My wife, Jenna, and I met in seventh grade at church in Kansas. We started officially “going out” in ninth grade, when she was 14 and I was 15. Her parents wouldn’t let her date until 16, so we didn’t have our first official date until 16 months after we got together.   

That’s been the story of our relationship — slow and steady.  We were married after seven and a half years of dating (summer after college) and celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this summer. There have been highs and lows, but mostly highs, and in the 24 years we’ve been a couple, we never even came close to a breakup.  

We moved to Dallas on a whim after school, knowing nobody, and have had a life’s worth of adventures — especially for a nurse and a CPA — a couple of years living in Europe, traveling the world together (52 countries and counting), trials of infertility and eventually, trials of parenthood. But through it all, we’ve remained devoted to one another and our marriage. And even though I definitely wouldn’t advise that anyone get together as early as we did, I wouldn’t change a single thing.  

as told by Aaron Stapleton