As long as she can remember, photographer Stephanie Jarstad has always been intrigued by a good love story.
"My mother recalls that even as a small child, I would ask her multiple times to share stories of how she met my father and about their wedding day," the Seattle-based wedding photog told The Huffington Post.
That fascination has carried over into her adult life. Four years ago, Jarstad embarked on a photo series called "To Grow Old With You," in which she photographs and interviews older married couples about how they met, how they keep their relationship strong and what advice they would give to the younger generation.
"As a wedding photographer I hear about all the firsts. The first date. The first kiss. The first time they said 'I love you," Jarstad said. "I wanted to document love from the other end of the timeline -- years down the road, and thousands of dates, kisses and 'I love yous' later."
Jarstad didn't know any of the couples beforehand -- she approached them on the street, asked about their love story and snapped some photos. Others she spent a few hours with at their homes.
"We laughed together, sometimes cried together and became dear friends," she wrote in a blog post.
While working on the project, Jarstad said she realized that how a relationship begins is far less important than how it endures over time.
"Some couples knew they found 'the one' in an instant, others struggled and toiled, and some didn't like each other at all in the beginning," she told HuffPost. "A common thread among all the couples was respect and a determination to care for the other."
Jarstad plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign so that she can publish a coffee table book featuring these couples and others of more diverse backgrounds.
Through the 20 couples she's interviewed so far, Jarstad has gleaned some valuable words of relationship wisdom including: "People who fall out of love are like people who fall out of bed. They just weren’t in far enough.”
"These couples retained a gleam in their eye when they talk about their partner and how they met," Jarstad said. "May we all roll up our sleeves and work hard to polish and preserve our own love stories."
Check out more sweet stories below:
Have a couple you'd like to nominate? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.