60th Anniversary by Nancy Ray
This. This is what Cottage Hill is about. Celebrating love that has been fought for for 60 years. Love that has made it through thick and thin, that has inspired others to live differently. The celebration of 60 years of marriage is not something that happens often, and we are honored to share these beautiful photographs of Will and Nancy Ray's grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary.
From Nancy, "Seeing the love and commitment of Will’s grandparents has completely changed my view of marriage. It’s not about butterflies and romance - really love is about dedication and commitment when you want out. Grandpa Gene and Grandma Neva are very real about the fact that life has been incredibly challenging and difficult at times - so difficult that they said they are surprised they made it to 60 years together! But after all the years and all the challenges they’ve faced, the glue that held them together was twofold: the Lord and their unwavering commitment to one another. As Will’s grandpa says, “you just can’t give up." They never quit, even when they wanted to. They kept fighting, together. And now, after 60 years of marriage, they are still unwavering in their love and commitment to one another. I can only pray that the legacy we leave for our grandkids will be a reflection of the legacy they have left for us."
From Will, "What I've observed about my grandparents during my lifetime has been amazing. They've faced a real challenge. My grandmother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her 50’s - almost 30 years ago. Since then, the servanthood that my grandfather has exhibited is inspiring. He always served her and the family well, providing, caring for their home (and the beach house my grandmother inherited from her father), without complaining. What I've seen in my life is a man who has laid down his life to be a servant, and to give her the best life possible. It hasn't always been "beautiful," and it hasn't been easy. But those ugly moments are overshadowed by the unswerving faithfulness they've demonstrated to each other."
Cottage Hill's heartbeat is to inspire people to live a life worthy of an elegant and meaningful legacy. Gene and Neva have left an amazing legacy for their children, grandchildren, and future generations to come. Not because they lived in the perfect house or were never faced with hard times. They have an amazing legacy because they never gave up on love.
Marriage advice from Gene and Neva: “Don’t get angry at the same time. Don’t take for granted what we do in the home. Be a good listener. When someone’s talking, your mind starts going, and the next thing you know, you’re interrupting. Learn to really stop and be a good listener. With children, have a standard and be consistent. Show appreciation for others’ abilities and what they do. You want to be prudent with your money. Don’t buy new cars, new clothes, don’t depend on things to make you happy. I don’t depend on what people think of me. You can’t give up. You don’t just say, ‘This is too much’ and quit, whether it’s your family or your work. You just can’t give up.”
Photography by Nancy Ray Photography