We met officially at the end of 2014, I remember the first time I saw him. We were at the end of reception week at basic training and we were being lined up by platoons, he was about 3 people down from me. The first thing I noticed about him was his jawline, it was sharp, his cheekbones, I mean his facial structure was perfect. It’s crazy, from the moment I saw him I knew I liked him, he was beautiful, I don’t remember why but he introduced himself, I wouldn’t really talk to him again for a few months. He was in my platoon but romantic relationships are strictly forbidden at basic training and we could get in a lot of trouble. I never showed any interest for this reason but I admired him, he was intelligent, strong, caring, funny, I watched his whole personality from a distance and I don’t he’d even remembered I existed unless we had to communicate as battle buddies. I remember the first real conversation we had was about tattoos, at one point he mentioned his girlfriend and her tattoos, I was crushed, I was so infatuated with him I hadn’t even given thought to the possibility he could have a girlfriend, immediately I felt silly and embarrassed for being hurt about this, I didn’t even know him! I pretty much had given up at this point, it was obviously serious between them. Then one day, we were sitting on the bleachers, it was freezing, like 30 degrees, which is cold to me. He sat on the row below me and after a while, he turned back to me and asked if he could lean his back on my legs because it was hurting, I mean yeah of course, like I barely let him finish his sentence. He leaned his back against the bottom half of my legs, his back had some support and my legs had some warmth. I’m not sure when or why, but we were having a conversation and his girlfriend came up, he mentioned she had written him a letter and broken up with him, he also told me that before he left they had talked about breaking up because he was joining the Army and they wouldn’t see each other much. My heart did a summersault, I remained cool, just said something along the lines of “oh, really? I’m sorry.” He said he already knew it was going to happen considering the way they left things before he shipped out, I didn’t want to prey on his vulnerability. We started talking and hanging out more often, I definitely flirted a little bit, and he flirted back, that was always the extent of it because we weren’t allowed anything more, we didn’t want to get in trouble, and we needed to focus on basic training. This went on the entire 12 weeks we were there, just flirting back and forth, every once in a while we held hands when no one was looking, we always sat together, we were always near each other. It was innocent and pure, and just really getting to know each other, just spending time together when we could. We both had made it clear to each other that we liked each other. Apparently, we had made it clear to everyone else in our platoon too, but it didn’t matter because we weren’t doing anything we weren’t allowed to do. Flash forward to the day we graduated basic training, we were on a bus back to our barracks, we had already graduated, and finally, after about three months, we kissed. In front of everyone. It felt like a fairytale. After we left basic training we were free to do as we pleased, but he would be training in a base in Texas, and I was in Fort Sam, both in Texas but hours apart and as students, we weren’t allowed to travel that far so we couldn’t see each other. All we had was texts, phone calls, and facetime, and very little of it too. We talked about if we wanted to pursue a long distance relationship plenty of times, and we were both in, we were all about each other. We fell in love over the phone. My training was six weeks, his training was six months, we talked every single day in one way or another but it was tough, not being able to see each other, go on dates or anything. After my training was done I was allowed to go home for 2 weeks before I was sent to Fort Bragg in North Carolina, while I was home, he proposed to me, over Facetime. It was never what I imagined but it didn’t matter because it was him. He stayed in an undisclosed military base to complete his training, we still talked every day but we wanted to see each other again so bad, it had been months since we last saw each other in person. After being in Fort Bragg for a while, I was given a four day weekend so, I bought a plane ticket and booked a hotel. I was not allowed to go, I had to fill out leave packets to travel that far but since I was new to the Army, I didn’t know this, I just assumed it was the weekend, I didn’t have to be at work, I could do what I wanted. By the time I found out I had to fill out paperwork to travel to Texas, it was too late, there wasn’t enough time to fill it out, send it up, and get it approved. I went anyway. I didn’t even care about getting in trouble, I just needed to see him, spend some real time with him, like a regular couple, at this point it had been almost a year since we last saw each other in person. Well, That’s exactly what we did. We went to the mall, we went out to eat, we drove around and listened to music and it was all amazing. I was only there for 2 days and leaving was so hard, I cried before I had to leave and I cried when I got back. I never got in trouble and it was one of the best weekends of my life. It was the first time I was able to spend time with my soon to be husband, not just hanging around each other at basic training. We went back to our regular long distance and craved each other more than ever, we got along so well, we could sit and talk to each other about anything for hours and hours. We were made for each other. After his training, my husband was sent to Hawaii, sometime in September 2015, he took 2 weeks of leave to come see me and on September 19, 2015, we got married in a rose garden in Fayetteville, North Carolina. It’s been a wild ride. Our marriage isn’t always perfect and we argue, we’ve been separated, but we always come back to each other. I don’t think anybody is ever fully prepared for marriage because people have a distorted idea of what marriage is from watching movies and shows. A lot of people don’t understand that being with the same person for a long time is difficult and loving someone is a choice, don’t be fooled by the Nicholas Sparks books, you don’t fall in love with someone and then everything else falls into place and the rest of your lives is easy going and a romantic movie 24/7, that’s not how it works. We choose to stay with our partner, we choose to work through the hard times, we choose to forgive, we choose to move on and work together. Maybe falling in love with someone isn’t voluntary, but choosing to continue loving a person no matter how hard it gets is voluntary. Too often we get into relationships and are disappointed with certain aspects of the relationship and give up but no relationship is perfect, all relationships come with baggage and we can choose whether to look past it and keep loving them or… not. In relationships there will always be hard times, we all go through it in any relationship we’re in, with family, friends, business, or romantic, because people aren’t perfect, they have emotions, and it’s okay to express those emotions, and you deserve someone who will validate those feelings.
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