How We Saved Our Marriage After a Rocky First Year


I met my husband Blaine at my best friend’s wedding. I was a bridesmaid and Blaine was a guest of the groom (they were friends from being in the Marines together.) The wedding was in Pennsylvania but Blaine was stationed in Virginia on active duty at the time. Luckily since he was stateside, he was able to slip away for the weekend. I was a dedicated bridesmaid, but couldn’t help but notice the cute guy in uniform. Blaine later told me he knew the second he saw me walk down the aisle that day, he was going to marry me.

We hit it off during the reception. I distinctly remember dancing together to “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. After that evening, our whirlwind romance began. We met, got engaged, and married all within 3 months.
For the first two months or so of dating, Blaine was making trips to Pennsylvania to come visit me every other week. Then, just as we started falling in love, he found out his duty station was being moved to California for the next 2 years. He asked me to go with him, but I didn’t want to move my whole life to another state with someone who wasn’t even my husband. So… Blaine proposed. We had a shotgun wedding on August 9th, 2012 and just a few short days later, we moved to the west coast as Husband and Wife.

We were blissfully unaware of the journey that awaited us…

Blaine and I were just a couple of kids when we got married. I was only 22 and he was 25. In hindsight, we realize how crazy all of it was and how fast we moved – but I guess we just went with our gut and trusted that we would figure it out along the way. As newlyweds, we were still learning about one another, and I won’t sugarcoat it – our first year of marriage was tough. There was a big adjustment period; we were learning to navigate a new city, living together for the first time, and spending more time together consecutively then we had during our whole relationship. We went from long-distance to no distance.

We struggled a lot with communication that first year. Admittedly, there were moments when things became so challenging, the divorce word even came up. But we chose to honor our commitment and fight for our relationship. We ended up going to couple’s counseling, and I’m so grateful we did. Through therapy, we learned that we both have different love languages (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I highly suggest you read the book, The Five Love Languages), it saved our relationship. Despite our rocky start, by our first anniversary of marriage, our bond was stronger than ever.

Of course timing has never been our strong suit. Right around the same time, Blaine had to leave for his final deployment to Afghanistan.

Those 7 months Blaine was in Afghanistan were the hardest of my life. For 7 months, I worried about him day in and day out, praying he would remain unharmed. Our communication was sporadic and when we did talk, the connection was often spotty. I’ve never missed someone so much in my entire life.

The day Blaine returned home from his final deployment in Afghanistan, I thanked God. There was a whole life ahead of us and I couldn’t wait to spend it with him. We’ve grown in massive, beautiful ways, and although we still look back and laugh about our crazy choices and fast beginnings, we wouldn’t change a thing.

One takeaway I hope people have after reading my story is that marriage takes work. Love is only one component of a successful relationship – honor, trust, loyalty, sacrifice, and communication are some of the other big ones. I’ve also learned that you can’t compare your relationship to other couples’ relationships. Social media will always paint a pretty picture, but underneath the surface, everyone has their own challenges. The grass is not greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it. Nurture your relationship and in turn, it will do the same for you.

“The grass is not greener on the other side, the grass is greener where you water it.” Laura Tramel