Love is celebrated everywhere, but it’s most often a fantastical version that is rarely seen in its ripened form. It’s yet to have born the burden of loss, illness, unmet expectations, job loss,…Few people truly understand what true love looks like that stands steady as life’s devastations are doled out. Instead, most of us are all too familiar with how easily the mundane demands of daily life eats away at passions and joy. Barry and Joyce are an exception to this. Barry is Joyce’s “Mr. Handsome Hotness” and Barry looked at Joyce with tears in his eyes several times during the shoot and said, “I wished I told her more how beautiful she is.” Their love has grown in strength as their 50 years have gloriously piled up and now their life’s goal is to share the joys found in marriage with other couples.
This kingdom strengthening couple came for portraits to celebrate their 50 years of marriage. They decided more than a party, they wanted portraits that captured their grand love affair. So their awesome kids threw them a family party on their farm that allowed them to celebrate with the people most precious to them in life.
Their marriage means the world to them and they cling fiercely to the vows they took 50 years ago. The passion and joy are still very much alive with this adorable couple! Barry and Joyce stepped into a role of leading young married couples 4 years ago and it has become their life’s passion. They step right into the messiness of life with young couples to help encourage them and guide them with the wisdom they’ve gathered in their 50 years of marriage. They understand that when a marriage is suffering, the family suffers, the work place suffers, the church suffers…the ripple effect is devastating. Yet with some guidance in God’s view of marriage, they are confident that joy is there for every couple who will submit their marriage to His potter’s wheel for shaping.
Barry recounts as a younger man he did not see the connection between what God would want for his marriage. He wished he’d have figured that out sooner and is so grateful that he and Joyce can help others to enjoy their marriages more. The end goal is to get as close as possible to what God designed marriage to be…a reflection of his great love for us and living in harmony that is reflected in the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Barry and Joyce knew each other a bit when they were teens and attended Youth for Christ events. At that stage in her life, Joyce didn’t know what her future husband would look like, but she knew she would settle for nothing less than a man who took his walk with the Lord seriously. She wanted a partner who’d encourage her in her walk with the Lord, rather than settling for someone she had to drag along to church on Sundays.
Their relationship took off one weekend when Joyce needed a ride home and Barry had recently transferred to Houghten college. Since they were from the same area, she asked if she could ride along. They hit it off instantly on the long car ride home and she returned to her roommate and said, “I met the guy I’m going to marry!” Her roommate encouraged her to slow down but Joyce is a full speed ahead when her eyes are on the prize kind of gal!
Joyce had never felt this way about any of the other guys she had dated. She and Barry could discuss spiritual questions that burned in her mind and she knew this was who she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. They dated for 17 months before pledging their lives together.
It took Barry’s family some adjusting to wrap their heads around Joyce. They were not unaccustomed to sharing emotion or affection, so Joyce with her complimenting nature, was a lot for them to figure out. Barry told Joyce, “just be you,” before he realized these words came from her like water from a faucet. There was no pretense, just a desire to proclaim the good she saw in those around her. This was brand new territory for Barry that took some figuring out. Today he counts it an honor to help share his journey with other men in his marriage group to help figure out what it means to honor their wives.
Barry was 2 years ahead of Joyce in school so she sped up her rate of finishing her degree that would lead to a lifetime career as a teacher so they could get married. Early on in their dating Barry said, “I’m not ready to get married yet, but when I am, will you marry me?” Joyce went home a bit baffled…I think I got engaged, but i’m not sure! 6 months later Barry did officially ask Joyce with a ring! Barry did not have a job at graduation and Joyce was finishing up school, against all odds they took the plunge and here we are today to celebrate 50 years since that day!
Barry got a temporary job at Corning as a research scientist…which turned into a career that he spent 40 years at before retiring. It wasn’t an ideal job for him, but it provided for his family and for that he was grateful. Joyce encouraged him to quit and go back to school to pursue something he loved at 40…he declined knowing his family counted on him to provide. He says he’s not a risk taker…sounds more like he always wanted his wife and children to know that they were his top priority.
Barry and Joyce are both retired today and spend their days volunteering at church, tending their farm, tapping maple trees, spending time with their grand kids, and making memories to carry them into their rocking chair years. Joyce, despite a heart attack and stroke in recent years, somehow remains on the go with the energy of a 20 something! She loves to shop and has no issues spending 7 hours picking out school clothes with her granddaughters, traveling to watch her grandson compete in baseball games and cooking up feasts for her family! Barry loves hunting, fishing and fixing things and sharing time doing so with his children and grandchildren as well…and with a farm there’s always something that needs fixing! Barry has surgery a year ago for cancer and is praising God he is cancer free today. Barry is known for his gentle kind nature but don’t let that fool you into thinking he’s not also able to drop to the ground and do the worm to impress his grandson!
Both Barry and Joyce having shared in significant health crisis over the last few years has given them both an eyes on the prize for making the most of all the time the Lord gives them. They see the miracle that the Lord unfolds before them daily and are thankful. Joyce is even thankful for her minor heart attack a few years ago because it raised her son Ryan’s awareness to some nagging symptoms he’d been having. Despite excellent fitness and cholesterol ratings, it was discovered Ryan’s main was 99% blocked and he needed open heart surgery asap at only 37. That Ryan just happens to be my studio manager Sara’s husband. So really the whole Butler family and so many more are thankful for Joyce’s heart attack! Click here to inquire about your own custom portraits.
Love that we design right on client walls to help them envision how they will enjoy these portraits in their home…