2024 Love List
Andrew Carlson & Riku Nozaki, Madison, 7 years
Andrea & Genia Stevens, Beloit, 15 years
Melanie Jones (she/her) & Christen Lester-Jones (she/her), Madison, 11.5 years
Nick & Reegan Jensen-Shafer, La Crosse, 17 years
Lynn Mayer & Gigi Vail, Madison, 5.5 years
Our relationship started similar to a lot of our friends: On a dating app. It was truly love at first sight, however it took a few bumps in the road to end up together.
In 2008 surrounded by friends and family, we had a beautiful commitment ceremony, but it never felt the same as those around us who were able to get legally married. Our commitment ceremony was held in a small, private venue. It was fun and full of love, yet we were still not married. Fast forward to 2015, when we had the wedding we had dreamed of—in our church with our pastor marrying us—surrounded by 350 of our closest family and friends. Besides the fact that we were legally married, there was one thing at our wedding that wasn’t at our commitment ceremony: Our faith.
We were the first same sex couple to get married in our church. A place where we find comfort and support, a place where we worship with all ages who accept us for who we are, a place that has welcomed us from day one. Nick and I now serve as deacons in our church and are able to support our church’s ministry with those who do not get to attend church on a regular basis.
We are community focused. This community has given us so much that it is important to us to always give back. From filling little pantries, writing Christmas cards to nursing home residents, ringing bells, co-directing and volunteering within the Miss America Opportunity, and being the first same sex couple to serve as Oktoberfest Grenadiers.
Nick is the level-headed one that supports all of Reegan’s wild and crazy ideas. He is there to support Reegan and make sure things stay on task. Reegan is the social butterfly that has to always have a full calendar, and Nick is always there for the wild ride. Yet, we both find comfort in quiet time at home with our two-year-old Shih Tzus: Belle and Roscoe.
We love to travel and collect Christmas ornaments in the places we visit, and each year as we decorate our living room tree, we are reminded of the places we have traveled together and can talk about those trips. Nine Christmas trees and counting…looks like we need to get traveling!
Our advice: Never go to bed angry, and always kiss good night