by Bailey Cummins, Guest Contributor
When my husband and I met, we both knew from early on that we would get married someday. My husband claims he knew after our first weekend-long date; I took a little bit longer to warm up to the idea — on our second date (2 months later, thanks to our long-distance relationship).
Thirteen months and one day after we first met, we made lifelong promises to one another, before our loved ones and the priest. Occasionally, I find my mind drifting back to those vows that we shared on that hot June afternoon.
I, Bailey, take you, Andrew, to be my husband. To have and to hold from this day forward. For better or for worse. For richer or for poorer. In sickness and in health. To love and to cherish until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.
To have and to hold from this day forward. We will spend every day together…Except when he’s on TDY, overnight on CQ duty, or working long hours, arriving home after I’ve already gone to bed.
For better… I remember celebrating his most recent promotion. He worked so hard to pass the promotion board not once, but 3 times (his promotion paperwork got lost twice!). I remember being so nervous to pin on his new rank that I was shaking and accidentally put his shoulder boards on upside down.
I remember the joy of being husband and wife after what felt like an eternity-long engagement. I reminisce about our week-long honeymoon to a tropical island that felt like a fairy tale.
For worse… I think about the issues he’s struggled with since his return home from his combat deployment. My mind drifts off to the inevitable day when he will surely deploy again. I think about the loneliness I feel when he’s away from me or when I’m miss my loved ones from back home.
The months of unemployment and underemployment in my career are ones I count among my “for worse” days.
In sickness and in health… I think about how I was sick, so sick, last winter, spending hours on the couch, alone. How when I finally decided I needed to go to the ER, I had to wait for my husband to find relief on CQ duty so he could drive me the hour to the city to the “good” ER (instead of taking a post ambulance to the less-desirable ER south.)
To love and to cherish… I think of all of the places we’ve visited in our short time time together and imagine all of the places to come. I think about that farmhouse in Kentucky that we want to build after he leaves the Army. I think about how this military life has taught me to slow down and cherish the time we have together, no matter how short. How the nights when he is on CQ duty are so lonely, but the mornings afterward are so sweet as we both sleep in until noon together.
…until we are parted by death… I fear those dreaded deployment orders, knowing that whenever he goes, he may not make it home. Imagining that dreaded knock on the door that is every spouse’s nightmare.
We chose a quote from the Biblical book of Ruth to use in our wedding ceremony:
“Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God.”
Although we originally chose that passage because it was a family wedding tradition, that phrase is so fitting in our lives as an active duty soldier and his military spouse. My home is wherever the military stations us, because that is where my husband is. The military community that has been my soldier’s family for years is now my family as well. Little did I know just a year after our wedding, we would be moving on a short-order PCS to a location that I wasn’t thrilled to live in. That military family that I grew to cherish so quickly picked me up when I thought that “I couldn’t do this.”
Although we opted to use traditional vows in our ceremony, we wrote each other letters to read on our wedding morning. In my letter, I wrote all of the vows that I wanted to make my husband, even though they were not part of our wedding ceremony:
Every time the Army sends you away, I will think of the times that you are by my side…When we are far apart, I will be confident in our lives together; I will fight off fear and doubt…I will do my best to display the fruits of the spirit, despite all of the unknowns of military life…If we’re someday blessed with children, I will remind them often that their father loves them and is serving our country to keep us safe at home.
I’ve had people ask me “Why? Why would you pick up and leave your job, your family, and your hometown to marry a guy that you know will someday again be sent to war?” Because I love him, and I can’t imagine my life without him.
Did I say “I do” to this?
Yes, I did.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Bailey is a twenty-something newlywed military wife from Kentucky currently living in the (cold!) Midwest with her husband, dog, and cat. She’s currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and aspires to work in Human Resources to help military spouses and veterans find professional employment. On the weekends, you can find her accomplishing one of her numerous goals, reading a book, or writing another post for her website, Becoming Bailey. You can connect with Bailey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.