Our Love Story
It all began in July of 2010 in Key West, Florida. We were both chosen to be the Maid of Honor and Best Man in our friends wedding. Justin was already in the Marine Corps and coming from San Diego while I was coming from Missouri. Ironically, we were on the same flight from Miami to Key West. I was in a relationship at the time and my boyfriend was with me on the flight. Justin got my number from the bride and text me when he got to Miami so we could all meet up. I remember the first time I saw him. He was coming down the escalator and I couldn’t stop staring. I know it sounds bad because I had a boyfriend (and he was sitting right next to me haha) but I just couldn’t help it. Needless to say my boyfriend called me out on my staring lol. I pretended like I didn’t know it was him and ignored him so my boyfriend wouldn’t get mad. Apparently he was pretending too because a few minutes later he came over to introduce himself… he clearly knew it was me. We boarded our flight and landed in Key West. Justin’s girlfriend at the time met us down there the next day. We spent the week partying hard. I remember cramming into a taxi and stopping at a gas station to get alcohol for the hotel. Justin and I were the only ones to go inside. I walked past him (pretending to be drunker than I was) and stumbled. I felt his hand across the small of my back and it gave me chills. I had to pretend it was nothing and head back to the car.. where of course I heard it from my boyfriend again. That week Justin let loose.. a little too loose.. and I didn’t like that kind of attitude. I pushed away my feelings for him and convinced myself he wasn’t right for me. My boyfriend and I ended up breaking up as soon as we got home and I moved onto another guy.
As for Justin, he ended it with his girlfriend also and was sent on a 6 month deployment to Japan. Ironically again, his deployment ended right before my birthday and he came home to visit. It was my 21st birthday and I got a room at Ameristar Casino. Danielle (the bride mentioned before) had told me that her husband (Bryce) was going to bring Justin up later. I was not happy because I remember Justin getting out of hand in Florida. But of course, as soon as he showed up, the attraction set in again. We didn’t talk much that night because I was the one getting out of hand this time and again had a boyfriend. Justin headed back to San Diego a few days later and I decided to message him on Facebook. I teased him about us not hanging out while he was home and asked about the Marine Corps. We sent a few casual messages.
Cinco de Mayo was when it started getting real. I was still in a relationship but things were falling apart. I knew my feelings for Justin were too strong to ignore. After a night of celebrating, I came home and got on Facebook to find Justin and Danielle had been talking about me. Justin made some comment saying “whats up with Kristen?”. I pretended I had no idea and replied “what are talking about? I’m right here lol” He ended up getting my number from Danielle and calling me. We stayed up all night talking. Feelings started to grow and it became unbearable. We started talking more serious and I ended my relationship.
It was hard being so far away, St. Louis to San Diego. We talked about how it would work or if it even would. We tested the waters and waited it out. My family, Danielle, and her family headed to Vegas in June 2011 to celebrate my 21st. Justin and Bryce drove up from San Diego. Justin and I spent the whole trip together just enjoying each other. July 3, 2011 Justin asked me to be his girlfriend. We were both leaving that day and knew the separation would be hard but promised we’d work through it.
I went to San Diego for the first time in August 2011 and had a blast! He took my everywhere! Including MANY romantic views and sunsets on the beach. I fell in love with him more every single day. Again, we had to separate and I flew home for another year of college.
During our time apart, he asked me to the Marine Corps Ball. Of course I said yes and flew back down to San Diego in November. Here’s when things got crazy.
We started getting ready early because I knew it would take me forever. My dress was wrinkled from the trip so I put it in the bathroom while I took a shower hoping the steam would get the wrinkles out.. it didn’t work lol. I was freaking out! Then my Marine came along and ironed my dress for me! I was so scared he would mess it up lol. But if you know your Marine, you know he is damn good at ironing!! and cleaning lol. We went to the ball and had an absolute blast! I met so many of his friends and their girlfriends/wives. Quite a few came up to Justin and would say “Oh is this your wife?” and we’d have to say no. Little did he know how bad I wanted it. After the ball we went to one of his friends house for an after party. We played beer pong and just had a good time. I was chatting with the girls while Justin was outside talking to one of his friends. I went to look for him after a while and saw them talking and Justin looked upset. I asked if everything was ok and his friend said “Yea don’t worry. It’s nothing you two can’t get through.” I was shocked. I was not at all expecting them to be talking about us. I got worried and I think Justin noticed my shock. He suddenly said “Listen.. I have orders to go to Japan” I was even more shocked. I didn’t know it could get any worse but then he told me he would be going for 2 years. Wow!! But it gets worse.. he would be leaving in February. I didn’t know how to take it all. I was speechless and shocked to say the least. I wasn’t expecting this. Of course I cried. I was scared for him to be away and scared to be away from him. 2 years is a long time to be away from the one you love. After many tears and long talks with a few friends, we headed home. Justin fell asleep and I stayed awake thinking for quite a long time. What was I supposed to do without him for 2 years? How was I going to do it? How could our relationship last with a 16 hour time difference?
We woke up the next morning and talked about all of our options. He could go and I could stay here to finish college, he could deny the orders, or we could get married and go together. The first option was out of the question. We knew if we had to, we would make it work, but we didn’t have to. We knew from the beginning how special our relationship was and how different this was than any previous relationship. I didn’t want him to deny the orders. I told him from the beginning that I would never want that. He joined the Marine Corps for a reason and that was to serve his country. He is one of the best Marines and they chose him for this job. He was perfect for it. He picked up Corporal quicker than most and had 2 years left on his contract. That’s what you get for being the best ;)
So obviously… we decided to get married!! We were both so excited but nervous to tell our families. I was more nervous telling his because they had never met me… yikes I know! I had called my mom when I found out about Justin’s orders and told her we were thinking about getting married. She questioned what I’d do about school and if we were making this decision on emotion alone but we both knew it was not on emotion. We had been talking about getting married but were going to wait until summer and finishing school would all come in time. Justin called his mom that day and told her the news. His sister cried because she was so excited! We spent the next few days spending time together and smiling constantly knowing we were about to tie the knot! This goodbye seemed easier than the others. I knew the next time I’d see him, we would be getting married. I’d be his and he’d be mine… forever.
I came home and planned our wedding. I told my parents and a few friends and talked with my pastor. We set the date and I bought a wedding dress. Justin came home later that month and we told our families the news. Not only were we getting married in a few days but I would also be moving to Japan! They were all so thrilled because they knew how in love we were.
On December 1, 2011 Justin took me out to his Grandma’s house to tell her the news. We pulled up and he drove through the yard and to the gazebo. He turned on the brights since it was already dark and said he wanted to show me the lake. We walked across the bridge and onto the island. Justin was shaking like a leaf. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! (and said some other romantic things that I will keep to myself) I SAID YES!! I couldn’t stop smiling or kissing him or holding him. I was so excited! Even though we knew we were getting married, it was still an incredible moment that I will NEVER forget. Unfortunately I had to take the ring off because he knew his grandma would notice before we got the chance to tell her :( Thankfully thought he told her pretty quickly so I could put it back on. She was so excited for us! All she kept saying was “Oh my gosh I am so thrilled!” It was an amazing night!
On our ride home, I couldn’t get enough of him. It was one of those moments when you physically can’t get any closer to someone but you keep trying. I wanted to be as close as possible and love on him forever.
We got married on December 3, 2011 at my church with our families and close friends. It was one magical day. It wasn’t like I expected. I didn’t get stressed out or worried. It was a beautiful day!
Justin headed back to San Diego and I stayed in St. Louis to finish my semester of college and work a while longer. A few weeks later I got a call that I wasn’t expecting… Justin’s orders were cancelled!! We were staying in San Diego! I was excited and sad at the same time. I was ready for a crazy adventure with my husband in Japan but I believe everything happens for a reason and this was the best option. I get to be married to the man of my dreams, live in a gorgeous city, have beautiful weather everyday, be closer to my family, finish college, and start a family.
Since our wedding was such short notice and we didn’t have a big reception, we planned a reception for February. I stayed in St. Louis while Justin went back to San Diego. Originally going to Japan, we decided I should stay there until our move across the world to save some money and save more trips. It was one of the hardest times of my life. Here we were.. married but still living away from each other. There were several times where I debated cancelling the reception and moving to Cali. We stuck it out, had our reception in February and made our long journey here to San Diego.
Life as a Marine Wife is absolutely incredible so far! I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. My husband is my rock, my best friend, my soul mate, my prince charming, and the man of my dreams. I could not live without him. I never knew what love was until I found him. I hope everyone gets to experience love like this.