I met my husband when we were teenagers, and I’ve now been with this incredible man for almost two decades. Love for us has shown up in many ways and in many different stages of our relatively short lives.

Love is having your relationship work when your college plans don’t include living in the same city anymore. It’s going in different directions and knowing it will still all work out the way it should in the end.

Love is taking a break from each other in your early twenties, when you are both still trying to find yourselves, your purpose, and your mission in life.

Love is finally reuniting, and realizing this person is your soul mate, the one person you are meant to spend forever with.

Love is letting me quit my first job after college, knowing how miserable I was, and telling me you could handle the expenses. You just wanted me to be happy and supported whatever route I took to get there.

Love is converting to Catholicism, knowing it was my past, and is my present and future, even though it was a religion different from your own.

Love is going through a difficulty pregnancy where I gained 60 pounds and having his eyes still light up every time he saw me, even though I felt ginormous and unattractive.

Love is finding out your first-born has Down syndrome, and sitting and crying together in the recovery room while you soak in what will be your future.

Love is continuing to have four more beautiful children, having a houseful of crazy, and always doing more than your fair share of dishes, laundry, baths and homework.

Love is cleaning up puke and poop and getting up in the middle of the night together, knowing that this time when the girls are young will pass too quickly, and you don’t want to miss a single part of it.

Love is surprising me at work with a fountain pop and some gummy worms, after you have filled up my car because you know it is cold out.

Love is watching Hallmark and Disney movies instead of sports because your house entirely female.

Love is encouraging me to do whatever my heart desires professionally and giving me the confidence to know that I can do anything.

You see, our love has grown in ways I never could have imagined. We’ve been through more life events and intense moments than our young selves could ever realize. We have had disagreements, we have had arguments, and we have gone to bed mad, only to wake up the next morning even more annoyed. I know, however, that our love is strong. Our love will last because he’s my person, and I am his. How he knew that almost 20 years ago, I will never know, but I’m so thankful he did.

Shauna Graham

I married my high school sweetheart and I'm a mother to five amazing daughters.  If I'm not trying to juggle my children's activities or working full time, I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, watching pretty much any sport besides golf (I know - I just can't) or advocating for Down Syndrome.