The more things change the more they stay the same.

Summer vacation for both of our families was quickly approaching. This was one of those points that in most young relationships would spell doom. I think between the two of us, it was about six weeks spent apart. Who would have thought years later we’d now be separated for year or more at any given time. Maybe it was a test maybe it wasn’t. But the important thing was that it seemed to have little effect on us, or our relationship. Perhaps it made it stronger for it. We came back together as if the months apart had never happen. The bond between us was stronger, because we had to fight so hard to have it. No separation would change that. It’s shocking to think of it now. At 17 and 18 our relationship was stronger then most marriages. And it’s probably what saved us. I wont lie, it wasn’t like I looked at him and knew from the very beginning we’d be married one day. I don’t even think I ever thought of it. I just wanted to be with him and he wanted to be with me. We never really thought past that for years. it was a fairy tale beginning to a fairy tale romance . But things aren’t always that simple. I wish I could tell you we rode off into the sunset and never had one fight ever, that we never made mistakes that we never struggled. Bit it would be a lie and real life just doesn’t work that way. You can be perfect for each other and still struggle to hold it all together. And we were going to find that out very quickly. The problems for us came in the form of emotional baggage and fear. When we were happy we were so very happy, but when we weren’t, it was horrific. We never called each other names, never hit each other. But my god our fights were stuff of legion. We couldn’t be any different but we were so very alike at the same time. Our family situations while vastly different shaped us and left us with emotional baggage we both brought into the relationship. We’re good at extracting the information or emotions we want in order to cut the other down. It was a side of us that most had never seen. Us falling in love opened up a flood gate of emotions, for both of us. Something that was very hard to deal with, after spending a lifetime hiding behind a mask of indifference. Here is this person who sees through all of that, sees you good and bad and still wants to be with you. We shared the same insecurity, felt the other was to good for us, waited for the other shoe to drop.
Being with him was very hard at times. We knew we loved each other and that has never changed. We were kids on the verge of adulthood force to deal with some very heavy issues in our own families. Those pressures, those painful things weight heavily on both of us. We put ourselves, each other and those who care and loved us through hell. We were too broken to have a normal relationship. Something kept us together; something would not allow us to destroy what we had fought so hard to have. And boy did we do some pretty shitty things to each other. We’d break up for months at a time, but would still find ourselves running back to each other. We couldn’t be together we couldn’t be apart. I never loved anyone the way I love him. I didn’t want to be with him, I needed to be with him. I never needed anyone before him. I never cared so much about a person the way I cared for him. I’d push him away because I didn’t know how to rectify that within myself. Because everything and everyone I ever loved before him was taken away from me in such a violent fashion, was so scare he’d be ripped away from me too. And the sad thing was even at that point in our relationship there were people in both our lives who would seek to prey on those insecurities and use it to make us break up over and over. I wish now that both of us were stronger people back then. That we didn’t let them cloud our judgment. How much easier things would of been.
Some times I felt like we couldn’t ever get on the same page. One of us would be ready for the next step but not the other. Matthew had to propose to me twice. The first time I had been away visiting a friend and when I got home he had made up his mind that he was going to ask me to marry him. He took my ring I had been wearing for months and proceeded to ask me. I wish I could remember what he had said. But I was romantic and sweet. Of course I said yes without a second thought. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to marry him, I wanted nothing more than to be his wife. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that he had asked me because he was scared I was going to move up north to go to school. He didn’t want to loose me. The fall out that came after that can in the form of punishing me so much, that I actually did leave him. He did the one thing He knew would break my heart. he treated me like an afterthought, like I didn’t matter. The hardest thing I ever had to do was walk away from him. No matter how much I loved him, I would never allow myself to be treated like that again. Not by him not by anyone. I hurt him right back, we felt for each other so very deeply that we hurt each other as deep. I hurt him more then I care to share publicly, it was the only thing in my life I wish I could take back. We were locked in battle with each other and everything one else was just collateral damage. We didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire we just cared about hurting each other.
We had been talking on and off since I had left him. We just couldn’t be out of each other’s lives. He called me one night asking if he could come over. This was different I could hear it in his voice. I sat in my back yard waiting on him, thinking about what I horrible person I was, he watched me for a while in the darkness before he made his presences know. We talked I cried, for hours it seemed. It was good for both of us. Airing out our feelings and hurts, and regrets for hurting each other as much as we did. The truth of the matter was this. We love each other, more then we had anyone else. We had to make this work because there was no one else in the world that either one of use wanted to share our lives with. It was hard to move past all the hurt we had caused each other. It honestly took years for us make peace with what we had done to each other. But we had to move forward. We never really told anyone we were back together. Frankly no one was going to understand why. We weren’t exactly trying to hide it from anyone, but we weren’t shouting it from the roof tops either. There were people that told him not to go back to me, and I don’t blame them. But I wasn’t going to tarnish him to save myself. So I let them think I was a bad person. I’d been there before, this was no different. I didn’t care what anyone thought. I just wanted him.
He had made the decision to join the Army while we had been apart. My boss had convinced him it was the best way to get over me. He could go be an infantry sniper, be bad ass, and get all the girls. God how different his life would of been had he actually done so. And while I thought the idea of the military was a wonderful one. The Army and that MOS in that time in his life would have destroyed him. Funny thing was I was talking to the Air Force at the same time looking into enlisting myself. So he decided to go see what the Air Force had to offer him. And of course it was better for him. Matthew is a very smart man, his skills and his gifts would have been wasted in the infantry. We had to get out of our home town if we had any chance of making this work; we had to be free of the ghost of the past that surrounded us here. And the exceptions others had for us, of who we should be and what we should do with our lives. Like we had done before we had to go to ground to repair the damage.

We still struggled for many years into our marriage. There was so much we had to work through both as a couple and as people. Repair the damage caused before and learn to be a couple. We needed to grow up. The Air Force forced us to do so. We had no one to lean on, no one to take our side when the other was being a jack ass. We only had each other. We’re so much stronger for that now. It’s been almost 20 years since then.. 15 of those married. I know now that all of that pain and struggling was all worth it. We’re happy and content raising our family. I love him more then I could even possibly imagine I could, he is my best friend. Even now things are still new and exciting and I still am just as overwhelmed by his touch and his kiss as I was when we were just teenagers. We were blessed to find each other.

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