Getting Married Young In The Military: How We Got Here

On a summer day in early June, I drove myself to my very first job. It was at a resort where crowds flourished in the summer, and completely disappeared as soon as October hit. It certainly wasn’t a bad gig for my first job, and I was more than excited to get out of the house for a bit.

That’s the first time I saw Kyle.

I remember that day: sticking out my hand to shake his, trying to be “professional” meeting my new coworker. There were no fireworks when our hands touched. There was no confetti that came out of the ceiling, or a voice in my head that said, “that’s the one.” It was the most ordinary meeting, that led to my most extraordinary adventure.
I think of that day often, and how Kyle or my idea of “the one” didn’t exist until shortly after. I could’ve seen him a thousand times before, and it wouldn’t have meant anything. But now when I see him pulling into our driveway or walking towards me, it means everything.

When Kyle and I met, I was 17 and he was 19. We were so far from figuring out who we wanted to be. I mean, I don’t even know now sometimes. I was starting my first job, while he was starting his first year of college. The real world was big and terrifying to both of us. But somehow, the big man upstairs made sure that our paths crossed. And months turned into years; years so full of life and love. Years that make me proud of who we did become.

Since we started dating fairly young, we always got remarks from our close friends about how we were “going to get married someday” or “have been dating forever“. We became so accustomed to hearing it, but we never gave it much thought early on. All we knew was that we loved eachother. It was simple, and it was all we needed.

Then Kyle joined the military.

I can’t say that things changed right away after he left, despite everyone saying that it would bring us closer to marriage. We just didn’t think that way. The distance brought us closer, and it shook out our weaknesses. It made us fight, but it made us understand eachother better too. And when Kyle was done with training, we took our first step towards what everyone always told us.

We were walking down a dirt road on a 90 degree day in Columbus, GA. I remember the way the moss hung down from the trees, scattering sunlight around our feet as we made our way back to the house. I was so unfamiliar with this place, but Kyle had already been there for months. I felt like a stranger entering his home, and it was the most surreal experience. And that’s when Kyle said he wanted to marry me someday. In an unfamiliar place, he spoke such unfamiliar words. And I never knew how it would feel for him to say it. It was like my heart burst completely. And I didn’t know when “someday” would be, but I didn’t care one bit.

Life challenged us after that. Being a military girlfriend was not at all what I imagined it would be (ha), and I struggled to find where I fit. There was even a time where I thought I didn’t fit at all anymore. It’s hard being in between, when you’re not yet a wife, but you know you will be… someday. I made a lot of mistakes in those years, and so did Kyle. In the process of trying to navigate this lifestyle, and all these new and unfamiliar fears, we hurt eachother.

Truth be told, we were ready to talk about marriage, but we certainly weren’t ready to be in one. But despite the hurt, we learned how to forgive. And despite distance, we learned how to connect in different ways.

Now here we are, years later, planning our wedding. I could’ve skipped to that part, but when you see the bigger picture it’s easier to understand why we didn’t “just get married” like everyone thought we would. Everyone has a different path, and there is no right or wrong. I have many friends that got married young (18-20) and have wonderful marriages, and I have many that are still trying to find the right person. It’s just important to do what’s best for both individuals, and the growing relationship. Maybe that means getting married at 18, or maybe 35.

This is just our story. One of my favorite things about meeting other military couples is hearing the story of how they met, and ended up together. So how did you and your significant other meet? What’s your story?

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