Never in a million years would I have thought I would be married and have 2 boys by the age of 23, let alone be married to a Soldier. My name is Lauren and my wonderful husband’s name is James. He is a Sargent in the United States Army. He has been in for 9 years, and has been deployed 3 times (twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan). I met my husband on our church’s online site 4 years ago. When we started talking I found out that he was deployed in Iraq at that time, and still had 6 more months of his deployment left. We decided to just be friends. James had just gotten out of a not so good marriage and I had gotten out of a not so good relationship and had a 4 month old baby boy names Cj. I’ll let you know a deployment strengthens and is also very hard on a relationship whether you’re just friends, you’re dating, or you’re married to the person. I got to know James better than I have known any person in my entire life, but the distance was hard. All we did was talk and talk for hours. James became my best friend and we couldn’t go a day without talking to each other. I was starting to fall in love with my best friend.
Six months went by and my best friend was coming home, but there was a problem. I lived in Washington and James was stationed in Kansas. Kansas REALLY?!?! Luckily James’ parents live in Oregon not too far from where I lived. So he drove 5 hours just to see me from his parents. Who drives 5 hours just to see a friend? That was when we first met in person, we would skype everyday but it was so different to be face to face with him. It was like we had known each other our whole lives. We finally started dating after 8 long months but James eventually had to go back to Kansas, so another long distance relationship began. We got engaged 2 months after we first met and got married 4 months after that. I was finally going to be with my best friend. Cj and I packed up our stuff and headed to Kansas.
Where James is stationed it’s all army all the time. The Army life is so much different than Civilian life. Being married to a soldier has its ups and downs. The first thing you have to understand is that the Army comes first, it’s their job and their job is never ending. They are soldiers 24/7. My husband will come home from work and sometimes talk to me like I’m a soldier or talk to me as if I’m in the army and understand the lingo, we have been married for almost 3 years and I still have to remind him I’m a civilian not a soldier. I love the fact that my husband is willing to fight for our freedom. I don’t like the things they have to go through though. My husband suffers from PTSD from his second tour in Iraq. You learn to not say certain things that will trigger a memory or how to wake them from their nightmare and comfort them after. It makes me laugh how Hollywood or all of those romantic military love books tell the story of all the good things that happen and how they just go back to their normal lives, boy are they wrong.
I married the soldier, I didn’t marry the army. I would have married James even if he wasn’t a soldier, but I am so grateful for all the sacrifices he makes doing what he does. My husband is the sweetest, kindest man I have ever met. When we first started talking, Cj was 4 months old and from that day he has always treated Cj as if he was his own. James adopted Cj about the same time we found out we were expecting our second. James got to spend some time with the boys before he had to deploy again. It was right before Cj’s third birthday and Easton’s first birthday. Deployments are hard when it’s just the two of you but they are even harder when you have kids. Cj had the hardest time with the deployment, he was aware that his daddy was gone and would always ask for him. It breaks my heart every time.
A lot of people only think of how hard it is on the family who are waiting for their soldiers to come home, no one thinks of how hard it is on the soldier. James had a really hard time on this deployment. He didn’t have children on his first two. He missed the boys growing up. He missed Cj learning his ABC’s, and potty training and growing into the little man that he is now. He missed Easton talking for the first time and getting his walking under control. Those 9 months where the longest 9 months of our lives. It is great to have him home now and spend holiday with him. Another thing you have to understand is that you don’t always get to spend holiday with them. Like I said, James and I will be married 3 years this September. We have only spent one Christmas and Thanksgiving together, he has never been there for a Halloween, and we have yet to have an Anniversary together. But you definitely learn not to take the time you do have with your soldier for granted. Some families aren’t as lucky as us to have their soldiers come home but we are so grateful to have him home in our arms once again.
Story written by: Lauren Wettstein
This story was seen first on Real Imprints.