A heartwarming story of two army vets who met while in Afganistan and denied their feelings for the sake of not compromising the rest of their deployment. Here’s their love story, through their eyes.
Words by Bella and Lindsey
We are living proof that you can meet “the one” under seemingly strange and terrible circumstances. At least the weather was nice that day in Afghanistan. Had we met somewhere else, I imagine things would’ve fallen into place seamlessly. Once we got home, that is (almost) exactly what happened. We quickly became friends who had all the best things in common and made each other very nervous. Work kept us busy enough to put off admitting to ourselves what was happening for some time.
Denial went a pretty long way until we started running together. You shove your personal life down pretty far when you’re overseas, you have to, but when we were running, it was so easy to share. I found myself actually letting myself looking at her when we ran, taking in her natural beauty. Talking about life back home forced a harsh reality on us – when we left, we would be living hundreds of miles apart. We tried to hypothesize how often cross-country best friends actually see each other. The fact that it wasn’t enough for either of us posed a problem.
Both of us knew the closeness we shared added so much value to our lives. As friends, we had joked that we thought the other person would be pretty a pretty great spouse. But we had rules to follow, demanding work hours, and real lives an ocean away that had been put on hold. There was nothing we could do at the time but exercise patience and be gracious with one another.
That meant being very careful in asking yourself, “am I acting as a friend, or is this a romantic gesture?” Our system worked until the very end. Emotions are high for everyone when you’re about to leave. When the answer was too often, “ahh crap, this is hella romantic,” we agreed to spend less time with each other. We could not compromise our professionalism so close to the end. As Bella put it so eloquently in an email to me during that time, “We must make adjustments now with forever in mind. Yeah, I said it.” She was very emotionally detached over there, so using a word like forever meant everything to me.
Finally, the day came that we were back in the states, learning how to enjoy our lives again. We made plans to go hiking together in southern Utah, creating the same intimacy as running together in the desert. It had been weeks since we had seen each other. I do not know if I will ever be so excited about a single life event ever again. If I have not made it clear, we were under a lot of restrictions in Afghanistan. Aside from praying together, I had never held her hand. When we found each other at the airport, we haphazardly dragged our bags along for the sake of holding hands. During that trip, we started dating, already knowing that we would eventually be married. We operate on decisiveness in just about everything, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
We were long distance for about fifteen months upon our return. Those were wonderful and trying times. We had time to get to know each other differently. We only fell for each other more and became more desperate to end the separation. On New Year’s Day 2017, Bella asked me to marry her. We counted down the months until I could move to be with her. I moved in September and in October we got married. She will forever be my beautiful bride.
Photography by Girl With The Tattoos
Accessories Jam Jewels, Siggal Shakked Jewelry
Alterations Wanda’s Perfect Stitch
Cake The Chicago Diner
DJ Mary Ann Productions
Donuts Avon Donuts
Dress Instyle New York, BHLDN
Garter Urban Eco Beauty
H&MU Salon Skye, Patricia Ast
Venue, Flowers, Plants & Catering Planterra Conservatory
Videography Voice Media Collective
Wedding Rings Laurie Sarah Designs