Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 02: Recording artists Tim McGraw (L) and Faith Hill attend the 52nd Academy Of Country Music Awards at Toshiba Plaza on April 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)
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September 21, 2018 01:35 PM

It was love at first sight when Tim McGraw met Faith Hill, but she apparently didn’t think so!

The country star, who married Hill in 1996, shared a gallery of throwback photos of his wife to Instagram on Friday in honor of her 51st birthday. Attached to the pictures came a loving message about Hill, including the fact Hill wasn’t sold on their love right away.

“From the first time we met, I knew (she didn’t!) that she was the love of my life forever….” McGraw, also 51, wrote. “No matter the ups and downs, the happy and sad or the good and bad.”

“She’s so special and so loved by us,” he added. “Happy birthday my love.”

McGraw ended his message with a touching note about their everlasting bond. “When I wake up next to you in our 80’s… I’ll smile at the life we’ve built,” he said.

RELATED: Still Head Over Boots in Love: See Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s Most Romantic Moments

Hill and McGraw were both thriving on their own in the music industry before falling in love in 1996, when Hill was an opening act on McGraw’s Spontaneous Combustion tour. However, tying the knot that October was the event that “poured gasoline” on their careers, as he has told PEOPLE in June.

From starting a family to making major life-changing health decisions, Hill added that “a lot has changed” in their relationship since the early days. But what hasn’t changed is their dedication to one another. Amidst touring the stars still make date nights a priority.

“We just saw Springsteen on Broadway the other night in New York and it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,” McGraw said. “Watching him and [wife] Patti [Scialfa] together was magical.”

And though they can’t get enough of each other in theory — “I could listen to her sing all night,” said McGraw — in practice, they make sure to carve out some alone time.

Said Hill, “We both have our daily routines and we have our own dressing rooms. We each have our own space to retreat to so we do get time to ourselves.”

RELATED VIDEO: Still Crazy In Love After 21 Years! Faith Hill and Tim McGraw On How Date Nights, Prayer And Alone Time Help Keep Their Marriage Strong

So how does the pair — who celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary last November and are parents to daughters Gracie, 21, Maggie, 20, and Audrey, 16 — keep such a fire burning?

Working together, like releasing their first album of duetsThe Rest of Our Life, and putting their love on display night after night on their hit Soul2Soul World Tour, certainly helps.

“It’s such a rare thing to be able to experience what we do for a living, and to do it together really feels like all the moments are special,” McGraw said

Added Hill, “I watch him perform and still to this day I’m awed by it.”

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