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We met in high school and have been together ever since. We have gone through a lot of ups and downs and I have had to fight to keep her, especially in the beginning.
I joined the military after high school. We got married before I deployed the first time, back in October of 2007. Everyone was telling me I should wait, but we had already known each other for two years, so it wasn’t like it was a new relationship.
I came back from that deployment and she had an apartment set up already, so that was pretty nice. Just me and her. We were trying to have kids, but everything we tried wasn’t working, so we just went with it. That is how we approach life in general. We just go with it. Whatever happens, happens. We just deal with it.
But when I came back from my second deployment we went through a real rough patch in our relationship, and we ended up kind of going through a divorce, though I still took care of her, trying to help her get back on her feet. Right before the divorce was finalized we got pregnant, so I decided not to go through with it. I re-upped on my Marine Corps career and got orders to Camp Lejeune. By the time we got out here she was about 7-months pregnant. She had the baby in December of 2010, and in February I got deployed again. With having to do training before that I was only able to spend about a month with him. After I came back we had our rough times, up and down, back and forth, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but we have succeeded. We still stick together. Things go bad, but we love each other more than anything bad that has happened to either of us.
Our children keep us going every day. Our second son was born during my fourth deployment, when I went to Afghanistan. And our last boy was born four months before I got out of the Marine Corps. That added to the stress, with the unknowns about how I would transition to the civilian life. Now, for the first time in 13 years I don’t have a job, but it’s been nice to be able to spend more time with the kids. She is going to find a job and let me be home with them. Money is a little tight, but we have the platform. Everything we have gone through has kept us strong. My personal thing is look past the bad stuff, because it can’t be worse than all the good stuff that you’ve gone through. And that is how all relationships are.
We have overcome a lot, including trying to deal with the difference between the military and civilian life. We are doing everything for our kids, our family. Communication is key. Don’t give up because one thing goes wrong, which I see a lot of young couples do. You got married for a reason. Go back to that and find it. Remember it.
If you are having problems reach out for help, even on some Facebook pages. They can be encouraging. Deployments suck, don’t get me wrong, but the breaks have also helped us make our relationship stronger. ... We are still young. We have gone through so much. It’s a lot to go through, but we still have each other. We aren’t the same people we were 10 years together, but we cope with the change, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Photo by Alan Lane / Special to The Daily News