Aubrey and Jen are those people who you want in conversation with as long as possible. Those type of people whose joy and passion is so contagious, it leaves you with a brighter outlook on the world around you. They are that couple you sit with and can’t help but notice, that after almost twelve years of marriage, they still look at each other with those awe-struck, in-love-with-you eyes.
I first met Aubrey and Jen when I was in high school. Aubrey was actually the first person to ever give me a chance with a microphone. He taught me about music, songwriting, and the true heart of worship. You couldn’t fully know Aubrey without knowing Jen.Jen has that sweet southern drawl paired with a bubbly attitude you just can’t get enough of. They’re incredible individuals, but even more amazing together. They’re a couple whose as wide as they are deep, whose bright smiles and warm personalities are merely a gateway into depths of love, sacrifice, and stories of life well lived.
I’m so excited for these two to share their story with you. Grab a cup of coffee, maybe a tissue or two (if you’re a romantic like me), and enjoy diving deep into the hearts of these two lovebirds.
Q: How did you two meet?
HER: We met in children’s church a looooong time ago! We were not volunteers…we were children.
HIM: She was my first girlfriend, but unfortunately that only lasted a short time. One time during a service though I did work up the nerve to make a smooth move and put my arm around her. #foreshadowing
Q: What’s your favorite memory together?
HER: I’m gonna go textbook here…our wedding day & the days our 3 littles entered the world!
HIM: One valentine’s day when we were kids, I gave her a new DC Talk cassette tape and she gave me some red wax lips! What?!?!? Oh, and every anniversary we watch our wedding video. It really was a special day with so many of our family and friends.
Q: When did you first know you were in love?
HIM: I saw Jen across the courtyard on her first day at the college we both attended. The sun was shining down on her and she did this slow motion hair flip thing! Yes!
HER: It took me a little longer to “see the light!” After much persistence and romance on his part, it finally dawned on me that I was missing the best thing that had ever happened to me. As cheesy as it sounds…the first time he kissed me, I knew he was the one!
Q: How did he propose?
HIM: I took her to the performance hall at the college where we had sung and performed a lot together. My mom helped me decorate the stage. It was late one night and I acted like we were sneaking in to reminisce. We danced on the stage and I sang her a song I had written for her. Then I pulled a box out from under a little table on stage and got down on my knee.
HER: He tricked me by taking me to O’Charleys. I remember thinking “surely this isn’t it because he wouldn’t bring me here!” Haha! (I do remember thinking it was weird that he didn’t eat much.) After he proposed, we drove to my sister’s house where he pulled off a huge surprise engagement party. It was risky on his part but I LOVED celebrating with family & friends!
Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from one another over the years?
HER: Oh goodness! How to love…I mean really love! This guy has more patience than Job (thank goodness, for my sake!) He has given me so much more grace than I deserve! He’s not perfect but he loves Jesus like nobody I’ve ever known & he makes me want to be a better person everyday!
HIM: Don’t sweep anything under the rug. Get it out in the open. Relentlessly eliminate hidden frustration or misunderstanding.
Q: What’s your favorite quality in eachother?
HIM: I love that she is a woman of great integrity.(And that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world.)
HER: His work ethic, his integrity & his discipline!
Q: What is a word or theme you feel that has marked your marriage thus far?
HIM: Unity – We often talk about how grateful we are for how unified we feel on most every decision…. from paint colors to parenting-styles.
HER: I agree…unity! Such a gift!
Q: What does it mean to love?
HIM: To love requires two things: To always believe in and pursue an ever-deepening relationship with them and to fight hard against anything that could pull you apart.
HER: Love is a choice…everyday. To be unselfish & to put someone else’s desires before your own. To be willing to say I’m sorry or I was wrong & forgive. Pretty much all the things that don’t come naturally! Spending time with Jesus sure helps because He is love!!
“Love requires two things: to always believe in and pursue an ever-deepening relationship with them and to fight hard against anything that could pull you apart.”
Q: What are some of your dreams for the future?
THEM: That our kids will grow up so strong in their character and clear in their identity that they will thrive in the future they are living in. We want to take an RV tour around the country writing and sharing songs and stories about the people we meet. We want to live a lifestyle of adventure. Possibly another McGowan?!
Q: What is some of your advice for a healthy, successful marriage?
HIM: Don’t stop looking at each other in the eyes. When you start looking away, out of anger, shame, fear, etc. it is easy to grow apart. Take time to look each other in the eyes. Then, dig up the truth and express your heart; good or bad. Don’t water it down. Trust each other enough to open let each other see inside.
HER: Be vulnerable & honest…always honest. Keep falling in love & making your marriage a priority. Pray together. Communicate & then communicate some more! Give grace in big heaps!
“Don’t stop looking at each other in the eyes. When you start looking away, out of anger, shame, fear, etc. it is easy to grow apart. Take time to look each other in the eyes. Then, dig up the truth and express your heart; good or bad. Don’t water it down. Trust each other enough to open let each other see inside.”
You can find Aubrey and Jen at Song and Story.
Photography by Lindsey Johnson Photography