June 14, 2016

June 14, 2013.

That was the date that Nick and I picked for our wedding. We picked it because that’s what worked with Nick’s schedule.

Everything was set. The Save the Date cards were printed. I was just about to mail them out.

And then I got a call from Nick.

He was deployed.

He had stopped in Hawaii for a few days. He was about to get back on the submarine for the rest of his deployment. He was calling me to say goodbye.

I can’t remember the exact words that were said. But he started talking about the deployment that the submarine was scheduled to do after the one he was on.

I still have no idea why he was talking about this when we were about to not be able to talk to each other for another few months.

He was acting a little bit weird. I got the sense that Nick felt like he was still needed on the submarine because there were so many new people. I got the sense that he didn’t feel like it was his time to leave the submarine. I got the sense that he actually wanted to go on the next deployment despite always talking about how hard they are.

But he was not supposed to go on the next deployment.

Our wedding was scheduled to occur right in the middle of the deployment. He had already talked to his captain. He was planning to leave the submarine before our wedding. After our wedding, he would go to a shore tour (a job where you are not on a submarine, an office type job).

I sensed something was off with Nick. I asked him if he wanted to stay on the submarine for the next deployment.

He said yes.

But.

This meant that he would be underwater on June 14, 2013. He said that didn’t want to ask me to move our wedding.

I told him that I didn’t care. Then I asked him when I should reschedule our wedding for.

He said the middle of August.

We said goodbye and I love you. He hung up.

I immediately called our priest, then all of our other vendors, to reschedule our wedding. I re-planned everything in a few hours.

Our wedding was now set for August 23, 2013. I emailed Nick to let him know the new date, and then I called our families and ordered new Save the Dates.

Sometimes when I tell this story, seasoned military spouses and even military members give me a hard time about agreeing to change our wedding date. They said it set a bad precedent that I “let” Nick do this and that I shouldn’t be so okay with changes like that.

Um. Welcome to the military.

If Nick really wanted to, he could have gotten off the submarine in time for our wedding. Some people don’t get that option. But I didn’t want to start our marriage by asking Nick to give up on one of his dreams. As hard as working on a submarine is, I know that he loves it. He was made to be a submariner.

I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but I was also set to have my final week of graduate school that week. Looking back, my last graduate class, Bioethics, was the hardest class of my Masters degree. I would have failed that class if Nick and I got married on June 14 as scheduled. And it would have made me much more stressed out during our wedding.

By postponing our wedding by 2 months, I knew that I was postponing starting our life together by 2 months.

But we both gained so much more.

Nick and I gained a new level of trust and communication. In that 10-minute phone call, somehow I was able to read Nick well enough to know how important this was to him. Our relationship when to a whole new level in that phone call. From that moment on, I knew that we would always put each other first, that we would always give each other the space we needed to chase our own dreams, that we would always have each other’s back.

I also gained a whole summer at home with my family before moving far away.

I gained a whole week with my three bridesmaids, who now are scattered all over the world, in Europe, Africa, and America. They all took off from work the entire week before our wedding to help me get ready. They are the best sisters you could ask for. If I was failing a class, I wouldn’t have enjoyed that time with them at all.

Nick gained another deployment under his belt. He says that the experience he gained on that deployment will help him throughout his career.

So, I’m glad that today is not our wedding anniversary.

And when August 23 finally came, we had a beautiful wedding. All of the waiting was worth it. And we started our marriage stronger than ever.

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Every year on June 14, I think about how unpredictable life is. I think about how important it is to be open-minded.  I think about how important it is to not be afraid to change your course. I think about how thankful I am to be married to Nick and how we always have each other’s backs for whatever crazy dreams we have.

I’m also glad that today is not our wedding anniversary because the movers are coming today to pack us up. It would not be a very romantic way to spend the day. Wish us luck :))

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PS: For some reason, I have such a hard time remembering our wedding anniversary, and I blame it on the fact that we changed it. On our first anniversary, I gave Nick a present in which I wrote that our wedding was August 28. Epic fail.

 

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24 responses to “Today should be our wedding anniversary. I’m glad it’s not.”

  1. Sarah Bence says:

    I love your writing style. And I love that you put a positive spin on it – starting your marriage off on the right foot by letting him follow his dreams – and I don’t think that makes you a pushover, it makes you smart!

    • Carolann says:

      Wow thank you Sarah! I would have hated for him to start our marriage out thinking about the mission he could be going and then having regrets later on. I think we made the right decision 🙂

  2. I think that’s great that you changed your anniversary to support your husband. Marriage is a partnership and sometimes things change based on things that you significant other wants to do, whether it’s for their career or not. I think that’s great that you listened to each other and did what was best for both of y’all!

    • Carolann says:

      I agree, marriage is a partnership! I like to say that Nick and I are a team. When someone on your team is happy, doing well, scoring points — both of you win!

  3. Lesley says:

    You guys are such an amazing couple. The level of trust and communication you share is a truly rare thing. And having just finished grad school myself, I can agree that you totally made the right choice!

    • Carolann says:

      Thanks, Lesley. I know how hard you worked in grad school and so CONGRATULATIONS! I’m really proud of you. Grad school is so tough – I am so glad I didn’t have to deal with finals and a wedding. There is no way I would have intentionally planned our wedding for June in the first place, if it wasn’t for Nick’s work schedule. It all worked out for the best, I think. I think that military life has kind of forced us to be more communicative with each other because there are so many decisions, so many changes we have to deal with, so many ways that we rely on each other. And when he’s gone I need to be able to make decisions for him. Thanks so much for reading.

  4. Janet says:

    Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Jenn says:

    Happy almost anniversary 😉

  6. Leanna Cherry says:

    I remember this vividly … all things work together for good.
    Xo

  7. I adore this! Marriage is about supporting each other’s dreams, not about “letting” and not letting your spouse do something. What a sweet gift you were able to give him!

    • Carolann says:

      I totally agree, Chelsea. I love marriage because of the partnership we share, because we are a team. When one of us reaches a goal, we both win.

  8. Rachel says:

    Aww! Good story! I’m glad you guys are both happy with the decision you made together to postpone the wedding–I think it would be hard to wait longer, but if it’s for a worthwhile cause, it’s worth doing. And yeah, maybe the switching of dates does play in to your forgetting of your anniversary, haha! We lost at a “Newlyweds Game” at a party one time because Angel claimed, very assuredly, that our anniversary was December 5th. It’s December 4th. I’m not sure how you get just one day off…. 😛

    • Carolann says:

      Hahaha, oh poor Angel! I can definitely relate. You would think that that would be an easy question but sometimes the memories just get jumbled!

  9. Audrey says:

    I think this is the sweetest memory. Some people remember bad weather or rude guests or drunk pastors (yes, I really know someone who was married by a drunk pastor!). This is a great way to remember your wedding before your anniversary even approaches!

    • Carolann says:

      Thank you Aurdrey! It was so crazy at the time but now when I look back, I think it’s just a fun memory. It really encapsulates our journey with the military. Things never go as planned, but so far, they work out for the best :))

  10. Mandy says:

    I love that you struggle to remember your wedding date! I engraved it in Stephen’s wedding band so he can remember it. I think negotiating a wedding date is always exactly that – a negotiation. It is two families coming together and sometimes people make compromises that turn out to be okay.

    • Carolann says:

      I should have engraved my ring with the date — what a great idea!! I agree, marriage is all about compromise. At my bridal shower, the women all wrote me marriage advice. One of the pieces of advice was to always make your husband think something is his idea so you can get your way, something along those lines. I threw that right out. Marriage to me is a partnership, compromise, and teamwork.

  11. Emma says:

    It goes to show that you know *your* relationship better than anyone – which is how it should be!

  12. Anne says:

    You have the lovliest blog Carolann. Your Nick sounds like a wonderful persona and so do you. Trading dates for a wedding would be difficult for some. You made it into a real blessing. I don’t know much about submarines. I know my late father-in-law Carl was on one very near to Pearl Harbor when the attack happened. I know my grandmother’s cousin was on a submarine in WWII and he perished in the war. I think about them both and remember the stories my father-in-law would tell us. Not about war about the men on board and the camaraderie. Although I was not even born yet I think of Bruce and how he loved his life in the USN. I heard so many stories about him and I have a beautiful photo of him before he deployed with his mom and her second husband. I remember how sad his mother seemed throughout her life having lost an only son. Yet I admire the men and women who serve and I spend lots of time in prayer for all of them. I have really enjoyed your posts and hope I will see you here soon. Thank you for sharing your adventures in the military with us. Thank your Nick for his service too. Hugs from Colorado to you from me! Anne

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