Today’s feature is just downright a-freakin’-dorable — and if Spenser & Kerry’s interview or the crazy cuteness of their session with Jake Ford isn’t enough to convince you… well, my friends, let me refer you to the giggles that are sure to come after you read their impromptu poems about their spouse! These two are absolute magic to witness, and we are so blessed to get a little window into their love!
A word from photographer Jake Ford of Jake & Katie Photography:
“This simple and fun at-home session features husband & wife Spenser & Kerry Hensel at their home in Tampa, Florida. We started off by having them write each other a short poem which proved to give us lots of laughter and great smiles. This led to sweet cuddles on the couch and then after an outfit change, we moved outside to capture that gorgeous Flordia sunlight. These two are so obviously in love and are best friends!”
Love notes from the couple, Spenser & Kerry:
How did you two meet? What were your first impressions of one another?
Kerry: “Spenser and I met when we were freshmen in high school. We were in the same English class and he sat in the back cracking jokes and flipping his long hair out of his eyes (swoon). He was everything a 14-year-old Florida girl is looking for: he had a nice set of braces, good taste in TV shows, wore a braided hemp necklace, knew his way around a surfboard…all the essentials. We became fast friends and sat together at lunch once a week to discuss the most recent episode of The Office. We eventually started dating and after a couple teenage mood swing-related breakups we were inseparable through high school and went to college together at The University of Florida. All jokes aside though, my first impression of Spenser even at a young age was that he was a really solid and confident guy. He was a loyal friend, had a heart for the kids that were outsiders and was kind to everyone. He liked classic rock and quirky TV shows and had a great family. I just gravitated towards him.”
Spenser: “Kerry is very funny, and very smart. She made me laugh a lot but she also took her school work very seriously. Kerry wasn’t really interested in what most 9th grade girls are interested in. She played lots of sports and watched funny tv shows with her brother. Kerry has a charisma about her that I just wanted to be around. She owns a room, and I noticed that right away.”
Tell us a funny story relating to your relationship!
Kerry: “On the day Spenser proposed to me we were in Savannah, Georgia walking around the city. It was getting late in the afternoon and Spenser had a pretty strict timeline for getting to Tybee Island to propose at sunset. I obviously didn’t know this so I was taking my time enjoying the sights. At one point a man on the street stopped us and asked if he could draw a portrait of us. He promised it would only take 5 minutes so Spenser reluctantly agreed, even though we were starting to get behind his schedule. I kept chatting with the street artist and asking him questions and he would launch into these long, outrageous stories. The portrait ended up taking like 45 minutes. We finally got in the car and Spenser was speeding so fast to get to the beach by sunset. Then we got there and I wanted to just casually walk down to the water but he threw me on his back and sprinted down there. I was so confused, he was acting like a crazy person. He got to the spot and ended up proposing in the dark. The secret photos he arranged didn’t turn out but the image we got to take home instead (a really ugly portrait of us drawn by a eccentric street artist) was well worth it!
Sorry babe! It was still the best moment of my life!”
Describe a hurdle you had to overcome in your relationship.
Kerry: “For me, a hurdle in our relationship was trying to find out who I was and allowing myself to grow and change even while dating the same person over a span of many years — especially such formative years of my life. When you’re linked to someone from age 14-21 there can be moments where you question whether it’s a good thing that your personality and path in life is being influenced so much by another person. I struggled with my own identity separate from him. It culminated with the decision to take a break during college. We spent time on our own, investing in our relationships with our roommates/friends/mentors and our relationships with God individually. It ended up being a really healthy thing for us and when we found our way back to each other it wasn’t because we felt obligated or scared of being apart it was purely out of love and friendship and wanting to do life together. The hurdle made our relationship stronger and more pure in the long run.”
What is your favorite thing about each other?
Kerry: “Spenser is so steadfast. It’s such a rare quality these days to see someone who isn’t driven by impulses or attention or selfish desires. He is slow to anger, thoughtful in his actions, he is a loyal friend and a hard worker. To me, all of those things can be summed up with the word ‘steadfast.'”
Spenser: “Kerry is a triple threat.
Kerry is very smart, almost too smart. She’s always been at the top of her class, and her ability to apply what she learns to her real life is pretty outstanding. Her advice is often wise and carries a lot of weight with everyone that knows her.
She has an incredible sense of humor that I fell in love with from day one. Kerry has always been able to make me and all of my friends laugh which is absolutely essential to our relationship. Sometimes I take for granted how funny she is because I’m so used to it by now, but when I think about it I realize how rare it is for me to be with someone as truly funny as Kerry is.
Kerry is also very athletic. She plays soccer, volleyball, and flag football all very well. I’m a high school football coach, and I have played sports all throughout my life so Kerry being a big time athlete is such a huge plus for me. We coach together and play on the same teams in adult coed leagues. Its a really big part of our relationship!”
What is the best thing you’ve learned from one another?
Kerry: “Spenser and I became foster parents this year and I’ve learned the most impactful things from him over these last few months. The best thing I’ve learned from him lately is that some things in life can be hard and good at the same time. Just because something is difficult or requires sacrifice doesn’t mean it’s a bad decision or something to be avoided. We can walk into the tough world of foster care together knowing that it’s important work and it can change lives for the better even if there are moments that are exhausting or discouraging throughout the journey. His steadfastness is rubbing off on me!”
What is the most important thing in your marriage?
Kerry: “The most important thing in our marriage is that we stay on the same team — that we are each other’s biggest fan. The words we use, or the actions we choose should always be to build the other person up and show them they are supported. We’ve learned that whether it’s disagreements about finances or stress about our jobs, or how to spend a Saturday night, as long as we stay on the same team everything is better.”
Spenser: “Our shared foundation in Christ is easily the most important part of our marriage. Our relationship with the Lord changes how we talk to each other, how we treat our foster son, what we spend money on, how we spend our time, etc. We believe that marriage is a covenant between man, woman, and God, so we try make the Word of God our lens for how we view the world and its many challenges.”
If you had one piece of advice for other couples, what would it be?
Spenser: “Be selfless, patient, and trust each other. Then, be someone worthy of being trusted.”
Kerry: “Never stop dating your spouse! We were advised to stay intentional about having regular date nights and it has been so worth it. We might see a good movie and talk about it, or enjoy a new restaurant or even just throw a Frisbee at a park. Whatever you do, just stay engaged and invested in the other person and never stop learning about them.”
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Spenser: “Be each others biggest fan, and choose to love even when its really hard.”
Kerry: “Love is a choice. Feelings come and go, physical attraction can fluctuate and kids can make things messy and unglamorous but love is something you get to choose in every moment regardless of the external circumstances. A solid marriage can be such an oasis this crazy, broken world. I’m so grateful for the love I receive from Spenser, it has changed me in profound ways. When you are deeply known and deeply loved it empowers you to do amazing things in the world!”
photographer: Jake & Katie / venue: Kerry & Spenser’s Home / dress boutique and designer: Anthropologie / hair and makeup artist: Kerry Hensel / accessories and decor: Target &World Market, IKEA / film lab: The Find Lab