I was an Army wife for nine years. When I met my husband he was fresh out of the Marine Corps living in his parents' basement. I was working a factory job at FedEx Ground in Richfield, Ohio. He started working a factory job through a placement agency as well. My heart was broken for the first time ever, months before he came into my life. So, I was not looking for another relationship, definitely not so soon. His patience with me and dedication to making me feel comfortable is what attracted me to him. Initially, there was no physical attraction. The 7.5 year age difference was intimidating! If I hadn't given him a chance I would have made the biggest mistake of my life! Without even noticing, he started driving me to work everyday, and he would pick me up after his shift. That is when I started to become attracted to him physically. I also started to feel an emotional connection building. Funny thinking about it now, but I used to look at him, and his big manly arms in the corner of my eye while he was driving his manual Ford Focus. Lol!! The smallest things put a smile on my face with him.
We dated for approximately 5 months before he proposed. Yes, I know, it happened quickly. Btw, he fell first. I actually told him upfront that I wasn't ready to say "I love you" back just yet. I thought he'd get upset & move on, but he never did. Just said "okay, whenever you're ready." I was like, "what?!" ...I was dealing with a mature grown man. He knew exactly what he wanted, and how to get it, while also treating me with respect and demonstrating patience! I was in complete amazement, I swear. Earlier that same month he made the decision to 'make me his'. I didn't even think about how fast things were progressing, it didn't matter. I didn't get scared after the proposal, even after his decision to enlist. The military was something I had zero experience with prior, but knowing he was sworn in did not frighten me. We married the following June, about 11 months after we met. He was actually in another state for five months during our engagement. When he flew back into town for our wedding on Friday, June 15th, 2007, his flight was delayed and the airline lost his luggage with his Army blues inside. So, since he had nothing to wear, and our family and friends had already been waiting for hours, we switched the ceremony and reception. Our guests ate first. I was stuck in my wedding dress, hiding away in some room in the church the entire time! It's all hilarious now, but in that moment, I was livid. Anxiety was at an all-time high. Then I received word that he was finally on his way. His brother, and our Best Man, drove him to their mother's house to find his Marine dress uniform. When they arrived at the church everyone was ready to go. So, it was time for me to walk down the aisle with my Dad. When my brothers opened those double doors I was amazed at the amount of bodies present, still there supporting us. It was a moment I'll never forget. I was sure that people left, but the room was full. After all of the craziness that day, our family and friends stuck by us through every minute of it. After our vows, we made it official, and had our cake. Part of the reception was June 15th, the wedding ceremony and cake was June 16th, and we didn't sign our marriage documents until Monday, June 18th, 2007. So, our legal anniversary is June 18th. Total mess, right?! Ha! We honeymooned in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. About two weeks after our honeymoon ended we moved to Colorado Springs, CO, which was our first duty station as a married couple; also his first PCS in the Army. I was only 21 years old, so I was nervous to leave home and live with a man for the first time. I'm not going to lie, the first year was rough, just like most people say it is. That is true. It takes time to learn how to live with someone new, especially a partner. Marriage is work. And, some days I was not willing to accept how the Army does things, or how much he had to work. Here I am, a 21 year old, in a brand new state, not knowing what to do with myself while my husband works on the Air Force Base. Sometimes he worked for 10 hours, other days he'd be in the field for a few days. I was alone. So, I finally decided to find something to do. I ended up dealing with my first bout of depression because I felt alone a lot, and wasn't able to find work. I thought about going back to school, but had no idea where to start. I was on my own, even with a husband who loved me. Army comes first. No matter what anyone tells you. Army, then family. I was second. Once I figured out a plan I applied at a local college, and shortly after I applied at FedEx Ground again. I was accepted into my telecom program, and later that same month I was hired on at FedEx as a sorter. I was in school and working for about 6 months before I started my internships at news stations and the minor league baseball stadium as a top cam operator (same job I had at university). We only lived in Colorado Springs for three years. I accomplished a lot in a tight time frame. Doing so taught me how to hustle, network, and get multiple tasks done at once. When those three years passed, we moved again, near Fort Bragg. Initially, I absolutely hated it. Such a contrast from our previous station so I isolated myself. I didn't experience depression, however I was alone again, but this time I was a vet, it was our second PCS. I knew more about how the Army operated, so that helped. He wasn't deployed until Bragg. Deployment was an emotional roller-coaster for me. I cried at Green Ramp in front of other spouses and children, and watched my man walk away from me to go to war not knowing if he'd return home alive or in a box. That was just the reality of the situation. I had never felt anything like that in my life. It was completely out of my control and I was terrified. Luckily, he was only gone for two months. I survived. He survived. I thanked God for a short deployment and took my soldier home. Reintegration was interesting, but we survived that too. Through all of this hubs is just signing his contracts and dragging me along with him, lol. I love him dearly, but man did I hate his guts sometimes. He never understood the loneliness or obstacles I faced while he was active duty. It wasn't until after he got out that he started to acknowledge everything I had endured while he fought for this country. Through all of my fears, personal and professional, I was required to keep a brave face for him at all times. I was required to keep his stress level down because I never knew what he was going through internally as a result of combat. Being supportive in any marriage should be part of your foundation, but the support required to hold a soldier down is amplified simply because he has no one else. You become the sounding board, and sometimes whipping post, for his anxiety, anger, and sadness. It's a lot to manage. We only lived on a military installation once, in Colorado, and it was unique, but nothing beats living outside of those gates. I needed my piece of freedom. He finally understood that too, so we moved into a house. We've been here for a few years now, but I am ready to move on. It's time to build our forever home and plant real roots. Ten years later, we are currently parted by thousands of miles, again, but distance changes nothing. We are still very much in love, probably more so now than when we started.