When we first met, we got married, had kids, and moved all over the world. It all happened that fast, really! Well… Not really that fast. We did, however, tie the knot after knowing each other for only 30 days.
BAH was calling my name!
Just kidding, he wasn’t active duty when we got married. But I am going tell you what did happen, how it happened, and how we handled being married through, what should’ve been, our dating period.
I am not going to lie, getting married, the way we did, was probably the scariest thing I’ve ever done, and I’ve done some scary things.
In my early twenties, I worked in a hotel near an Army post. Soldiers stayed in the hotel I worked at, during TDY’s. They always wanted to hang out on the weekends, but I’d refuse. They wanted to know where the clubs, hot spots, and malls were. Where I worked, there weren’t any cool places to hang out, or fancy restaurants. If you wanted entertainment, you’d have to drive almost 20 minutes to the mall, or further, to go downtown. Back then soldiers didn’t get rental cars like they do now, and Uber wasn’t a thing.
One Friday afternoon, I left my office to grab some coffee, and a group of soldiers approached me. One soldier said, “Hey, I know you know where the clubs are. Can we party with you?” I replied, “I don’t party, on Friday nights, I go do laundry at the laundry mat. If any of you guys want to come, you’re welcome to help.” All the guys began to grumble. I chuckled. But then, one guy stepped up and said, “I’ll go do laundry with you.” I don’t know if the instant attraction was physical or the forth coming smell of Tide! Either way, I smiled and told him we’d talk after I got off work.
I was excited! Having someone to talk to while you do a week’s worth of laundry was like a dream come true. I don’t think this guy knew what he was getting in to. After work, we exchanged numbers. We met up that evening. B, (that’s what everyone called him), had his clothes ready, but I had other plans. I told him, I wanted to get something to eat. We went downtown to the ESPN Zone Sports Bar. I regret to inform you, laundry did not get done that day ;). But, the next day, we braced the laundry mat scene, together.
We sat in the steamy laundry mat for hours watching television and moving clothes from washers to dryers, for what seemed like, the entire day. Over the next few weeks, we were inseparable. We hung out every day, and did laundry, every Friday night. One night after a few drinks, I said, “We should get married,” he said, “Let’s do it!” and I replied jokingly, “You’re scared, you won’t do it.” The next day came and went, and we didn’t get married.
On the following day, just about 30 days after we met, he came to my job during my lunch break. I assumed he was taking me out for lunch, but he had other intentions. B said, “Are you ready to get married?” I’m pretty sure, I turned green at that very moment. I mean, yes, I wanted to get married, I think. Too late for thoughts now, I’m not backing down, I thought to myself proudly as we walked away from my job. We drove down to the local courthouse, signed a marriage certificate without anyone knowing. I can still remember the look on my boss’ face when I returned to the office. Needless to say, I got a stern talking to.
The first few days after we got married were weird. I was confused. Did I make the right decision? Should I get this annulled? These were the thoughts that plagued me. How could I be so irresponsible? Yes, I liked the guy a lot, he was a great guy, and he went to do laundry with me. But, were we ready to get married?
A short time later, reality hit. Training was over, and my now husband, was leaving, going back to his duty station. This was the feeling everyone talks about when you are separated from your spouse. My stomach was in knots, and I couldn’t stop crying. Even though I wasn’t sure about being married so quickly, I was falling in love with this guy. We spent every waking moment together and now he was leaving. I drove him to the airport not knowing if we’d ever see each other again. He was going back to his hometown where no one knew he was married. Once I returned home from the airport, I began sobbing. I was completely devastated.
B went back to his family’s home. Every day we talked, I cried, and asked him to figure out a way to come back. He was in the Army Reserves and attached to a unit in Illinois. He asked to get transferred to the Army base near me, so we could be together. When he called, I’d ask him, “B, did you tell your mom you are married?” “No but I am going to,” he would respond skittishly. Finally, after a week, he confessed to his mother that he had gotten married to a girl in Colorado he just met. I’m sure that was an awkward conversation… I learned a lot about him during our time apart. After two weeks, the transfer was approved, and he was on his way to being stationed in Colorado.
When he returned, he found a job and began working. The money we were making wasn’t good enough. We decided it would be best if he went Active in the Army. I had no idea what this would mean for us, but the decision was made. He was shipped off to training and stationed in Hawaii. We were again separated after only a few months of being married. We had no idea what we were doing. I quit my job, packed everything, shipped my vehicle, and left my old life behind. I arrived in Hawaii to my new life as an army wife.
Our first anniversary was spent apart. He was deployed to Iraq. I wouldn’t see him again until R&R, which was nine months after he left. It was hard. We barely knew each other and spent less than eight months of our first year married, together. I never imagined marriage to be this way. Luckily for me, I was embraced by other spouses and taught the ways of the Army. I began volunteering and gaining knowledge about what to expect as a military spouse. Volunteering kept me busy and positive while B was away.
Fast Forward 11 years, our family has grown in more ways than one. We added one child to our family at each new duty station, traveled all over the world, and have made a home in at least four new places, since tying the knot. To say this has been a roller coaster, would be an understatement. Our life has been filled with love, struggle, and growth. We are grateful for every minute of this ride. Would I do things differently? I’d be lying if I said no. But in the end, we did this stupid thing together, and I am so glad we did.