My Dearest Husband…


I would like to wish a very happy (and slightly belated) birthday to the most incredible man in my life. I am beyond proud of you, my love. I had hoped that once we were married, we would be together for birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. Unfortunately, you’re in Yuma, AZ for a bit longer. The celebration will just have to wait until you return. However, I want to thank you for a few things.

Thank you for serving our country and providing for our family. I am so proud of you and your dedication to your work. You wake up before dawn, take part in exhausting training, sacrifice home-cooked meals in exchange for gross MRE’s, go months without seeing your family (or mine), and even participate in night training before you finally get to close your eyes. You’ve been outside in the elements 24/7 since you left for this particular training stretch, and still have a few weeks to go. You rarely complain, even when it’s been ages since you’ve enjoyed air conditioning, a bed, or a beer. You never fail to check in with me and ask how I’m feeling. You constantly put others before yourself without a second thought. For all these reasons and more, you make me proud to call you mine.

Thank you for loving me so fiercely. I still feel like we’re dating. You make every day feel exciting and new. I still get butterflies when I see your name on my caller ID. I could still talk to you for hours on the phone every night, just like when we first met. I miss you just as much today as I did after and every one of those ‘goodbyes’ in Virginia at the start of our relationship. I’m just as excited to hug you close and welcome you back home.

Thank you for being so patient with me. You understand that I’m still having a hard time coping with our loss. You listen quietly while I cry about seeing pregnant women all over this base, Instagram, and Facebook. You hold my hand and tell me that you miss our baby, too. You reassure me that next time it will be different. You help me not to be afraid.

I love you so much, sweetheart. I can’t wait to cook you a big, delicious meal when you come home. Milo still wanders around the house every day looking for you, toy hanging from his mouth, whining incessantly. We miss you more than I can put into words. Hurry home, birthday boy!


Aren’t You Too Young to Get Married?

Amanda-and-Kyle-0688To say that Kyle and I faced this question a lot would be an understatement. Those closest to us have been supportive from the very beginning, thankfully. It was our coworkers, our acquaintances, our neighbors, and even people on the street. They asked  how old we were, if I was pregnant, if we were really willing to give up dating and partying so soon. They pointed out the divorce rate and asked why we were rushing things. I never imagined I would get married before I turned twenty-two. I didn’t know anyone that had. I always thought I’d be in my thirties before the right guy came along and asked. I met Kyle and all of that changed. I wanted to be with this man for the rest of my life. Society told me that if I married young, then that made me old-fashioned, anti-feminist, ignorantly religious, and doomed for divorce. I would like to take this opportunity to say why society is wrong.

I found a man whose faith was a force to be reckoned with.
They say a truly successful marriage is between three people: the husband, the wife, and the Lord. Kyle has helped me come back to the church. He has truly helped renew my faith in Christ. Shortly after we met, I had the opportunity to complete a course at a local church with my mom. It’s called Alpha and if you have the chance, I strongly recommend going [side note – they answer the questions that most of us have about the Bible and God in a nondenominational setting. Why should I pray? Who or what is the Holy Spirit? You know, the things you probably learned in Sunday school but forgot as an adult]. Kyle encouraged me to participate and always wanted to talk about the discussion topics from the class. He encouraged me to question things and helped me find the answers He always took me to mass when we were together on a Sunday. I truly think our relationship was so strong so early on because we bonded over our faith.

We had the support of the people that mattered the most to us.
Kyle, being the southern gentleman that he is, asked my parents for their blessing before proposing to me. I know some of you may find this a little antiquated and demeaning to women. Let me stop you right there. Kyle knows that I love and respect my parents above all else. Their approval and support mean absolutely everything to me. I have always been very close to both of my parents. I could never deliberately go against their wishes and hurt them, knowing that they always have my best interests at heart. Kyle showed me that he loved me enough to respect that by asking my parents if they would bless our marriage. Could we have eloped? Absolutely. Would that have broken my mother’s heart and caused nearly irreparable damage to our relationship? Without a doubt. I am so incredibly grateful that Kyle honors not only his own parents, but mine as well. It truly is the mark of a good man.

We were ready.
It’s really as simple as that. We knew in our hearts that we were mature enough for marriage. Trust me, we talked about it a lot and for a very long time. We discussed it with our families. We both looked inside ourselves and asked if we were truly ready for a lifelong commitment, possible children, as well as the inevitable compromises and sacrifices that come along with marriage. The answer was always yes. We did not rush into our marriage. We met in March and started dating in April. Due to the physical distance between us, the majority of our relationship consisted of talking over the phone about anything and everything. We talked about religion, women’s rights, pro-life and pro-choice movements, politics, gay rights, our families, our futures, and so much more. I knew his heart from the very beginning and he knew mine. By December, we had talked about spending the rest of our lives together, but that was about it – no major plans in the works or anything. Kyle gave me a promise ring on the night before New Year’s Eve. I promised to love him and stand by him, and someday, marry him. That following May he proposed. One year later, we were married. I did not need to date Kyle for five years to prove we were ready, regardless of what society thinks.

We get to grow up and grow old together.
We get to share every single milestone and every major achievement together. Kyle was my first boyfriend. I was his first girlfriend. Each and every time Kyle gets promoted, my heart swells with pride. He never fails to congratulate me when I complete a class with an A. When I graduate, I know he’ll be there to support me. I’ll be able to help him through his first deployment. When his time with the Marine Corps is up, we will settle into civilian life together. We will discover careers together. We will buy our first home together. We will have babies together and watch them grow. I’ve held his hand at funerals, and he’s danced with me at weddings. I’ve cared for him when he was sick with a terrible fever. He has held me while I’ve cried more times than I can count. For better or for worse, as long as we both shall live, right?

There’s little to no baggage. 
Neither one of us had a messy history filled with exes and heartache. Sure, we both had crushes. Who doesn’t? Neither of us has had to endure the pain of loving someone and having them walk away. Neither of us has ever been the one to leave. I love that no woman broke my husband’s heart before I met him. I thank God for that.

We learn about the hard stuff sooner.
Getting married as young adults means that we will face innumerable challenges together. Would I be living across the country from all of my friends and family if I hadn’t married Kyle? Absolutely not. Thanks to the Marine Corps, I find myself living in the desert in the middle of southern California. I find myself alone more often than I would like, thanks to Kyle’s training schedule. I have learned what it is to compromise and sacrifice for your spouse. I have been angry and bitter about our situation. I have learned to let things go. It has not been easy to grow and change with another person, but I have certainly learned a lot along the way. I am becoming the best version of myself through all of this. I’m learning to be patient and accept the things I cannot change (I’m looking at you, Marine Corps). I’m learning to be independent in Kyle’s absence. I’m putting myself out there in ways I never would have imagined (I mean, kickball?! Really?!). We lost our first baby together; we know what it is to grieve side-by-side. We also know how make each other to smile again.

We have the rest of our lives together.
You always hear couples say, “if only I had met you sooner”. Kyle and I met when he was twenty and I was nineteen. By my calculations, that gives us another sixty years together at least. We’ve stuck by each other so far. Through a long distance relationship, a miscarriage, a cross-country move, and all the absurdity of military life. Our love grows stronger every single day.

We have encountered the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. After all, when all the fancy cars, houses, clothes, schooling, jobs, and toys fall away, what are we left with? Each other. At the end of the day, I have my best friend and my better half by my side. What’s better than that?