When my wife asked me, “how do you know you love me,” my brain began to spin out of control? I immediately kicked off an answer in the form of an essay. On the one hand, the answer is a story spanning more than 30 years of my life. At the same time, the answer isn’t all that complicated.

She has been there with me all of these years. For every event in my life, from the good to the bad, she has been in the front of my mind. I’ve been listening to her words, playing them back over and over throughout the years. Everything I’ve done, from my best to my worst, the questions have been there. What would she think about what I’m doing? How would she see me? What would she say to me?

How do I know I love her? She’s always been there with me, every step. of the way. Regardless of where my path takes me, she’ll always be there by my side. I love my wife [Tina Shanklin] unconditionally, and I always will. She cannot be replaced.

Joseph Shanklin

January 10, 2021

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