How Did You & Zach Start Dating? (Part 7)

Once again, thank you so much for your sweet comments over the past week! I'm so humbled by all the love and support you have shown to me & Zach and so blessed to share our story. Earlier this week, an anonymous commenter said, "true love stories never end..." How true :) Although this may be the last official post in "our story," it was just the beginning of the past three years. And while everything in our story might not be absolutely perfect, it lead us to where we are today. And where we are today---well, I wouldn't trade that for anything.

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As I drove away, I watched Zach get smaller and smaller until he completely disappeared in my rear view mirror. Camp was over for the summer. As far as Zach and I were concerned... I didn't know. I didn't know what was going to happen. All I knew was that I was three weeks away from moving to Durham and beginning my freshman year at Duke University.

Zach and I had talked some toward the end of summer about his future plans. He had a few options, but nothing was definite. That is, until I received a phone call out of nowhere that would change everything.

Beth, what would you think if I joined the Marine Corps?

If there was ever a perfect opportunity for a "ginger kid say what?!" --- this was it. We had hardly been together for two months, definitely not long enough to make a commitment like this. We had no clue where things were going. We had no clue if we'd make it. Goodness, we were still just "in like" with each other.

Obviously, I was shocked when I opened my mouth and heard myself say the following:

Zach, if that's what you want to do, then I'll support you.

Did I really just say that? As hard as it was to believe, I definitely had. But did I even know what it meant? At the time, probably not. I knew nothing about the Marine Corps. I knew nothing about military life in general. I knew nothing about boot camp and Marine Combat Training and the School of Infantry and Marine Occupational Specialty schools. I for sure knew nothing about duty stations or training or deployments.

So what did I know?

I knew that jumping off a waterfall hand-in-hand was much less terrifying than jumping alone. And I knew that there was only one hand I wanted to hold.

Psh, look at Zach being all moto with his buzzed hair. What a boot ;)

That fall, Zach came down for the day to visit me at Duke. We walked around campus: Krzyzewskiville, Cameron Indoor, the Chapel, the Duke Gardens, the East Campus gazebo. We talked a lot about us. According to most, we had every reason in the world to end it right then and there. We were nothing but a couple of teenagers who had a summer fling. We were going two entirely different places with our lives. We still had so much life to experience. We didn't know what was going to happen.

But that day, we decided to jump off the waterfall and find out.

Before Zach left for boot camp, he took off the necklace he was wearing---the one with the cross charm and the exact same True Love Waits ring that had sparked our first conversation a year prior---and he clasped it around my neck.

True love waits. Throughout the years, that ring has come to symbolize so much more than our commitment to waiting until marriage to have sex. And it means a lot more than Zach currently waiting on the couch saying, "type faster so we can shnuggle!" (Love you, buddy!) We're used to waiting: waiting on that weekly letter during boot camp, waiting for a day off from training so we can see each other, and soon, we'll be waiting for him to fly 7,000 miles across the world & back into my arms.
Because that's what true love does.

"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
- 1 Corinthians 13:7-8a

Thank you, again, for your kind words and heartfelt prayers over the past few weeks. I can't even begin to express how much it means to us, and I am so grateful to know that they will only continue as we begin a new part of our story in the upcoming days. I consider myself so blessed to have such a wonderful man to wait for, someone who makes all the waiting worthwhile, and I thank God every day for His faithfulness in our lives.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a few days left to "shnuggle" with my best friend, and I intend on making the most out of these moments. If you wanna write Zach a note before he leaves, you can post a comment on the "Deployment" page.