Photography by Jenny Boyer
DWH: How did you meet?
DaVina: After graduating a year or so from college, I was looking for an apartment. I walked into an apartment complex where this stunning leasing agent floored me. I don’t even recall if anyone else was in the clubhouse. I returned a time or two after with friends because I needed others to see how incredible she was. In one of our encounters, I thought I recalled her mentioning something about an ex-girlfriend but I wasn’t sure, so I asked her if she was on Facebook. We became friends online, and I finally worked up the courage to ask her if she had, in fact, mentioned something about a girlfriend. I could see that she read my message but then logged off immediately. I was sure I had offended her. Turns out, her Mom, who did not know about her interest in me, was over her shoulder. She eventually responded, we exchanged numbers and I took her on our first date to an Italian restaurant. The rest is history. [Our perspectives on this version of the story are vastly different!]
Shawn: We met at my old job when DaVina was looking for an apartment. I was being my professional, bubbly, loving self. Surprisingly, I had an immediate connection with DaVina. I didn’t think I would be attracted to women anymore, but I found myself curious about her and wanted to know more.
[Shawn is convinced that she pursued DaVina. DaVina disagrees.]
DWH: What is your favourite memory together?
DaVina: My favourite memory of us together was a trip last year to a resort in Mexico. She convinced me to go sailing out in the Gulf of Mexico. Being the adventurous person she is, she was thrilled that the boat attendant offered us the opportunity to jump off of the boat. The videos of us squealing are pretty funny. We also enjoyed the food, silent disco and dance lessons amongst other things.
Shawn: My favourite memory of us was the day we got engaged. It was such a good day. My heart was so full of joy. I couldn’t stop smiling.
DWH: What has been the biggest challenge you have had to overcome together?
DaVina: The process of Shawn coming out again was a challenge for me. Shawn had dated girls when she was in middle and high school but hadn’t since. I was out and proud. I had to realize that I would need to be extremely patient with her as she worked through this part of her identity again- especially while balancing her connection to her faith. In the beginning, we also developed trust issues due to our infidelities. Redeveloping trust took us both a long time.
Shawn: The biggest challenge for us was our infidelities and the heartbreaks and then the separation that came with them. While challenging, I think it helped us to rebuild our trust and our love connection. I think it made me love her more. It’s true; you really don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I’m extremely grateful that the universe conspired for our souls to reconnect because she’s my lifeline.
DWH: What an incredible journey. In contrast, what is your favourite thing about one another?
DaVina: I tell her all the time that I LOVE that her insides match her outsides…weird, I know. Shawn is absolutely stunning. But, once you get to know her as a person, you fall in love with her spirit. She has a heart as big as the ocean and everything she does is with good intentions. She has a pretty cute laugh too.
Shawn: The thing I love most about her is her generosity. She is overly indulging in helping people. She has a beautiful heart. I like her laugh. I also love how affectionate she is…although I hated in the beginning! Her kisses and affection feel like home.
DWH: You’ve been through a journey, and you’re already married, but what is in the future for you both?
DaVina: We’re both pretty swamped. Between me working towards my doctorate in education and Shawn working to become a yoga instructor, it can be hard to see what’s just beyond us. I am looking forward to a brief trip to Jamaica this summer! Long term, while we love it here, I think we’re both looking forward to relocating out of Jacksonville. Shawn has been here her entire life and I’ve been here for almost 15 years. We’re excited to experience somewhere new!
Shawn: I see us accomplishing all of our goals, travelling and continuing to grow!
Photography Jenny Boyer