our office. We re-prioritized life and made sure that we were tending to things in the order that sanity and the Lord calls for – God, Marriage, THEN our business.

Year 4 – This year, we started to realize that no marriage is perfect (as much as we hoped that ours would be) and knew that we needed to pay some serious attention to where we were going as a team, and how we were going to get there together. We started to realize that being married for four years had not solved every problem that we had, but there were now new problems that we had to deal with in both our personal lives, and in our business. We knew that the business needed to be scaled back so that we could spend more time working on and enjoying our life together, and we needed to spend less time working. We also wanted to be a bigger part of other people’s lives, and we could not do that shooting 30+ weddings a year. We wanted to be able to not only connect to friends, but also to other small business owners that were struggling in their businesses and in their walks with God, and help them in any way we could. Year 4 was a year that was really built on faith. We had to trust God that if we scaled back and did half as many weddings, that he would provide for us like He had in the past, and that He would honor that step of faith and make our marriage stronger if we committed to working on it harder than ever. We are blessed to be able to say that those things happened! Not by anything that we did, but because we stepped out in faith, did what we knew was right, and God delivered like He always does! …We also have to mention that it was this year that we added to our family. After much leg-pulling, we both agreed to getting a cat! Kitty Starbucks officially became a part of our family :)

Year 5 – And here we are – our most recent year of marriage. One of the biggest things we did this year was buy a home! This was a huge dream come true for us. We both have never cared too much about the car we drive or having the coolest gadgets. We have always been very un-interested in “keeping up with the Jones,” as they say, and feeling pressure to have what other people in our position have. We want what we do financially to go against the norm and want to be way better at saving and giving then we are with spending. But, the one thing we did want to have was a nice home. Our reason for wanting the home that we have, is we both grew up not having a lot, but knew how many amazing God moments can happen around a kitchen table or in a place where people feel really comfortable and safe. We saved for 4 and a half years to be able to buy this place (the right way) and want more than anything to make it not only a place for us to connect with each other, but for us to connect with others. We have had more amazing conversations and more people come and be a part of our lives in our home in the last 9 months, then we had in 4 years at our apartment. It has been an amazing blessing to not just have a house, but to have a home. Home to us is a place of peace, a place where we can listen and love people and a place that us and others feel safe and secure. That seems to be the theme for year 5 with our home and with our marriage … Marriage book for this year- Love and War. We also made another addition to our family this year in the most recent week, who we have yet to officially share about yet… :)

Year 6 and beyond – We have no idea what is in store the coming years, but we are more determined than ever to continue to seek the Lord and what He has for us, and to keep our marriage the main priority, and then maybe even bring some little Zach and Jodys into the picture :)

Below we wanted to share with you the video we put together for our guests five years ago at our wedding reception. It’s fun to look back on our lives as individuals and then as a couple! Who knew back then that this is where we would be now. So crazy!

Enjoy :)

Here’s to many more years!

(Image by GwyneMark Photography)

For those of you married, please feel free to share with the rest of us the wisdom you have learned over the years!

  • http://shawnreeder.net shawnreeder

    Happy anniversary Jody and Zach!!! Love you guys :)

  • http://www.julievphotography.com Julie Velez

    Congratulations, Jody and Zach! You are truly an inspiration!

  • http://lavidacreations.com Betsy McCue

    Happy anniversary! You two are awesome. Thanks for sharing the journey… I think our #1 rule from the beginning has been that we talk about everything-no thoughts or fears are kept to yourself. Everything is always better together :) xoxoxo

  • Melanie

    Happy Anniversary!

  • http://paulconradphotography.com/ Paul Conrad

    Conratulations! I know you guys have a lot more years together, and I hope they just keep getting better!

  • http://www.mahalophotography.com Michelle Hollingsworth

    Such an inspiration you guys are. I hear similar struggles from my life in ya’lls. You know when Michael and I got married last year, We were throwing around new business names since my last name changed and his last name is so long and his middle name is his mom’s maiden make-up Gray but he said there’s only one Gray photography and we hadn’t even met you yet but he was right. Thanks for sharing and being a blessing to others.

  • http://Www.lifestylefotografieblog.com Anouschka

    Congratulations!! You guys are such an inspiration!

  • http://www.walczakphotography.com Gina Walczak

    Happy Anniversary! We just celebrated our 7th anniversary last Monday (the 22nd), and I just learned yesterday that my friend’s parents celebrate 51 years today! Right along with you.

    I don’t have any advice, but I will say that throwing a kid into the mix was a much bigger adjustment than it ever was to get married. While I love my child dearly and he’s a pretty good kid, parenting together is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. And my husband and I agree on most things and generally agree on parenting techniques. So I guess I do have advice: Communicate very well with each other in regards to parenting, and always back each other up when dealing with a child. You can “discuss” differences of opinion when the kid isn’t around. All that said, I have seen you interact with my child. You guys will be great parents.

  • lisa

    Alway have a special creative date. Have fun with each other at all times:)
    Happy Anniversary!!!

  • http://www.tracywallace.com/blog Tracy Wallace

    happy anniversary guys. Heres to many more! :)

  • http://www.reign7photo.com Tony

    Happy Anniversary guys! My wife and I just celebrated our 6th anniversary and our 3rd year as business partners. What an encouragement it is to read your blog and know that we’re not alone :-) — Thank you for sharing with us and opening your hearts. — The thing that I’ve learned through this journey is that you only have what you make time for. If you want a great relationship with your spouse, you must make time for it. You have to go after it. If you want to be close to God, you have to go after Him. If you go after both of these things more than you seek prosperity or success you will have the best of everything :-) Seek first His kingdom and all these things will be added to you, you won’t even have to worry about it. — its so great to see what God has done for you guys. Im blessed to have found your blog. Congratulations again!

  • http://passionforlifephotography.net Jenny

    Happy Anniversary guys!! You both are such an inspiration both spiritually and with photography. Jeff and I just celebrated our 9th anniversary this past September. The biggest lesson we’ve learned is to keep God in the center and be completely honest with everything – even the stupid stuff! By keeping those things in check, nothing can stop you! Congrats on your milestone. Cheers!

  • http://www.joshuagull.com Joshua Gull

    Happy anniversary guys! You guys are definitely on the right track and have your priorities straight. The rest will always fall into place.

  • http://www.nayeemvohra.com Nayeem Vohra

    Congratulations Zach and Jody! To love, life and laughter – a very Happy Anniversary!

  • http://kimberbphotography.com Kimber

    I hope your anniversary is fantastic and you have a long life of happy memories together. Congratulations!

  • http://www.aprilhendrick.com April

    Well congrats you too! My husband and I also share this day as our anniversary! Today is our 12th! We share a lot of similarities with you. Probably the most exciting is we waited so long before we had kids too. Our oldest turns 6 next week. I’m guessing I read that right, “Your going to be parents!” You will be fabulous at it, just keep the same kind of detail and excitement with your kids…the trick is not to loose that passion it with your spouse. As my hubby says “April is a piece of pie, when the kids came, my slice got smaller. That is so true

  • http://www.izehiphotography.com/blog Izehi

    So neat to read about your journey together :)

  • http://www.larissaphotography.com/blog TJ McDowell

    Awesome! Congrats guys! It’s great to see that you guys have your priorities straight. As photographers with kids, I think we just try to manage the chaos. We’ve been married for 7 now, and we’re still learning for sure.

  • http://www.itsjustjake.com jake chapman

    I’ve never commented on any of your posts, but always come and check out your blog…

    As a 22 year old, single but dating guy.. as well as pursuing my photography as a full time business, reading this post was awesome, really puts my perspective straight as far as making sure to put God and my relationship first before my company. its always easy to say but deffinately harder to do.

    Love seeing a great couple from God doing great things in this business.. :)

  • http://darlingphotographers.com Darling Paumen

    Wishing you many many more years to come. You guys are the best!

  • http://www.elizabethandrich.com Rich Park

    congratulations on your anniversary! it’s so encouraging and inspiring to read your story because like you guys my wife and i are starting our photography journey early in our marriage! your post reminded me that it’s so important to keep the priorities in check “God, Marriage, THEN our business.” Thank you so much for sharing!

  • http://www.girlphotographyblog.com Nicole

    First congratulations. You too never cease to amaze and inspire me. Thank you for sharing your talent, knowledge, and story with all of us.

  • Aaron Gonzalez

    Wooow!! Congratulations for your anniversary!! I was nice to read every year reached and succesfully overcome as a couple with God’s help, wisdom and love.

    It is really helpful to read your experience, since my wife and I have just started this amazing and new life that only with God’s help we can finish as a winners!!!

    See you