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Confession: when my husband and I first started seeing each other, I was a staunch country-music-hater. Seriously. Growing up, I never listened to country music. Neither or my parents were fans, including my dad who was the biggest into playing music all the time (mostly CCM). In fact, occasionally my dad and older brother would make fun of country music and the twangy sound of it. Besides, why would a New Englander listen to that stuff? It wasn’t like we lived below the Mason-Dixon line.

Nope. Country music? Definitely not me.

And then…he became a part of my life. And he liked country music. Listened to it a lot. After some wheedling, he convinced me to give a try and suggested that I start with one of his favorite artists at the time: Brad Paisley.

Not entirely convinced, still, I gave it a shot. I listened to a few of his albums and really like a few certain songs: “Mud on the Tires,” “The World” and a few other love ballads. I kept listening and branched out to other artists.

By the summer, I was hooked, to my family’s surprise and amusement. I…was…a country music fan. Since then, Brad Paisley has remained a favorite just because he was my gateway drug to the genre. Listening to his music reminds me of when Ty and I first started dating. I’ve listened to his music throughout our entire relationship, from dating to engaged and to married life.

And that’s why a former country-music-hater and her hubby ended up dancing their first dance to Brad Paisley’s “Then.” Well, that and also because it always seemed to be our song. My husband and I took our time dating and making sure we were certain that we were right for each other; it never ceases to make me smile and think how true the words of this song are: “And I thought I loved you then…”

Our love has grown so much through every month and every phase of our relationship. I thought I loved him when I went with him to the fire-fighter’s ball in 2008, yet I loved him even more the next summer when we got engaged. The same on our wedding day, as I promised to love him as long as I live. And now six months later…I know it’s possible to love someone even more.

I can’t wait to grow old with him and keep thinking, “And I thought I loved you then, but I love you even more now.”

Yup. Love has managed to turn this country-music-hater into a total fan and a total sappy romantic.

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