He was the guitarist in a band. I was the weird art girl.

The drummer of that band and I had been friends since middle school, and I was a co-captain of our Relay for Life team – a team that the whole band decided to join. Sean and I had never really talked before, but at the Relay I remember whispering in my friend's ear that I thought he was cute. That night, we held hands like awkward 17-year-olds do, and the rest is history. I became an official believer in love at first sight.

We often talk about how weird it is to be "high school sweethearts". We don't really know what it's like to date, or to meet someone who doesn't know your history, or to have to go through life's milestones alone – and we wouldn't have it any other way. We have supported one another through everything from navigating our senior year of high school to starting a business.

Our wedding theme was "let love grow". I thought it was cute, given that we had essentially been growing up together. Now as I watch that theme continue throughout the rest of our lives, it holds so much more meaning. It's been almost eleven years with this man, and yet there's still so much to learn. As human beings we are constantly evolving, and we get to do that together. We are completely different people than we were in high school. We are completely different people than we were even when we graduated college. It's not always sunshine and rainbows, but I love him more every day.

Photo by Saltwater Studios

We did the long-distance thing through college and moved into our first apartment right out of graduation. We adopted our first puppy, June Pug, who stole the show at our wedding. We bought our first home, all while he supported me in taking a leap of faith to start my own business. We've traveled so much together – Mexico, Portugal, Belize, Costa Rica; not to mention moving through our bucket list goal of visiting every North American National Park. I treasure every one of those moments, and I can't imagine doing life with anyone else. I feel incredibly fortunate. We both do.

Now, after experiencing our first pandemic together, we are coming up on 5 years of marriage and 11 years together. We are still in our first home and making it more and more "us" all the time. Our pets have multiplied into a three-pug grumble. He has moved up in his career consistently – I could not be a prouder wife – and I have been able to follow my dreams with his love and support every step of the way.

2020 was not easy. We definitely got sick of each other being home all. the. time. But we also feel stronger. We've learned to adapt to this new normal – we're still learning. His unwavering support for me in first closing my business, then in starting over with a new one, just proved to me again that this is who I'm meant to be with. I'm not a spiritual person, but I can't help but feel like something pulled the two of us together. We make each other laugh. We make each other crazy. We are very best friends.

Photos by Samantha Jay Photography & Cara Marie Photography

Happy Valentine's Day, my love.